What Every Press Release Writer Must Know

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Tips for press release writers

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

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. 

Katelyn Macdonald

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Katelyn Macdonald is an experienced freelancer with a Bachelors of Science in Business. Her work includes, but is not limited to, blog posts, product reviews and press releases. She also has experience in writing articles pertaining to travel and health-related topics. Katelyn Macdonald works hard to ensure her clients' satisfaction.

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0 thoughts on “What Every Press Release Writer Must Know”

  • Avatar

    I used to write press releases and I was given the advice to write for a child’s attention span. I was told to put all relevant details in the first paragraph because many readers might not read any further. It’s also vital to use subheads so readers find the details they’re looking for quickly. Doing this makes the press releases far more useful. Great tips!

    • Avatar
      Georgia Potts says:

      Ha ha, I love the idea of using a child’s attention span. That’s a good way of seeing how quick an editor’s read of a press release has to be. I remember as a reporter I’d give releases a quick glance, and that was all I had time for. If it didn’t seem important, it went to the trash so I could scan the next one.

  • Avatar
    Georgia Potts says:

    Too many press releases read like ads. To get a press release to really get attention, you have to make it cover something newsworthy that people will be interested in. That is perhaps the number one rule for writing them.

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    Press Releases are a great way to get your new business venture or product out into the world. They can be used on many different target markets and will provide the simple details needed to announce your business or product to a larger market than you could do by simply announcing it in your won newsletter, or local paper. I produce Press Releases for many different companies and find that writing announcements for new and exciting ventures into the business or consumer world is a great way to give the world insight into a new shopping or business market or product line.

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    You’re absolutely right about that. I personally love reading press releases, especially those issued by NBA teams. I think it’s awesome that today anyone with an Internet connection can access press releases.

    • Avatar
      Georgia Potts says:

      I like reading them as well, I thought I was a weirdo, lol. I’ve had to read and write them for years, though, and I like to see the different approaches that the writers use.

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    heading is sometimes on the boundary of informative of the press release content and drawing you into something completely unexpected and sometimes irrelevant. It can be frustrating.

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