A press release is a short piece of writing, written in a journalistic style that is sent out to targeted members of the media. It provides information or acts as an announcement to grab attention and gain publicity. The style of press releases has changed over the years due to the rise in the internet as people have more control over how they consume information and so a press releases are much more targeted in order to reach the right target audience.
A press release should be straight to the point, easy to understand and no more than a page long. You should provide enough information that the press will need to publish their own articles about the announcement being made. The following is what the format of a press release should look like:
Headline: You want your headline to grab people’s attention and state what the release is about which will encourage people to continue reading the press release. Make sure your headline is clear, simple, and short to make it more memorable. It should also be interesting as the media gets sent a lot of releases to read each day and so a catchy headline is going to keep up the interest and make the media want to make any following up enquiries.
Location: Where is the news taking place and where are you located?
Lead Paragraph: This forms the first paragraph of your press release and is a summary of the most important information. It should also include the “5 Ws” in a concise form: Who-who is involved in the story, what– What’s happening? When-When did the event happen or when is it going to happen? Where-Where did the story or event take place? Why-Why is the information relevant?
Body Paragraph: This is the main part of your press release and is where you go into more detail. The most important details should be at the top. You should also include bulleted facts or figures in this section as well as supporting quotes from key stakeholders in your company. Take caution when using supporting quotes as you need to make sure they’re relevant in the context of the article and not just used for the sake of it.
Boilerplate: This is also known as an “about us” statement and is a short paragraph providing the journalists with background information on your company. As journalists receive so many press releases, a boilerplate helps them to recognise your past story and if they recognise this, then they’re more likely to pay attention to you. You should include your company logo or tagline, what your company does, awards, honours and recognitions received, metrics such as the number of customers, employees, and capital raised, your unique positioning, link to your website and the audience your business serves.
Contact information: Add the contact information of the person who has the responsibility of dealing with media and press enquiries.
A “###” at the end: Using three signs at the end of the press release, indicates to the media that there is no further text to come.
This is simple format you can follow to write a press release. What you must remember is that writing a press release isn’t as easy as you may think and perfecting them takes time and experience. Instead of sending out your press release to every journalist, you may want to consider sending them to a few journalists who are specialists in the industry your operating in and personalising your messages.