Press release writing is one of the foremost skills public relations practitioners need to master. Although you might enter into an arena that does not require the regular use of press releases, practicing the concepts behind them strengthens your ability to catch someone’s attention and transfer a concise message no matter what the project.
Build or further polish your skills with these tips:
Aim to convey the most with the least amount of words possible.
The Most Important Goes First
The first paragraph is like a first date — it forms first impressions, presents the most important information first and can go horribly wrong when not done properly.
You should put your most important information here, including the who, what, when, where and why. This should be one to three sentences and should set up the environment and context of the release.
Supporting Details Come Next
After setting up the environment with a quick two sentences or so, support those points with additional information. This information should also rank in order of importance.
The supporting details continue for the next two to three paragraphs.
Do Not Use Huge Blocks of Text
How terrible does this paragraph look? If you were not this deep into the article already, you probably would have skimmed right over this point — just like you might do with those emails or news articles that have committed this sin. No one has time to poke through the overabundance of information you have crammed into your behemoth paragraph. It is scientifically proven that people not only do not want to have to delve into an oversized paragraph, but also cannot retain the information as well as a shorter paragraph. This also might be a sign that you are not being as concise as you could
Try breaking them into short, two to four sentence paragraphs. This gives the eye a break and helps your audience retain the information
Include a Quote
Include a statement from a knowledgeable individual, but make sure it is one that relates to your topic. Quotes strengthen the credibility and diversity of your release.
“A quote from a strong, knowledgeable source can be the key to a reporter, editor, or even blogger, to continue reading a release,” said Jason Mollica, president of JRM Comm. “The quote should not contain buzzwords or jargon. It should be filled with strong points that help the reader understand why the topic is important. You want the quote to be as trustworthy and sound as if that source actually said it. You don’t want it to sound as if it was generated by a PR person.”
Finish Off With Additional Links
The concluding paragraph is short, sweet and provides links to other relevant sources.
Remember to make sure that the media receives your press release the proper way with some media pitching tips.
This is a guest post by PRSSA Vice President of Public Relations Ben Butler. Follow him on Twitter @BenButlerPR.