8 things that should be in every press release

Post date 2008-01-03
Category Writings

So you've decided that your company's going to donate a large sum of money to help fund a hospital for needy blind children with a limp on the left leg? Awesome!

But why not kill two birds with one stone help two causes at once and generate some goodwill while you're at it?

A press release is one of the most important weapons in a communicator's arsenal. They're used to get the attention from traditional media. There are as many ways to write one as there are needs, but some things should always be in it. From top to bottom:

1. Sender
It must be clear who the press release is from. Use a logo or name.

2. Date
Put the day of the week and date above the headline and main content. Make it visible - this is hot, current news that needs to get out today!

3. Headline
Try to limit the headline to one or two short lines. Avoid abbreviations. It's never wrong to start with your own company name (that's what you want the reader to know more about, isn't it?)

4. Introduction
Grab the essence of the story in the first 2-4 lines of text. Imagine that these lines will be read as a short summary on the news in radio or TV.

Short quotes from relevant people can follow immediately after the introduction. The media loves quotes: make them good.

6. Description
Here you'll describe your story in detail. Still, remember to make it short and sweet! If there's a large amount of info (statistics etc.) that you want to pass on, consider having an extra fact sheet.

7. Sender
Yes, I'm aware that this is the second time I mention it.

8. "For more information, contact..."
The media must know to whom they should turn if they've got any questions.

All press releases should be short with focus on facts. Journalists are very pressed for time and often actually appreciate a well written release to use as a basis for news - get inspired by newspapers and borrow their style of writing!

But remember: never lie or exaggerate. Such thing will hurt you in the long run - always tell the truth.