Press Release Writing: The Basics

Are you planning a newsworthy event? Whether a fundraiser, company announcement, community celebration, or personal achievement – such as a published book or upcoming speech – a press release may be the perfect marketing tool to help take your news public. A press release informs the target community of notable news stories or interesting activities.

Public awareness can attract readers to these events, or encourage them to pass the news along to friends or relatives who may be interested. If you need help getting the word out about a community service, special event, or news item, learning how to prepare and distribute a press release can help to promote your cause.

Include relevant information.
A press release – information released to the general public through newspaper and radio news media – should contain important facts and details about your news item. In general, it is helpful to respond to traditional reporter questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Explain what is happening, the date and time, the location, and indicate those should be made aware of this event or announcement, and what the expected outcomes, if any, will be. If there is a registration cost, that should be mentioned as well.

Usually the bolded, capitalized words “For Immediate Release” appear at the top of press release, which can simply be white 8-1/2″ x 11″ paper. Some companies have created their own press release forms, which include the company’s contact information and other helpful details so they don’t have to be rewritten for every press release.

The beginning of the press release includes the city and state location of the news’ origin, and concludes at the end with the sender’s name, title, and contact information in case someone wants more information.

Follow a press release format.
Following the heading and location at the top of the page, a brief headline summarizes the news item:

“Trinity Church will Host National Prayer Leader”
“Columnworks Accounting Hosts Software Trade Show”
“University Receives Historic Donation”

Following the headline, narrative style is used to explain the news item. It can be one or several paragraphs, but usually does not exceed two pages. Information relevant to target readers should be emphasized. This typed information is double-spaced.

Distribute the press release through appropriate media channels.
Depending on your local media connections, you can fax, email, or send the release by regular mail to area newspapers, radio stations, Internet, and other media outlets that may want to carry the story. If you are not sure where to send it, you may want to contact a public relations firm, or more quickly and cheaply, visit online websites that specialize in media distribution. For example, PRWeb is a leader in professional marketing. You may also want to work directly with wire services if your announcement will be distributed beyond local media. Visit sites like i-Newswire.com to learn more.

Writing a press release is fairly easy after you learn the process. Use this exciting medium to spread the word about your latest news.

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