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.
- 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.
- “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.
- Contact Information: Place your contact information in the upper right corner.
- Date: Be sure today’s date (or the date of issue if different) is on the release
- 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.
- Dateline: This is the location from which the release is issued and leads the release.
- Lead Paragraph: This answers the “who/what/where/when/how” in the beginning paragraph.
- 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.
- Details: Add additional details, sponsors, supporting evidence, etc. later in the release.
- 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.
- 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.