A press release is a document written for the attention of a newspaper or magazine. The content is very diverse: you can announce upcoming events, portray a personality, announce awards, promote new products and services, share business results, etc. It could also be the source of a more detailed press article. Journalists are more likely to lean on a press release if it can give them an idea of paper to write on. It is an essential tool for working in the press, usable by anyone wishing to write in this format. We'll show you how to write a good press release.
Part 1 of 2: Make a press release appealing
Step 1. Write the title
It should be short, clear and to the point: a quick summary of the main idea of the article. In the opinion of many professionals in the press, it is best to write the headline only after you have written the press article. If you follow this tried and true tip, proceed with writing the topic and then finish with the title. The title should be catchy and should relate to the content of the article.
« wikiHow, a very reliable source of information!
»It's a tempting title, isn't it? There you want to know more! A news headline should grab the attention of reporters, just as a newspaper headline is meant to grab the attention of readers. He can be there to point out the latest innovations of a company, a recent event of interest, a new product or service.
A title in bold type usually stands out from the body of the text. A good title is usually written in the present tense, without an article and without the verb to be in some cases.
- The first word is capitalized. As is the custom for all proper nouns. Most of the words in the title are lowercase, however, you can use a special font for these lowercase letters: your title will be more attractive from a graphic point of view. Don't capitalize all words!
- Use keywords. To have a good headline, use the main keywords contained in your press release. With these words, try to make a headline that is both cohesive and catchy. If you put a caption, do the same. If your press release is published online, these keywords in the title will give you a better place in the search engines. For journalists and readers, the press release will be immediately identified. In absolute terms, this title should almost be a press article title.
Step 2. Write your development
A press release should contain the gist. Keep in mind that most journalists are very busy and don't have time to go check out your company's accomplishments, so they will use what you have deigned to write in their paper. own press release. Whatever message you want to get across, this is the place to put it.
- Start by quoting the date and city from which the press release originated. The name of the city of origin can be ignored in order not to sow confusion, if, for example, the article was written in Paris and concerns events that took place in a branch of the company in Lyon.
- The first sentence should grab the reader's attention and briefly state what it is all about. If, for example, the title states that "Carpren Publishing Releases New World War II Novel," the first sentence should say something like: "Released today from a novel by famous author Arcy Kay on WWII. World War at Carpren Publishing »This is an extension of the title explicit enough to encourage the reader to read more. The next two sentences should then get to the heart of the matter.
- The body of the press release should be a single block. Avoid making sentences and paragraphs that are too long. Also avoid repetitions and excessive use of fanciful or slang phrases. Keep it simple and find the right words.
- The first paragraph (no more than two or three sentences) should summarize the title of the article and provide additional information. In a fast-paced world, neither journalists nor readers will get to the end of the article if the opening of the release arouses some interest.
- Cite hard facts, events, products, services, people, objectives, goals, plans, etc. Gather as much factual information as possible. A simple way to write an effective newspaper article is to list the following questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how.
Step 3. Answer the right questions so you don't forget anything
Who, what, when, where, why, and how - this is what should enlighten readers on all they need to know. Take the example of the publishing house mentioned above to build our press release.
- Who is it ? From Carpren Publishing.
- What's the novelty? Les Éditions Carpren publishes a book.
- When ? Tomorrow.
- Where ? In all major brands, starting tomorrow
- Why a paper? Because it was written by Arcy Kay, a renowned author.
What will happen ? The main event, a signing session will take place in Paris, followed by a tour of the main metropolises of France.
- When you have laid the groundwork for the press release, expand your paragraphs with information about the people involved, the product, important dates or any other remarks related to the event.
- If your company is not the center of the event, but the originator of the press release, say so clearly in the body of the text.
- Keep it short and get to the point. A newspaper article should not exceed three pages. If you are sending text on paper, plan for a double-spaced layout.
- Your chances of being selected for a publication will be greater if you produce a news article that has media interest. Find out what it means to “have a media interest” in the newspaper world, and use that knowledge wisely so that you can get the attention of a newspaper editor.
