PR Tips | How to Write a Basic Press Release

PR Tips | How to Write a Basic Press Release

Do you have news to share with the world? A press release is one way to get your message to the public.

Whether you plan to distribute your release to the media or just post it on your website, here are a few tips.

First, ask yourself a simple question — is what I’m about to announce really news? My colleague David has addressed this topic before; check out his post for a refresher.

Next, familiarize yourself with some standard conventions. First, your release should almost certainly be less than 400 words — and ideally less than 300. A release cannot communicate all the nuances of your organization’s new report, nor can it provide all the background on your latest hire.

The goal of your release is to get a reporter or reader interested. A good reporter won’t just republish your release. He’ll use it as a reason to follow up with you to learn more — and then write his own report on the news.

When I begin writing, I envision a five-paragraph release and adjust as necessary.

Your first paragraph should start with a date line, where the news is taking place — e.g., WASHINGTON (April 22). Then, offer up your news — “Today, something happened.”

Paragraph two is a good spot for a quotation from the newsmaker — perhaps the author of the study that’s being released, or the CEO announcing that a new employee is joining his firm. Reporters can insert these quotations into their stories if they don’t have time to conduct interviews with your sources.

I like to bury essential background information in paragraphs three and four — the sort of material that is important to understanding or contextualizing the news that is relayed in paragraph one but is not interesting on its own.

Finally, conclude by giving reporters relevant contact information. Keep your releases short and newsy, and reporters will be calling you in no time.


Robby Schrum