Writing a press release? Here are some pro tips!

by | Feb 25, 2022 | Blog | 0 comments

Writing a press release can be daunting — especially for nonwriters. But have no fear! Once you know the basic formula, a press release can practically write itself.

A press release is almost exactly like a news story. A news story is just the facts of what happened, or what will happen with no flummery or poetry. And while you want to clearly and concisely convey your story, press releases do allow you to have a little more freedom with the tone of the writing. You can be a little more friendly, salesy or self-congratulatory rather than stating just the facts, but without overkill.

While you do have a little more journalistic license, remember: The main point of the press release is letting a reporter to easily lift parts of the release and put them in their own stories, should it catch their eye.

If the release needs too much editing or leaves out valuable information, a reporter will likely move on to something else.

Here are some do’s and don’ts to writing the perfect press release:

Do: Have a good, newsworthy hook. Why should people care about what’s happening at your company? Maybe your company just hired a new CEO or is sponsoring a charity event. Perhaps a new product just launched or the newly renovated retail space is about to reopen. These are all newsworthy events that the public might like to hear about. The reporter is the gatekeeper to the public, so your goal is to hook them on your story.

Holidays are a great way to link a story. If you run an Irish pub and St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, a press release about your annual St. Patrick’s Day party is timely and relevant.

Do: Include the 5 Ws and 1 H. These are the basic components of journalism and essential for passing on information! If you don’t remember them from grade school, they are:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • How

Your intended audience should be able to answer these questions themselves just by reading your press release. Make sure to thoroughly read it over before sending it off or posting to make sure all pertinent information is included.

Do: Quote someone who is seen as credible within your organization. It can be the founder, president, CEO, or other high-ranking official. If the person you choose is a little camera-shy, no worries, you can write a quote for them!

The trick is to make sure that the quote enhances the release with credibility. Say your company hired John Doe, a well-known accounting professor, to be the new CFO. And you think a quote from your CEO, Mary Jones, will help call attention to his experience and prestigious background. A good quote can go like this:

“We are thrilled to welcome John Doe into the role of Chief Financial Officer,” said CEO of Your Company Mary Jones. “He’s a remarkable and knowledgeable associate accounting professor at This Well-Known University, and we know he will be a great fit in our organization.”

While we love the do’s, there are also some don’ts to keep in mind as well.

Don’t: Be too complimentary or flowery. While you have every right to be proud of your business, writing an overly self-congratulatory or salesy press release is a major turn-off for journalists and can come off as aggressive to readers. You can still pepper in some flattering language, but do it sparingly.

Don’t: Make it too long. A good limit is 500 words. There’s no need to add unnecessary details just to fill space.

While press releases are typically aimed at reporters, they don’t necessarily have to be long enough for a full news story. They can live as blogs on your website. Short 250-word releases (or less) can be posted on social media platforms.

Don’t: Forget to add contact information. If you send out your release to the media, they’ll need to know who to contact for follow up questions. Place your contact information (or the info of the person best equipped to handle questions about what’s in your release) in the top left corner.

Be sure to include:

  • Name
  • Title
  • Phone number
  • Email address

Walker Publicity

With this information, you’ll be typing out press releases like a PR pro in no time! And if you need some extra help, Walker Publicity is happy to help with press release writing and distributing as PR a la carte. Our press release expertise can help market your brand or business.

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