You are jumping with news about your organisation and want to announce it to the world. But how do you do it such that the world actually listens? Here’s your guide to writing an effective press release!
- Be the Audience: Before you even begin writing, put yourselves in the shoes of a reader. It is then worth asking yourselves these questions:
- Is my news making it newsworthy?
- Is there anything curious or sensational about it?
- Does it interest anyone other than my organisation and me?
Draft a press release only once you are sure of the information to be important and interesting for the world (your target audience) to notice. Try prioritising public relations announcements over marketing ones as media takes a dim view of free publicity for its sake.
- Catch the eye: The very first thing to be noticed in any writing is the title. Write a headline that draws in a reader to your news. Ensure that it is meaningful enough for a busy journalist or any reader to pay full attention.
Also, the paragraph immediately following the headline should be only one or two lines long. It should be written in not more than 15-20 words stating the most important bit of your news. These lines should be a summary of your press release to get to the reader the gist of your news. Try covering as many of the 5 Ws (who, what, why, where, when) in the opening line of your news release.
- Structure: All press releases are structured in the same way as a newspaper report. Some structural points to note are:
- Be concise with an ideal length of 300-400 words.
- Present information like an inverted pyramid, from the most important to the least.
- After the opening/lead paragraph, the second paragraph provides supporting information.
- The third paragraph usually carries a quote that presents an opinion or insight, not information.
- The fourth paragraph outlines the final information.
- You can otherwise include ‘For further information, please contact’ as the final paragraph giving your contact details.
- Any additional information such as availability of photographs, the background of the company (boilerplate), etc. can go in ‘Notes to Editors’.
- To indicate the end use ‘###’ or ‘END.’
- Style: A quick style guideline for writing press releases includes:
- Stating raw facts without any exaggeration or creative spins
- Writing in the third person with specific details
- Reporting without any partiality, boasting, personal opinion or emotion
- Keeping it simple without any technical jargon or complex grammatical construction
A press release should be able to broadcast your news to the public in short, simple and straightforward manner. Follow the above – mentioned guide to press releases and invoke legitimacy in the eyes of media, making it happily publish your press releases for you!
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