Writing A Press Release

Wrinting press releases can help you to generate publicity for your company and get free coverage by the media. This article will teach you the basics, who to submit them to, and how to position your release for success.

Writing a press release is a great way to generate publicity and interest in your company. However, your press release should stick out from the crowd. Many companies make the mistake of writing a press release, sending it out to every newspaper in the country, and sitting back and waiting for inquiries to roll in. Unfortunately, the interest they expect is rarely generated through these methods. To be effective in your press release campaign, there are two major factors you need to be aware of: Audience and Newsworthiness.

Why write a press release?

Companies write press release to generate publicity for many different reasons, including:

*Introducing a new product or product line

*Announcing a new Web site or website redesign

*Acknowledging a new partnership

*Announcing awards

*Announcing new branches or facilities

*Introducing new employees

*Promoting events or sponsorships

Getting Started:

When you write your press release, be sure you follow the following format:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT:

Contact Person

Company Name

Telephone Number

Fax Number

Email Address

Web site address

Headline

City, State, Date "" Opening Paragraph (should contain: who, what, when, where, why and how):

Remainder of body text -

If there is more than 1 page use:

-more-

(The top of the next page):

Abbreviated headline (page 2)

Remainder of text.

(Restate contact information after your last paragraph):

For additional information or a sample copy, contact: (all contact information)

Summarize product or service specifications one last time

Company History (try to do this in one short paragraph)

# # #

(indicates Press Release is finished)

This format is the standard for the industry.

Writing the Press Release

Depending on your goals, your press release may cover different aspects of your company news. In short, your release will need to tell the story that you want users to consider newsworthy. If you're launching a new product line, or opening a new branch. then your headline should reflect not only your announcement, but also WHAT IT MEANS to the reader. Instead of "XYZ Inc. announces Merger with ABC, inc.", your headline should reflect the newsworthiness of the merger. "XYZ Merger with ABC Inc. Brings Customers an Exciting Blend of Technology and Creativity" works better. Your headline should reflect the answer to a question your press release contains, most often "What are the benefits?" (Pretend you are watching Jeopardy: the answer is in the form of a question!)



Your first paragraph should include the journalistic who, what, why, where, and how's. "XYZ Inc's merger with ABC Inc., officially sealed today, will bring a great online storefront to the general public. " Start with the basic facts, and grow the detail as the press release moves on. (This is called the inverted pyramid.) Any claims you state in your opening paragraph will have to be reiterated and proven later in the body of the press release.

The body of your press release should be written journalist-style. Quotes from company executives are a great way of creating a story line. The best part about this is, you can actually have your executives use "creative control" to have the most articulate quotes possible. Be careful not to cross the whole line to a full story; give details, but not ALL the details. Reporters will call to get the history of the company or additional information. Try combining your press release topic with a current statistic. Most important: Focus on at least one problem or benefit, but don't give them all away.

The conclusion of your press release should contain information that creates more interest, such as "XYZ plans on concentrating on _________ in the future." Make sure that there is still a story to print, and let the reader know where to find more information.

If you have a photograph that illustrates your new employee, events, or product, get many copies! Make sure you send them out with your press release. Your release may get printed simply because you fill up blank space!

Who should you send your release to?

If your press release is industry-specific, target your press release to the industry. Sounds simple? It can be, but be wary of generalizing your audience. If you're selling manhole covers, release the information in magazines that public utility companies read. Make a list of at least 10 trade journals YOU subscribe to. Magazines that anticipate you advertising with them in the future are most likely to print the details of your release.

If your company is a national company, send your release to national newspapers. If it is local, you best bet is sending it to local newspapers. You may want to have a different headline for local publications, starting out with the Headline "Local company has solution to ________".

Target your press release to the editor or writer who will be best able to use it. Call them on the phone and talk to the newsroom clerk or secretary and find out what editor is likely to handle the kind of story you're interested in promoting. Try a phone call, or leave a message. Say that you are sending a news release. Then snail-mail the release to the editor. Don't email it or fax it unless the editor requests it.

Keep track of your press releases and keep an eye on your success rate. You may want to try a press release distribution service, but make sure you try it on your own first. Chances are, by targeting your audience, you'll save money and have more success. Don't give up: if your press release comes out at the same time as many other announcements, you may want to re-release it at a later date. When you do re-release it, make sure to put "second run" in place of "for immediate release".

Now, get writing!

© High Speed Ventures 2011