Writing A Press Release

Posted by on Sep 23, 2013 in Business Writing | 0 comments

So you need to write a press release. Maybe your boss is crawling up your butt about how to get more media exposure for the event your nonprofit has coming up in a few weeks. Maybe you’re trying to get someone, anyone, outside of your roommate and your mom to notice the one-woman drama that you’re putting on at an abandoned textile company down by the railroad tracks. You think it won’t be that hard. “I’ll just write a bunch of stuff and send it out to people,” you think. And then you sit down and realize you have no idea what you’re doing. Don’t worry. It happens to the best of us. Fortunately, we’re here to help.

In this post, we’re going to give you a template and a basic idea of what to do with your finished product. Then in a follow-up post, I’m going to analyze a press release I wrote last year that will both serve as another example as well as shamelessly promote my buddy Jason’s artwork.

So here’s a basic template. If you’re not promoting a particular “event,” you can substitute “product” etc.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Short but Eye Catching Action Headline in Amazing Bold Lettering

WHEREVER, Nebraska (September 1st, 2013) Unknown author to write a precise and hard-hitting topic sentence that succinctly describes the event that’s being promoted.

This unknown author will follow up the topic sentence with relevant background details about why the upcoming event is taking place. Some good examples the author might use include a history of said event, or some interesting bits about the people making the event happen.

As the author proceeds into the body of the press release, he or she will include anything that makes this event stand out amongst the countless number of other events that are happening around town that week. For example, if there are lions involved or something else really flipping cool like that, the author should definitely mention it here.

By this point, the author may deem more explanation unnecessary, but anything critical to the event that hasn’t yet been mentioned should be placed here. This is a great time for the author to specifically give the public a reason or two for attending the event, and thus the media a reason or two to cover it.

As the release quickly comes to an end, the author will make sure to give out any relevant websites, articles, or other pertinent and easily accessible information.

PROMOTER’S NAME
PROMOTER’S TITLE – BUSINESS THEY REPRESENT
CONTACT NUMBER / EMAIL

###

And in the end, it’s that simple. The biggest tip is to be exciting but not too flowery. Good, solid action verbs are a great idea. Most of the release should be like a hard, stiff jab, not some wild combination of hooks and uppercuts that may or may not land. Boring press releases get skimmed and deleted. So do press releases that resemble novellas. Remember that the reader on the other end is going to decide based on your headline and topic sentence whether what you’ve written is even worth a cursory perusal. I’d be surprised if most press releases are given eight seconds. Seriously, count to eight in your head right now. That’s what you get – at most. So play rodeo cowboy and make it a damn good eight seconds.

Now introducing the Grandpa Hank’s Marketing Expert, my wonderful sister Kelly, who is here to briefly explain how to actually go about the “releasing” part of the press release. Trust me, the best written headline in the world doesn’t do much for you just sitting in a pale blue folder marked “pressy type stuff” on your desktop- unless you’re the one person in history who manages to get beneficially hacked.

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