A press release should be one page in length, it doesn’t include everything there is to know about your business, it’s quick information, usually about a single event or topic. It also needs to sound like news, not like an advertisement. Remember to think like the person reading a magazine, blog or newspaper – would you want to know what the writing is about or would you feel as if someone was trying to sneak in a sales pitch? That doesn’t mean you don’t write a press release if you have a new product out for sale – but the way you write it needs to focus more on what the person will gain from it then just “Hot new product for $9.95 – come buy now!”
Here are 7 essential elements of a Press Release:
- Contact information. Your release should have your contact information at the very top. Be sure to include a phone number, email and website when appropriate.
- The words: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Usually in all capitals and often italicized.
- Your city, state and date, followed by a dash, and all in bold. Put the city and state – spelled out – in parentheses, followed by the date, fully spelling out the month. Mine would look like this on a press release: (Portland, Oregon) March 25, 2011 –
- The body of the press release. The first paragraph should be the most compelling and should answer the questions: Who, Where, Why, What, When and How. You can then elaborate in future paragraphs.
- About your business. Also called the “boilerplate”, this is part of your press release that is used over and over again. The boilerplate is a short section that provides basic information about your business and includes a link to your website. This section begins with ABOUT [NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS]: – all in caps, in bold and followed by a semi-colon. Alternately, some companies say, MORE ABOUT [NAME OF BUSINESS] so decide which feels better to you. After your business name you Give a brief synopsis of what your company does and include a link to your website. You can also include contact information in this section but don’t make it too long.
- Four Hash Tags / Number Symbols. The end of a press release is signified with the following being centered on a separate line, below the boilerplate.
- List any attachments. Along with editorial content, the press loves to have image attachments, especially from artists! Send quality, hi-resolution images that are relevant to the news in the press release and list the file names of any images that you are sending with the press release. Put them below the #### in a list like this:
- Attachments: ImageName1.jpg
The best way to learn to write really good press releases is to read a lot of them and get a feel for how others do it. Just like anything – the more you practice, the better you will get!