Press Release

 

Definition : Let us begin by reviewing what a press release is. By definition a press release is simply a statement prepared for distribution to the media. The purpose of a press release is to give journalists information that is useful, accurate and interesting. Get it? Useful, accurate and interesting, it is that easy.

Press releases are in all actuality 'cookie cutter'. Once you get the hang of writing them, all you have to do is fill in the blanks. Press releases conform to an established format. Journalist receive so many press releases a day, they have set standards and expectations that you must conform to just to have your release read, let alone published. If your press release is printed 'as is', without changing even one word, then you know you have conformed to the journalistic standards of that particular medium. "Write on", you're doing a great job!

Format : Press releases should be printed on company letterhead. If this is not feasible, adding the company logo is essential. The companies name, web address, location address and phone number should be printed clearly at the top of the page. PRESS RELEASE should be spelled out in all CAPS and centered in bold. The press release contact persons name should be underneath the wording and all contact numbers printed clearly underneath. If the press release is for IMMEDIATE RELEASE, say so, on the left margin directly above the title in all caps.

Title : The next essential component of the press release is the Headline or Title. It should be centered, and in bold. The heading of the press release should capture the journalist. The title of the press release should be short and snappy, and hopefully grabbing the attention of the journalist and impressing them enough to read on.

Content : You are now ready for the useful, accurate and interesting BODY of the PR. The body of the press release begins with the date and city for which the press release is originated. The body of the press release is very basic; who, what, where, when and why. The first paragraph of the press release should contain in brief detail what the press release is about. The second paragraph explains, in detail: who cares; why you should care; where one can find it; when it will happen. Also, included in the second 'informative' paragraph is generally a quote that gives the release a personal touch. Touchy-feelies go a long way with journalists. Press releases and news stories are boring to journalists without a 'human interest'. The third and generally final paragraph is a summation of the release and further information on your company with the company contact information clearly spelled out.

The content of the press release, beginning with the date and city of origin, should be typed in a clear, basic font (Times New Roman, Arial, etc.) and double-spaced. If your press release exceeds one page, the second page should indicate 'Page Two' in the upper right hand corner. Journalistic standards have set basic parameters to define the end of a press release: ###. Three # symbols, centered directly underneath the last line of the release indicate the end of a it.

The next time you are tasked with writing one for your company, have no fear, the basic rules are clear: useful, accurate and interesting information portrayed within the set journalistic guidelines.

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