Follow these simple rules to write a press release that will help gain visibility for your message.
Write the headline first
The whole writing process starts with the headline. The headline is a single sentence statement that announces what the news is. Companies, organizations or individuals have thousands of opportunities to announce news. A company’s news can be a new product or service, new feature, new website, new office location, new employee, new award, etc.
1. The headline should be 100 characters or less including spaces. (We tweet your release and a link.)
2. Capitalize the first letter of each substantial word. DO NOT USE ALL CAPS in your headline.
3. Keep it short. No more than one phrase or sentence.
4. Make it memorable.
5. Refrain from using exclamation points.
Write a sub-headline (optional)
Do not repeat information that is already in your headline.
Instead, expand on it. It can be longer than your headline and should express a complete thought.
Identify the location and date of the story
Underneath the headline/sub-headline, list your city and state.
Follow that with today’s date, including month, day, and year.
Writing the body of the press release
The body of the press release expands on the “Who, What, When, Where, How and Why” of the announcement. The details in a press release should be limited to the facts. Opinion, fluff or hype is not appropriate. Statements about how the product or service is the most amazing innovation ever invented should not be included. It is important that readers form this opinion by themselves by reading the details (facts) in the press release.
1. Make the press release interesting and exciting. Only the most interesting press releases get noticed.
2. Write in third person.
3. Write with the “journalist” or “media outlet” as the audience. Never write a press release as if you are trying to sell to the reader. Press releases that resemble a sales letter are considered “press release spam” and will create more harm than good. The purpose of your press release is to announce your news, not sell.
4. Put important details in the first paragraph. This includes where, when, who, what and why.
5. Use short paragraphs of two to four sentences each.
6. Limit your press release to around 400 or 500 words.
7. Provide basic information about your organization that will help readers understand what your company does. Title it: “About XYZ Company or Organization” and include a phone number, an email address for the organization and a to the website.
8. Follow the company information with personal contact information including your name, title, phone number, mobile phone number, email address, web address and physical address.
9. Send a fresh press release at least once a month. With the huge amount of information on the Internet, news is forgotten quickly. It is important to constantly come up with relevant and interesting news to announce. Writers can find ideas at prbuzz.com.
10. Add ### at the bottom of each press release to signify the end.
Example press release
Gov. McCrory Gives Keynote at SearStone Grand Opening
Festivities Celebrate Official Opening of Retirement Community
CARY — A standing-room-only crowd of more than 300 invited guests applauded vigorously as North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory spoke of the need to tap into the collective wisdom and experience of senior citizens to help the state continue to grow and prosper.
Gov. McCrory was the keynote speaker at a special Grand Opening and Official Ribbon Cutting for the SearStone continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Cary on Jan. 16. SearStone is the first CCRC to be licensed in North Carolina since 2008, and will employ about 300 staff when complete. The community welcomed its first residents on Nov. 1, 2013.
The evening began with complimentary valet parking at SearStone’s Winston Clubhouse. Guests were ushered into the Grand Ballroom as a violinist serenaded them from a second-story balcony. Emcee Barbara Gibbs of ABC11 News welcomed the guests and introduced numerous VIPS in attendance, including N.C. Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, N.C. Department of Natural Resources Secretary John Skvarla, State Sen. Tamara Barringer, State Rep. Tom Murry, former Cary Mayor Koka Booth, Cary Chamber President Howard Johnson, and Cary Chamber Chair Frank Shell.
Following a special dedication from Rev. John Nagle and address by SearStone Executive Director Chris Romick, SearStone President Stan Brading presented a check for more than $21,000 to Lutheran Services for the Aging.
In his keynote address, Gov. McCrory stressed the importance of being active in one’s golden years and pointed to the example of his own mother who went back and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
SearStone founder Bill Sears choked up briefly in thanking the governor for coming to the event. “You don’t know how much this means to me and my family,” said Sears, who recounted the tale of how he wanted to turn the historic Sears Farm property into a retirement community where his parents could return to after being displaced by roadway expansion years earlier.
Director of Sales and Marketing