Press Releases for Dummies

06 Jun 2008


If you don’t know what you’re doing, then writing an effective press release can be easier said than done. But follow a few simple guidelines, and you’ll be on your way to successful promotion and publication. Listed below, you will find three steps to creating a first-class press release.

1. Know the purpose of your press release. A press release serves to market your business in a “newsy” format, and it can be one of the best ways to distribute information about your company. Before you even begin writing, decide on your main objective. Is there a big event you are trying to promote? Have you released a new product? Have you made important new business acquisitions that the public should know about? Make sure that whatever you write about is of interest and importance to the public. Otherwise, you may find it difficult to get your information out.

2. Follow the correct format. There is a correct format to follow when writing a press release. If you don’t follow it, your work will convey the message that you are unprofessional and that your work should not be taken seriously.

First, make sure to include a catchy headline that conveys the reason you are writing. (Sometimes, it is necessary to include a brief, italicized summary of the copy underneath the headline. For example,, one of the largest PR release sites online, requires this.)
Next, be sure to include today’s date and the date you would like for the information to be released.

When you are ready to write the body, make sure to include a powerful lead and several paragraphs with all pertinent information. Quotes add credibility to your writing and make a strong statement.

Conclude your press release with a concise paragraph about your company – this is called a boilerplate – and be sure to include your contact information. The end of your press release is signified by typing “###” or “-30-” a few lines below your text. If your copy is more than two pages, write “-more-” at the bottom of the first page.

3. Include the right information. The most important thing to remember when writing a press release is to write it in a “news” style tone. Consult an AP or Chicago Style manual is you are not familiar with the standard conventions for abbreviations and punctuation. As stated above, a strong lead should give the reader a reason to want to keep reading, and the following copy should be factual evidence that supports the subject of your press release. Many times, newspapers and other publications will publish portions of your press release without revising or rewording anything as long as your copy is clear and free of errors. Write a press release that is newsworthy, relevant, and interesting, and you will be on your way to publication in no time.

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