I’ve rounded up a couple of Copywriting and PR industry pros who have generously shared their favorite tools & tips on writing a killer press release with me.
Leigh Kramer of Helicopter Marketing:
1. Contact information (who does the reporter contact to get an interview or more information?)
2. Compelling headline telling why the item is important (think needle in the haystack – you want your news to sparkle) in 80 characters or less, title case
3. Brief subhead giving more detail and summarizing the subject – around 150 characters, sentence case
4. Lead paragraph: Tell the reader in the first paragraph in 25 words or less what you want them to know – think: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How
5. Brief backgrounder on the company or person (one paragraph)
6. Pitch letter/email
To be avoided:
1. Anything that is remotely like a sales pitch
2. Rambling on for more than one page, unless the subject is highly technical or of earthshaking importance
3. Information that is not fresh and relevant to the media outlet’s audience
4. Errors of any kind – grammatical, spelling, factual, etc.
5. Fancy letterhead, graphics, etc. Just keep it simple.
1. Gather the facts – Think about why these facts are important, and to whom
2. Write the press release, using inverted pyramid format (most important info first)
3. Spell check and grammar check the press release
4. Have 2-3 people proofread the press release for you
5. Make corrections
6. Save it in Word and in PDF format
7. Write your pitch letter if you are sending it to a human being. This can be an email or a letter – telling them why the item is important to their readers/listeners/viewers
8. Send it, and then follow up!
1. Use keywords and make the thing search-engine friendly if you are submitting the release online
2. Offer a full media kit to the reporter if they request it
3. Include quotes from an expert or relevant individual to make your point
4. If you aren’t a good writer, hire someone who is!
Martin Cohn President of Cohn Public Relations:
Seven steps to a killer press release:
Step 1: Send it to the right reporter.
Step 2: Send it how they want to receive it.
Step 3: Make it newsworthy.
Step 4: Avoid hype.
Step 5: Avoid non-meaning words and phrases and industry jargon.
Step 6: Use standard journalistic style.
Step 7: Be brief.
• FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Type these words in the upper left-hand margin,
just under your letterhead. Be sure to capitalize every letter.
• Contact Information
Skip two lines after release statement and list
the name, title, and telephone and fax numbers of your company contact person. It is important to give your home number since reporters often work on deadlines and may not be available until after hours.
Skip two lines after your contact information and bold your
This should be the city your press release is issued from
and the date you are mailing your release.
• Lead Paragraph
The first paragraph should be a “hook.” It needs to
grab your reader’s attention, as well as containing the important information to your message. Make sure you include the five W’s (who, what, when, where and why).
• Text Body of the press release in which you give full details about
• Recap At the lower left hand corner of your last page, re-state your
product’s specifications, highlight a product release date.