How to write a press release

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Learning how to write a press release isn't as difficult as you think it is.
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The purpose of a press release is to give journalists information that is useful, accurate and interesting, and, hopefully print. A release can announce a range of news items: scheduled events, personnel promotions, awards, news products and services, sales accomplishments, etc. They can also be used in generating a feature story. Reporters are more likely to consider a story idea if they first receive a release. It is a fundamental tool of PR work to promote a company, person or event.

Here are simple guidelines to follow when writing a press release:
  1. Press releases should be printed on company letterhead. If this is not feasible, adding the company logo is essential. The companies name, web address, location address and phone number should be printed clearly at the top of the page. PRESS RELEASE should be spelled out in all CAPS and centered in bold. The press release contact persons name should be underneath the wording and all contact numbers printed clearly underneath. If the press release is for IMMEDIATE RELEASE, say so, on the left margin directly above the title in all caps.

  2. The next essential component of the press release is the Headline or Title. It should be centered, and in bold. The heading of the press release should capture the journalist. It should be short and to the point, grabbing the attention of the journalist and impressing them enough to read on. . An example: ABC Corp Announces New President Headlines are written in bold and are typically much larger in size than the press release text. Conventional press release headlines include the use of present tense and exclusion of "a" and "the" as well as forms of the verb "to be" in certain contexts.

  • Write the press release body copy. The press release should be written as you want it to appear in a news story, although there¡¦s no guarantee that it will be!
      • Start with the date and city for which the press release is originated.
      • The length of a press release should be at least a page and maximum two or three pages and must be doublespaced.
      • The press release body copy should be compact. Avoid using very long sentences and paragraphs. Avoid repetition and over use of grammar, fancy language and jargon.
      • A first paragraph (two to three sentences) must sum up the press release and the further content must elaborate it. Deal with actual facts - events, product, service, people, target, goals, plans, and projects. Try to provide maximum use of these 'real' facts and contents. A simple method for writing an effective press release is to make a list of following things:
          • What is the actual news?
          • Why this is news
          • The people, products, items, dates and other things related with the news.
          • The purpose behind the news
          • Your company - the source of this news.
      • Now construct paragraphs and assemble them sequentially: The headline, the summary or introduction, news, event or achievements, product, people and then again the concluding summary and the name of the company.
      Be sure to include information about the company. When a journalist picks up your press release for a story, he/she would logically have to mention the company in the news article. Journalists can then get the company information from this section.
      • The title for this section should be - About COMPANY
      • Use a paragraph or two to describe your company with 5/6 lines each. The text must describe your company, its core business and the business policy.
      • At the end of this section, include your website. The link should be the exact and complete URL without any embedding so that, even if this page is printed, the link will be printed as it is. For example: Companies which maintain a separate media page on their websites must point to that URL here. A media page typically has contact information and press kits.
      Tie it together. Provide some extra information links which support your press release or close the press release with the contact information.

      Add additional contact information. If your press release is really newsworthy, journalists might like to interview key people associated with it. If you are comfortable with the idea of letting your key people being directly contacted by media, you can provide their contact details on the press release page itself.

        Press Release Checklist
      • Company Letterhead, Name, Address, Phone Number, Web Address
      • PRESS RELEASE in all caps
      • Contact Person's Name
      • Immediate Release or Release Date(all caps)
      • BODY-Date/City-who, what, when, where and why.
      • Catchy Text
      • Sum it up...
      • Basic Font, Double Spaced, Page Numbers, and ### centered at bottom of last page.

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