Using your company logo on your press release is a point of differentiation.

For the better part of my career as a public relations professional I have written press releases. While I don’t often think about the mechanics, I am frequently asked, “How do you write a press release?” One of my “mentees” Amanda Boone, the marketing director at Summit Leadership Foundation, was the latest to pose that question. Here’s what I shared with her as we sat down to review several successful news releases.

  1. Begin with your logo centered at the top of the news release– A logo makes your news release immediately identifiable. If you are writing for another client/organization it helps journalists reading it to differentiate the writer from the client.
  2. “For Immediate Release”: This is stated in the upper left corner. The only other option is to “embargo” a news release which is asking a reporter to hold a story; something I do not recommend.
  3. Contact Information: Place your contact information in the upper right corner.
  4. Date: Be sure today’s date (or the date of issue if different) is on the release
  5. Headline: Be sure to create a catchy and fairly short headline that aptly sums up your release. If necessary provide a more detailed sub-headline.
  6. Dateline: This is the location from which the release is issued and leads the release.
  7. Lead Paragraph: This answers the “who/what/where/when/how” in the beginning paragraph.
  8. Quote from knowledgeable source: Be sure to have a quotation from a knowledgeable and respected source in the second or third paragraph of your release.
  9. Details: Add additional details, sponsors, supporting evidence, etc. later in the release.
  10. SEO optimized: Be sure you have provided one or more links to web sites, etc. and written keyword optimized copy. This used to be much easier when Google AdWords was around. I have since used Ubersuggest and would love to hear what tools you are using for keyword optimization.
  11. Boilerplate: Always end a press release with basic information about your company. This is a mini fact sheet about your company that can be repeated from release to release.

The ultimate goal of a press release is to get it in the right hands for publicity for your company/your client. Be sure your media lists are kept up to date and that you maintain ongoing relationships with the media. Social media has definitely made that easier. Good luck and please feel free to share press release tips that have worked for you.

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10 Responses to “How to Write a Press Release: 11 Tips from a P.R. Pro”

  1. Sue Painter says:

    GOOD tips! Thanks so much for this list, I know so many people who can use this.

  2. So many articles about creating a great press release make it so complicated … I love that you made this so simple and clear. Do you have advice on where people should look for a good quality media list? Or is it best to just hire a pro?

    • maryellen says:

      Jennifer, this is the “million dollar” question. Good media lists are generally created by the public relations professionals and, along with that, the relationships with the media. That is why business professionals hire us.

  3. Jessica says:

    Press releases are a tool I’ve always wanted to use, but never wrapped my brain around. I’d be curious, what do you suggest a coach use a press release for? I’d like to promote upcoming speaking engagements, teleseminars, my books, but doesn’t there need to be a hook or a story?

    • maryellen says:

      Jessica you can post press releases about all of your upcoming events on some of the free PR sites (there are several out there.) I think the Google juice you would gain would be valuable to you and your business. Good luck.

  4. Fabulous step by step instructions!

    I’d love some clarification and perhaps and example of “who/what/where/when/how”

    And like Jennifer, I’d love to know which press release service you use?

  5. This is a great little checklist for writing press releases! Thanks, Mary Ellen!

  6. Thanks for sharing these tips. This is something I’m trying to learn how to do better.

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