3 Fundamentals of Writing an Effective Press Release

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So, before we look at the fundamentals of writing a press release, let’s define it. A press release is a brief, influential, out of the ordinary story linked to a public relations professional or an organization and distributed by media channels. The purpose of a press release is to catch the media attention to news-conscious events and happenings.

Press releases are written by companies when there is a significant hiring/firing, major report or event, product or services launch, opening of a new branch, and many others. Before you start writing a press release, it’s important to remember your audience and keep them in mind throughout the writing and distribution process. These are the fundamentals of writing an effective press release:

Make it Valuable and Newsworthy

Journalists love to convey extraordinary stories and valuable information to readers. Before starting to write a press release, ask yourself whether the information you are writing is going to be of human interest, or will make the reader’s life better or is likely to change the world?

If you write a release without valuable and relevant data for the reader, it’s likely that the editors or media outlets will not pick it. Always ensure the press release answers all the 5W+H (what, when, who, where, why, and how) in the best terms possible.

Structure and Format

All press releases follow the structure of a news story. It presents information in an inverted pyramid format, downward in a logical order. It puts the essential info at the top down to the least.  

A proper release has a compelling title followed by a paragraph with the main info in the first sentences. The news of the entire story is announced in the first line of the first paragraph while the other paragraphs provide supporting info as well as background data. The structure of a good press release can be broken down into:

  • Date/Time
  • Headline/Title,
  • Sub-headline
  • Introduction/Lead
  • Body
  • About the Company (Boiler Plate)
  • Contact
  • Note to Editor

Depending on which company is sending the release, it should run between 300 and 800 words, but the best length is one page. If you keep it short, detailed, and newsworthy, the readers will find it exciting and easy to read. Also remember, a well-written release helps your company to gain visibility and build a brand. Don’t forget to include the “-30-“or “###” to mark the end of the press statement.

Quotes and Editor’s Note

Each publication has a different style. Some recommend the use of quotes, while some don’t mind whether or not you use them. However, after or before the quote, mention the name and job title of the person quoted. Further, if you want to send other additional specific information or links the editor that he/she might need, include it in the ‘note to the editor’ section.

Be sure to put all the contact information in order at the bottom because the journalists may contact you for any additional information.

Hopefully, this gives you a clear insight into the fundamentals of writing a press release. I’m sure there is a lot more to press releases writing and distribution, but every time you are writing a press release, these would be essential.