How to Write a Press Release That Makes News (Detailed Version) Part 4

Formatting the Press Release
How you present your news is just as important as its content. Some suggestions for formatting a press release are:

Word processor: Write your press release on a word processor instead of composing online. Writing online will not achieve best results. Take time to do it right. Write, print, proof read. Rewrite, edit.

No HTML: Never embed HTML or other markup languages in your press release. Your press release will be distributed over a wide array of networks. Including such formatting will negatively impact the readability of your press release.

More than one paragraph: It is nearly impossible to tell your story in a few sentences. If you do not have more than a few sentences, chances are you do not have a newsworthy item.

Summary paragraph: Include a one-paragraph summary. Some distribution points only receive your headline, summary and a link to your press release. If you fail to include a summary paragraph, you may reduce the effectiveness of your press release.

Do not include your e-mail address in the body of your release: If you include your e-mail address in the body of your press release, you run the risk of receiving Spam. This is because your e-mail address will be available to the public. Spiders routinely scour the Internet harvesting e-mail addresses for spammers. Provide your e-mail address only in the space(s) provided during the submission process.

Ticker Symbols: Never include ticker symbols of other companies without their express written permission.

Common Press Release Errors One Should Avoid:
You should avoid committing the following errors:

  • All Upper Case Characters: Never submit a press release in all upper case characters.
  • Grammatical Errors: Proof read, edit and reproof your press release and make sure there are no grammatical mistakes.
  • Lack of Content: Do not write a press release if you do not have sufficient content. Make sure that you answer all of the “W” questions- who, what, where, when, why and how to ensure a complete press release.
  • Press releases that scream BUY ME!: Do not write your press release like an advertisement. Remember that journalists are NOT your marketing partners. Their job is to relay information to their audience, not to sell. A good press release informs the media. If your press release screams, BUY ME, then you might want to consider reworking your release.

Style of Writing:
Press release writing should be easy to read and engaging. It should also remain reportorial, and not opinionated. In order to make the release readable for the recipient and even publishable, a journalistic style of clear, direct and concise statements is most effective. An engaging style makes the news clear in the beginning, followed by some supporting details, and leaves the reader’s interest piqued to learn more about the event, the organization, or the topic. Finally, a good release focuses on the human interest of the story without passing judgments or making opinions.