Step 4. Do something sharp, attractive and relevant to your target audience
Know that those to whom you send the press release are inundated with emails. We must therefore stand out. This requires not only that the content is interesting, but that it is already almost "ready to be published".
- Journalists and editors see at a glance all the work they will have to do if there are mistakes, if the press release is incomplete or if it needs to be restructured. They don't have a lot of time. So write impeccably, have things to say, make a good layout, a good catchphrase and your press release will turn into an article!
Why would these people be interested in your paper? If you send it to the person who deals with this topic, that will be fine, they will pay attention to it. If you send it to anyone, you waste their time… and yours by the same token! Send the right information (not ads!) To the right person and you'll be on the right track!
Send your press release in the morning. This will give them time to educate themselves and complete their article during the day. Anticipate and take into account the way journalists work
Step 5. Build Your Release
Indicate links where you can find other information that supports and complements your press release. Does the company you are trying to promote have web pages where you can get more information? Yes ? Perfect ! Put the references of these pages.
If you're not sure how to go about it, imitate the specialists. Online, there are examples of “perfect” press releases. You will surely find one that deals with a subject like yours. We particularly recommend these two sites: PR Web and PR Newswire
Part 2 of 2: Format a News Release
Step 1. Set up the backbone of your release
Good, you've gathered all the information you want to convey! How to do now to put all this in shape? To begin with, we define the length. You have to sort: one page is enough! No one will ever read a 5 page press release unless it is about World War III! Here is how we can proceed (some practices have already been mentioned above).
If the press release is for immediate publication, you should write “IMMEDIATE RELEASE” at the top left and in all capitals.
If the press release is due on another date, put “ADDED UNTIL…” with the date you would like the press release to appear. An article without a publication date is supposed to be ready for immediate publication
The title, usually in bold, is centered on the next line.
You can put a subtitle in italics (it makes the title a little more explicit)
- First paragraph: this is the important information. As for agency dispatches, we put the date and place from which the information comes.
- Second (and possibly third) paragraph: intended for secondary information. There you will put more detailed quotes and facts.
- Issuer Information: This is where you learn a little more about your company. Who are you really? What are your goals ? What is your mission?
- Contact information: this is where you can learn more about the author of the press release (maybe you!) If you manage to catch someone's interest, they will want to know more. about the author.
- Multimedia: today, it is difficult to avoid Twitter to name but one!
Step 2. Enter your company details below the content
Contact details and everything related to your company. The journalist, if he decides to make a paper, will mention the latter in his article. It is therefore in this part that he will find all the information he will need. Make it easy for him!
- The title of this part should be: "About company x".
- After the title, write a paragraph or two to describe your business, 5-6 lines for each. The text must describe your company, its name and its strategy. Many companies already have their own presentation brochure. This type of introductory text can be inserted here.
- At the end of this part, insert the email address of your site. The link must be correctly written with its full address (URL) without any overload so that even printed, the link will remain in its original form. For example: "https://www.your_business_mysite.com" and not: "Click here to enter the site".
- Companies which have a special page for the media must mention the address of this dedicated page. There you will find everything you need to be contacted and additional information.
Step 3. Indicate the potential contacts
If your article is really hot, the editors may need more information, or they may want to talk to important people related to your topic. If your company's policy provides that we can directly contact the people who worked on the project, you must include the contact details of these people, those of engineers or researchers for example.
- Otherwise, you must refer the actors of the press to your Media / Press department, which will be referenced under the heading “Contacts”. If there is no such department, you must appoint someone who will act as the link between the press and your collaborators.
The disclosure of this information, after all private, must remain limited to this single press release. The information must mention:
- the full name of the company;
- the name of the Advertising department and its manager;
- the address of the agency, the office…;
- telephone and fax numbers with international prefixes;
- mobile phone number (optional);
- the accessibility time slots;
- the email address (or addresses);
- the website address.
