How to write a press release

A press release is an announcement of an event, development, or other newsworthy item that is issued to the press. If a newspaper or magazine is interested in your release, they could publish it as an article. If a radio or TV station is interested in your release, they may mention it on-air or conduct an on-air interview with you or someone from your company.

Here are some tips for writing an effective press release:

  • Write as if you’re writing a news article. You should also write in the 3rd person.
  • A good press release never sounds like a sales pitch.
  • Find something of interest to readers of the outlets you are sending to.
  • Avoid spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Include a quotation from yourself or someone else in your company.
  • Keep the length of your press release to no more than one and a half pages long.
  • Give your press release a meaningful and relatively short title.

Typical format for a press release

Headline Announces News in Title Case, Ideally Under 80 Characters

The summary paragraph is a little longer synopsis of the news, elaborating on the news in the headline in one to four sentences.

City, State (AGENCY OF RELEASE* GOES HERE) Month 1, 2009 — The lead sentence contains the most important information in 25 words or less. Grab your reader’s attention here by simply stating the news you have to announce. Do not assume that your reader has read your headline or summary paragraph; the lead should stand on its own.

A news release, like a news story, keeps sentences and paragraphs short, about three or four lines per paragraph. The first couple of paragraphs should answer the who, what, when, where, why and how questions. The news media may take information from a news release to craft a news or feature article or may use information in the release word-for-word, but a news release is not, itself, an article or a reprint.

The standard press release is 300 to 800 words and written in a word processing program that checks spelling and grammar.

You should write your headline and summary last, to be sure you include the most important news elements in the body of the release. Use title case in the headline only, capitalizing every word except for prepositions and articles of three characters or less.

The rest of the news release expounds on the information provided in the lead paragraph. It includes quotes from key staff, customers or subject matter experts. It contains more details about the news you have to tell, which can be about something unique or controversial or about a prominent person, place or thing.

Typical topics for a news release include announcements of new products or of a strategic partnership, the receipt of an award, the publishing of a book, the release of new software or the launch of a new Web site. The tone is neutral and objective, not full of hype or text that is typically found in an advertisement. Avoid directly addressing the consumer or your target audience. The use of “I,” “we” and “you” outside of a direct quotation is a flag that your copy is an advertisement rather than a news release.

You can include details on product availability, trademark acknowledgment here.

About XXX Company:

Include a short background on your company, or boilerplate, about the company or the person who is newsworthy.

Contact:

John Smith, director of marketing
XXX Company
555-555-5555
www.yourcompany.com

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*Agency of release refers to the company you will be using to disperse your release to the media and the general public. There is a list of Press Release Services and Media Outlets in the Resources section of the site.