When one wants to make an announcement to the media, a press release is usually the method that is employed. This is generally a few paragraphs that are distributed to as many media outlets as possible to ensure wide dissemination of the message. A press release can be regarding just about anything, including promotions, new products, big events, and even firings and scandal. Reporters often base their news stories off of press releases they have received, and the ones that are designed and written the best have a much better chance of getting their message out in the form of news stories that are written about them.
One of the keys to a quality press release is a good headline. It should be short and describe the main idea of the message. For example, one could announce a new product with a headline such as, “ABC Pharmaceuticals Tests New Drug That Cures Cancer in Mice.” That would certainly warrant a news story, yes? Big stories can often sell themselves with a good headline, but other more mundane events may need something catchier to grab the eye of a reporter whose job is to sift through hundreds of press releases a day. It’s good to be creative with headlines, but just don’t overdo it; otherwise the headline runs the risk of turning the rest of the story into a joke, which is not something that would help get your message out. The headline also should be a bit larger than the rest of the text, and in a bold font.
The next task is to write the copy of the press release. Simply put, you should write it as if you were a reporter and were writing a news story about this particular event. Start with the date, city, and then a sentence grabber as the first sentence. You should then expand on the idea in the next few sentences, making sure to be concise about the event. The rest of the copy should not drag on and on; make sure to say what is important and not repeat oneself over and over.
Finally, the last paragraph should talk about the company or organization behind such big news. Put together a few sentences describing the company and what it does. In this case, you can always borrow verbiage from the company website or other marketing materials. You can also put a heading above this part, such as “About ABC Pharmaceuticals,” to aid reporters in writing a story about the event. Also make sure to include contact information at the end so that the reporters can call or email if they would like more information for their stories from the main people involved in the event that’s occurring or has occurred. The company URL is helpful as well, especially if you would like that included in the story.
By writing an effective press release, you can do a lot to get your message out to the world and gain a lot of positive news coverage for your company or organization. Following a few simple steps and conforming to an accepted standard that reporters are used to seeing can help immensely and mean the difference between many stories written about the event, and one that falls on deaf ears.