The Secret of Writing a Press Release that Actually Gets Read

In today’s world, lots of information is disseminated via social media. This is a platform for the type of person that wants to know that things are happening, but doesn’t want details.

But there is also a type of person who wants to be informed. For this type of person, a press release is a better format for engaging interest.

The following tips will improve your skills as a press release writer.

Structure of a Press Release

A press release has three fundamental parts: title, summary, and body.

As a press release writer, you need to understand the purpose of each of these parts and craft your prose towards fulfilling that purpose.

Title

The title of your press release is the source of your search engine optimization. Current search engines will also analyze the summary and body of your press release, but the title gets a lot of weight. You need to include at lease one popular keyword in your title and the name of your business, product, or both.

Use an application like Google Analytics to determine good keywords for your title. The final goal is to crafts something that both has good keywords and succinctly describes the content of your press release.

Summary

The summary of a press release is roughly two to three sentences long and gives the reader a full understanding of what they should expect to see in the body. The purpose of the summary is to hook the reader.

You want your summary to be interesting and include just enough information that the reader wants to learn more.

If the summary hooks the reader, the rest of the content often all but sells itself. As a press release writer, you should practice writing summaries that are highly engaging.

Body

Finally, the body is the full story of your press release. The main goal of this section is to make the reader feel informed. Start the body with a date and include direct links in the body to your website. While it may seem a bit counter intuitive, a press release is better for marketing if it doesn’t try to sell a product.

Instead, focus on making it informative and not too long. An informed reader that isn’t bored by an overly long press release is likely to explore links, allowing the actual sale to be made by a web page focused towards that purpose.

Mickey David

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Mickey has degrees in linguistics and logic from a top 25 university. He has been writing online for the approximately five years, specializing in gaming, hobbies, and media. He has never missed a deadline. Quality and speed are equally important to Mickey and he'll never sacrifice one for the other.

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Cassandra Parsons
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Cassandra Parsons

I have written press releases for clients in the past where they wanted a 1000 word release….I don’t recommend press releases go much over 500 words MAX. Now I realize that this is my personal opinion, however I would like to know what your thoughts are about optimum word counts of press releases please Mickey. Great Article by the way!

Val Tanaka
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Val Tanaka

1,000 words is a huge release. That’s closer to an essay. I agree with your recommendation that press releases be 500 words max. Even that might be too much for some readers.

Georgia Potts
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Georgia Potts

I agree, 1,000 words is pretty excessive. Think of it like a resume- lots of compact, succinct information all on one page.

Corbin Bartoli
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Corbin Bartoli

I personally believe that 250-800 words is the sweet spot, depending on what exactly you’re releasing and why. On average though, less is more, and you should be able to get away with 250-500.

Georgia Potts
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Georgia Potts

Thank you for mentioning that you shouldn’t be selling something in them. That is the biggest mistake that I have seen over the years. It will get your press release immediately thrown out. No one wants to read a 500-word ad.

Earl Dotson
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Earl Dotson

Such press releases deserve to be thrown out. There’s a big difference between a press release and an ad, and anyone assigned to write a press release should know that.

Georgia Potts
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Georgia Potts

You’d think they would, but there are a lot of terrible releases out there. That often comes from companies trying to write their own or from hiring someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing just because it’s cheap to do so.

Myra Michaels
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Myra Michaels

For some reason I haven’t tackled doing press releases because I’m just not sure of the complete “proper” form. However, I was very impressed with your tips in this article, and they make me want to soon get the proper format (any good links to a simple layout?) and attempt to start writing these. Thanks!

Joy Channing
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Joy Channing

I have been concerned with the proper formatting as well. I can tend to be wordy and take too long to get to the point when I try to write press releases ( practicing on my own to get it right) Hopefully someone will know of a goof place to get proper format info.

Simona May
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Simona May

http://www.marketingsource.com/pressrelease/releaseformat

I recently went over press releases in one of my Journalism classes in school. This link gives a pretty good basic layout for how it should look. Hope it helps!

Val Tanaka
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Val Tanaka

Coincidentally, someone recently wanted me to write something about a press release that an organization he was with created. It didn’t grab me, and I didn’t know of a good way to comment on it. The press release lacked some of the things you talked about. It was too lengthy and also too dense. I agree that the summary needs to be the hook.

Earl Dotson
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Earl Dotson

Thanks for these tips, Mickey. Until we can afford to hire our own publicists, writing a good press release is something we all must be able to do. You’re right that press releases are for people who want to be informed, and let’s hope there will always be those people. It will will be a sad day when everybody only wants to get their news from social media.

Georgia Potts
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Georgia Potts

I’m seeing that more and more, too. Even news sites are taking news from sites like Twitter and using them to create stories.

auntieemily
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auntieemily

This is good information/advice. I do not know a lot about writing press releases, but I feel that you have covered all that needs to be known in order to write a good one.

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