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You Are Here: Home - Newsletters - "Organized For A Living" - Article

How To Write A Press Release

Firstly, let me say straight away that I am not an expert at writing press releases. But over the years, I have read and studied many articles on how to write a press release -- most of them written by experts, complicated and full of industry jargon. I then submitted my press releases, only to see them fail to be noticed by editors. Frustrating! That's not to say that the articles I read were poor. All offered good advice, but something was always missing -- some vital ingredient to getting my releases PUBLISHED.

So I created my own CHECKLIST -- a doable step-by-step guide that makes writing a news release a straight-forward process. And I now know what the missing ingredient is to a successful press release that gets published. It's simple, really, and obvious (read on!) I'm still not an expert when it comes to writing a press release -- you'll find links to experts at the bottom of this article -- but I am much more CONFIDENT that my press releases will get published now. And you can be confident too...

This is the basic outline to your checklist:
  • Step 1: What Is Your STORY?
  • Step 2: Think Like A Journalist
  • Step 3: MECHANICS Of Writing A Press Release
  • Step 4: Example LAYOUT Of A Press Release
  • Step 5: Is Your Press Release Ready?
So, what follows is advice distilled from many sources, organized in a way that allows you to follow the basic steps of writing a press release. And you can always find out more detailed information, should you need it, in the Appendix! What also follows is the vital ingredient missing from many how-to articles, that improve your chances of getting your news published...

So the first step is figuring out what kind of story you want to promote. Remember that it needs to be interesting enough to catch an editor's eye -- and it needs to position your company is somehow DIFFERENT from your competitors. Try to develop several different story angles:
  • holiday and EVENT tie-in articles
  • human interest angles
  • tips, articles, ADVICE
  • politically and socially important editorial tie-in articles
  • unique products, INNOVATIONS, new developments
  • interpersonal relationships on difficult issues
  • unusual events, personal accomplishments, creative ideas
  • HUMOR and wisdom, fun and tragedy
Some suitable news-sources to aid your research: 

What reasons would an editor want to publish your news? What are the BENEFITS to them? Is it relevant? Is it interesting? Is it newsworthy? Make the main benefit the HEADLINE. The only purpose of your headline is to get the attention of the editor, to get him/her to read your release. Write headlines from your prospect's point of view -- use the words "you," "new," and / or "how to" in headline.

Write for SCANABILITY, in short, punchy paragraphs. Your editor isn't going to have a whole lot of time to devote to your press release. Remember to answer the important questions (who? why? what? where? when? how?) in your subtext. Most importantly, make things EASY on your editor. Write the press release so it can be put into a magazine or newspaper, with just a few simple edits.

The TITLE of your press release is vital -- some say that 90% of your time should be spent on your title. Make it bold and boastful -- hot and shocking! Your opening sentence continues what you are talking about in the headline. You want to tell your story in your headline and leading paragraph.

Use specific, powerful (and true) testimonials and convincing case studies to support your story. Use a powerful GUARANTEE, and draw attention to it. Your press release should contain no more than five bullet points -- again, keep it short. Change passive words to active -- use the word "you" again and again. And make sure to link selling points so they connect in a logical manner. Most importantly, edit your copy ruthlessly, over and over again. For each sentence ask yourself "So what?" -- then REMOVE it if there is no good answer.

This is a simple example of what a press release should look like (more or less):
  • HEADLINE (explain the benefit 36-40 characters)
  • words "For Immediate Release"
  • your abbreviated CONTACT information
  • sub-heading
  • lead paragraph (explain what you OFFER in 40-75 words)
  • include quotes and testimonials
  • main paragraphs (WHO the article is for and why)
  • include facts and figures
  • final paragraph (summarize and end with a call to ACTION)
  • full contact details

Is your press release published on your website? Do you have printed copies of your PRESS KIT ready to send out as needed? Do you know what to do or say if a reporter calls?

Phew! A lot to take in, I agree! The main trouble with doing all of the above is that your press release will be long! Yes, the vital ingredient to your press release, the one factor that will increase the chances of getting your news published is to "keep it SHORT stupid!" Not convinced? Ask yourself these questions, then:
  • How MANY of these press releases do you think editors get to read every day?

  • How many long-winded releases will they read before becoming put off just by the LENGTH of a release?

  • And how much more LIKELY do you think a press release will be read if it's a short, quick read?
Keep your press release short, simple as that!

  • 10 Tips For Better Press Releases by B.L. Ochman --

  • Using And Writing Press Releases by Craig Lock --

  • Publicity Starts With A Press Release by Kate Schultz --

  • How To Write Press Releases by Paul Krupin --




Steve Nash is editor of a twice-monthly newsletter called Promote! Promote! Promote! Subscribe by sending a blank email to . Visit his website at

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