A press release is written communication about an event, product launch, stance or anything else that a company or organization sends to various media outlets for them to disseminate to the public.
Sending a press release to the media does not mean that they will run with it. Whether a media house publishes your press release or not will depend on whether they feel it is of interest to their audience or beneficial to the community.
Media houses are inundated with press releases every day so it is essential to write an effective press release. An effective press release is one that is formatted correctly, contains all the relevant information and is written in a way that makes it compelling and thus more likely to be noticed by the editorial team and, better still, published.
The more newsworthy your press release is, the more likely it is to be published. So, the first step in writing an effective press release is to make sure that the content is newsworthy.
Formatting an Effective Press Release
A properly formatted press release is essential. Journalists are more likely to pay attention to a press release that is properly structured. These are the elements of an effective press release:
Your headline must clearly state what the press release is about. This is the first thing a journalist will look at and if it isn’t interesting or compelling enough, they will probably not read any further. Use verbs, be direct and try to capture the essence of your story. Your headline is what makes people want to read on.
If the press release is about an event you need to state where the event will be held. You should also state where your business or organization is situated as this may influence in which publication or section of a publication the information is placed.
The Lead is the first paragraph of your press release and should summarize what your press release is about. This is a critical part of your press release and should concisely cover the “5 Ws”: Who, What, When, Where and Why in about 30-50 words.
The body of the press release is where you provide detailed information about your news. This should be well written, comprehensive and concise. Make sure information is structured so that the most important information is first. Also, remember that a press release should not be an essay, it should be a concise statement that is to the point. It is also beneficial to include quotes from someone within your company or someone associated with your story in this section.
The boilerplate is a very short paragraph that gives a bit of information about your business or organization.
You must provide the name, designation, and phone number of the person in your organization that any enquiries should be directed to so that the journalist can get hold of you should they need additional information or to set up an interview.
When writing an effective press release you should be clear about what your objective is. What are you trying to achieve? Try to also write as if you were a journalist. The better your press release is written, the less work for the journalist and the more likely they are to choose to publish your story over the hundreds, and sometimes even thousands, of press releases they receive every day.