When embarking on the task of writing a press release, it’s important to consider the Five ‘W’s’ and one ‘H’ – the formula for helping get the complete story on a subject.
Who? Who are the key players – your company, anyone else involved with the product? Who does your news affect/who does it benefit?
What? What is new? – a product, a collection, a member of staff
Why? Why is this important news – what does it provide that is different?
Where? Where is this happening/is there a geographical angle/is the location of business relevant?
When? What is the timing of this? Does this add significance?
How? How did this come about?
A useful starting point, is to begin by writing the answers to each of these questions. It’s then a matter of putting them together in short, punchy sentences. If you can’t get the words right straight away, keep trying. Most press releases go through several drafts before they are right. It’s essential that you get across the benefits that your news will bring.
It is not uncommon for press releases to be printed without any further follow-up with the sender. One point to bear in mind is that editors edit from the bottom of a press release up so ensure the most important points are at the top of the release.
What angle should I focus on in the release?
The most important thing to consider when writing a press release is the target audience.
When thinking about the audience, consider what knowledge they have about your company and product and the type of language they will understand.
Try to avoid using adjectives, flowery language, or technical terms.
How do I structure and present the release?
Start by giving the release a title – aim to keep it short and sweet.
The job of the title is to grab attention and encourage the journalist to read more. Don’t labour over what title might look good in print — most journalists/editors will change the title anyway if the release is to be used.
How many paragraphs?
The answer is as few as you need to get your points across. Avoid waffle and lengthy explanation. Keep the copy as concise as possible.
The first paragraph should form a brief overview of what your press release is all about. Aim to capture the essence of your story in 50 words or fewer. The test of success is whether the story can be understood in its entirety if only the first paragraph was reproduced in print.
The second paragraph expands on information in the first, giving a bit more detail. Often, the third paragraph provides a quote. The fourth paragraph outlines final information, such as referencing websites and ordering, or mentions other products in development, for example.
How to end the press release
All Ace press releases are simply formatted and pre-populated with ‘Ends’, ‘Editors Notes’, ‘For further information, please contact’ where it lists contact details you’ve submitted to ‘Your Profile’ section of your personal dashboard. We recommend including as many forms of contact as possible give a phone and mobile number so that journalists can make contact out of office hours. The more accessible you are, the better.
If any further points of information are needed, these can go in “Editors Notes” under the contact information. Examples might include background information on the company, or a note saying that photos/samples are available, product specifications.