Step 4. If possible, provide a link to the electronic version of your press release
It is a good idea to always keep a copy of all your press releases on your own site. It will be easier for you to produce a text when needed and to archive your publications.
Step 5. The end of the press release is marked with three # symbols, centered directly below the last line of the release
This is a specific use for journalistic writing.
- Find press releases on the Internet to familiarize yourself with the tone, language, structure and format of this type of publication.
- Include a “call to action” in your release. It is about inserting information intended to make you understood by your readership and to make it manifest. For example, do you want to attract the attention of readers to a new product? So, indicate the places where this product is currently available. Do you want your readers to come to your website to enter a contest or find out more about your company? So, put the site address or a phone number.
- Don't waste time looking for a title until you've finished your article. Editors are responsible for finding the final headlines in magazines and newspapers, but it's already a good idea to give your release a catchy title. The choice of title is fundamental to attracting attention. Keep it short and factual. But if you try to write it before the release, you are wasting your time. You do not yet know exactly what you are going to say or who you interview will say. When you have drafted the press release, you may need to change the title. It is only at the end that you will be able to opt for the final title.
- Write each press release according to the media targeted (newspaper, Internet, radio) and send it to the editor-in-chief who covers this type of event. This information can be found on the newspaper's website. Sending the same press release to multiple editors can be tricky, you are trying to force your hand. Choose carefully who you send it to! it will be more efficient!
- Timeliness of a press release is very important. The subject must be relevant and contain recent news, neither too old nor too far removed from the concerns of the moment.
- Avoid using professional jargon or overly technical expressions. If you need to use a specific expression, give its definition.
- Send your article by email, taking care not to format it too much. Giant characters and multiple colors won't improve your prose, they will drown it out. Put the press release in the email itself and not as an attachment. If you need to use an attachment, add plain text. Word documents are commonly used, but if you are using the most recent version (.docx), save a classic version (.doc). Newspaper editors are now suffering from a budget crisis and are not always up to date on the IT front. Only use the PDF format if you also need to send images and graphics. Do not enter a text on letterhead and then scan it and send it by email the JPEG link of the scan, it is a waste of time for you and for the editor-in-chief. Just type the press release directly into the email.
- Add the name of the company in the title, in a sub-title as well as in the body of the first paragraph. Search engines should then place your press release at the top of the response, and you will be read by a large number of Internet users, professionals and individuals alike. If you send it on paper, you can print it on company letterhead.
- Use the title of your article as the subject of your email. If you have a catchy title, it will stand out in the editor's inbox.
- Do not hesitate to make a phone call to find out if the press release went well and if an article in the press is possible.
- The papers should be as optimistic as possible. Avoid words like "after the resignation of the former CEO" or "after a period of inactivity". A journalist might decide to investigate this matter rather than focusing on the content of the press release. Even if the facts were perfectly trivial, especially if the CEO had resigned for health reasons, the press article that could result may not be suitable for you.
- Don't forget quotes, ideally those made by the main character involved in the subject of the release. The quote does not have to be recent, but it must be relevant to the topic. Likewise, it is imperative to verify that the person cited has given his consent. A citation allows a busy journalist to complete a full article without having to interview the person being quoted.
- Do not quote the contact details of other people without their agreement. In addition, they must remain reachable at decent hours in the days following the publication.
When you send a press article by email, do not include "Press Release" in the subject line. Your paper would end up drowned in the mass of other emails. Put a title that catches the eye (the title of your article for example), a title like: " wikiHow wins a 35 billion euro contract with the French State!
- Always remember that many newspaper editors are overwhelmed and constantly understaffed. If you can make it easy for them, you'll have a better chance of getting published. If you write a press article close to the newspaper's editorial line, the rewrite work will be reduced accordingly. But if you stuff your texts with advertising slogans and don't use journalistic language, etc., the editor will certainly ignore it. Everyone says they are the best. Don't waste the editor's time! The business section is the best place in the press release to describe it. Stay specific and factual.