How to Write a Press Release
by Susannah Greenberg,CEO,
Susannah Greenberg Public Relations
These are guidelines for how to write a press release. They are guidelines only, not rules.
The length of a press release should be approximately 600 words excluding headline, contact information, and bibliographic detail.
The text should answer the five basic questions of journalism: who, what, when, where and why?
The press release should have a newsworthy headline and sub-headline.
It should have a dateline. For example:
NEW YORK (BOOKBUZZ) —
It should have contact information of contacts whom the media can reach out to for further information - name, phone number, and email. At the bottom or top, the address of the organization, its website address, and its logo should appear.
It should contain 3-4 bullet points highlighting features.
It should contain, on average, no more than 3-4 links and 1-2 images.
Images should be captioned and carry credit lines naming the photographer or source of photo if needed.
Copy should appeal to the broadest possible audience and assume no background knowledge on the part of the reader.
Remember, all emails need to be mobile friendly, which means consider that most or many will read the email on a cell phone or other mobile device. So, type size should be 13.5 pt at a minimum and use white space liberally.
Also, there should be white space around all hyperlinks as well in order to make it easy to click on them on the small screen of a cell phone.
Finally, consider sending a VERY brief pitch letter INSTEAD of a press release, and in the pitch letter include a link to your press release which you can make available either online or via a service like Dropbox or Box.
Here are more tips on writing press releases from a journalism and public relations site called Muck Rack:
Come up with a creative, attention-grabbing headline and sub-headline. Make sure the headline you choose both engages readers and accurately explains the context of the press release.
[Very important! My emphasis] Get right to the point in the intro using an inverted pyramid writing style. Make sure the first paragraph of your press release addresses all the important points to follow.
Include one or two key quotes when possible. Incorporating quotes from expert sources is a great way to get key elements across in your press release while humanizing the content.
Keep your press release relatively short. Journalists typically don’t have a lot of time to closely read lengthy releases. Stick to the most important information.
Some news wire services which will help you write and distribute your press release are:
CONTACT: Susannah Greenberg Public Relations, (646) 801-7477, firstname.lastname@example.org