Press releases have been a cornerstone of public relations since their inception nearly a century ago. While they have always received a great deal of criticism, they remain one of the most effective tried and true ways to produce results.
As a press release writer, you have the responsibility of creating awareness of a new product or service. As Wendy Marx of Marx Communications explains, a press release should answer five basic questions: Who, What, When, Where and Why.
A well-written press release is compelling, scannable and offers the reader everything they need to know upfront. Whether you are writing a press release or are purchasing one from a professional press release writer, there are basic guidelines to follow.
Read on to learn about how to write a press release that will stand out.
The Elements of an Effective Press Release
The tone may vary depending on the purpose of the business and the length is subjective according to its needs, but every press release follows a basic format.
The Headline and Subhead
The headline is the reader’s first impression of the press release. It should accurately explain the purpose of the press release, while compelling the reader to continue reading. Proper formatting dictates that the headline is written in bold font, while the subhead is italicized.
The body of the press release should be as concise as possible, while still covering the pertinent information. Your target audience, who in this case is the media, is unlikely to spend more than a couple minutes reading over the press release.
The first line of the body should include the city of the press release’s origin, as well as its release date. A press release writer should include all the important information in the first paragraph of the press release. The details of the announcement can be further expounded upon in the following paragraphs, but the reader should have quick access to the essentials.
While the press release should be factual, this does not mean it needs to be dry. Incorporating a quote from an authoritative figure regarding the announcement will bring color and interest to the piece.
The Press Release: An Important Aspect of Your Marketing Strategy
As Heidi Cohen states, a press release alone is not enough to ensure the success of your business. However, when integrated with the other aspects of your marketing strategy, it can be effective in driving your campaign.