WRITTEN BY: VIRGINIA BANE
New things happen daily and it’s the job of a press release to get the word out about these events to news and media outlets. It can announce a variety of newsworthy events, including awards, new products, accomplishments, and a variety of others. Every business, organization, team, university and so on requires the use of press releases. As a business you would want to do a press release for a number of reasons, including:
- New purchase of a company
- New item for sale/ product
- An award
- A big accomplishment
- To get in front of a bad situation/to tell the company’s side of the story
- To introduce a new president, CEO, or owner of a company
Writing a basic press release can be a simple task if you remember the following tips:
Use the correct format.
Remember that the format in which all press releases are written is AP (Associated Press) format. This format will tell you how to write out dates, which words should be capitalized and which abbreviations are appropriate. It is in place to keep everyone on the same page when reading a press release. Remember to check the most updated AP format because they’ve been known to change some specifics from year to year.
Keep it Simple.
The most important tip in my opinion would be to keep it simple. A press release is written to inform; there is no fluff like there would be in an opinion column or a feature story. A press release should be concise and to the point, giving the media the most information possible without having a biased spin. As a public relations writer you must be objective and get the facts out there. It is then the news/media’s job to decide whether to make it a strictly factual piece or a feature where they can put their own spin on it.
Using a quote is one of the most important ways to politely boast about your business/event/product, so use this space wisely! A quote will give the news/media outlets something to highlight in their story and a contact person in the event that they want to do an in-person interview for their story. A quote in a press release should be factual. I would recommend to never start it out with “We are excited” or “we are thrilled” because nine times out of ten, if you’re opening a new store or promoting a new product, it’s a given that you’re excited. Instead talk about the impact of your news on the company or community, call attention to something specific or an action taking place. In other words, make it a little more interesting than the ever boring “we are so excited to announce…” line.
Post in the right places.
To get the press release out to media/news outlet is a simple task. You can post it on the web on sites such as PRWeb and news reporters will search key words or areas and find the releases that pertain to their search. Or you can shoot it straight to the source—email or call the news stations and state that you have a press release that you think would benefit their news story. You can also post on social media outlets; this would be appropriate on the company’s official website, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. There are plenty of avenues to reach out to. You just have to be able to capture their interest with an eye-catching press release!
So remember, when writing a press release keep it factual, keep it simple, and keep it interesting! With these guidelines you’ll be writing an effective press release in no time!