How-To: 6 Tips to Writing an A+ Press Release
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Are you tired of writing press releases and never getting the attention you desire? As an entrepreneur or small business, time is limited. So, you want to write a piece that reporters actually read — and we want to help you. Look no further, because with this how-to guide, you’ll be on your way. Follow these simple guidelines to help you write a quality press release:
- Let’s start with the basics. First off, ask yourself why are you writing this piece?
Whether you’re introducing a new product, announcing a new partnership, or making another type of public statement, it is absolutely necessary that your press release is newsworthy. Ask yourself, “Is this news important or valuable?” and “Why should people take time out of their day to read this piece?” Reporters receive an extremely high volume of news releases each day, so making yours stand out is crucial.
- The next step is writing the actual piece. Having a catchy headline is what will first capture the readers attention.
I typically write my headlines after writing the rest of the release in order to bring the whole story full circle. Something to remember: your headline should always include active voice and strong present-tense verbs.
- On top of having a compelling headline, your first sentence of your first paragraph must also be direct.
Instead of going into an elaborate narrative, dive right into your main point. This is your chance to pull the readers in and convince them to read the rest of the story. The remainder of your paragraph should include the who, what, when, where, and why of your story. Follow the “funnel style” throughout your piece, providing the most important information early on.
- In addition to interesting information, you’ll also want to include a quote or two from a reputable source, as well as a pertinent photo.
Having a quote will increase the credibility of your story and make it stand out against others. If you choose to include a photo, make sure you write a short but informative caption explaining what is going on so as not to confuse the reader.
- As far as formatting goes, keep your story short.
Be as concise as possible, aiming for about a page. Although you want to limit the length, be sure to include links where the reader can find additional information if they so choose. Also remember to include a boilerplate, which is a paragraph that explains what your company does, where it’s located and who your business serves. To indicate the end of the release, insert and center “###” at the bottom of the page.
- The last, and quite possibly the most important thing to remember is to proofread.
Reread your press release over and over, and then over again before sending it out to anyone. If a reporter sees even one mistake, it may turn him or her off entirely. For basic formatting tips, check out the template below as a reference.
Template courtesy NFIB.
Kira Byczek is an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Communications and English at Rollins College.
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