press release writing press release writing Archives - CarsonPR

Part 1 of 2 in a series

When it comes to writing a press release for your business, you should understand what it requires for an editor, reporter, or any journalist to even want to read what you send them. Keep in mind a press release is a way to introduce your business/product or service to the media. If there is interest, the release could turn into a story, or be published. Before I get into the heart of powerful press release writing, let me make a few points very clear.

  • There isn’t a “secret” formula to writing a press release. It’s knowing and using the 5 Ws in your releases: What. Who. Where. When. Why.
  • A press release is NOT an advertisement. Keep away from “selling” your product or service. Don’t write a release the same as you would an ad. Your release is going to the media, not potential or existing customers.
  • Releases are NOT articles. Look at articles in your trade and consumer media. These are not press releases, but stories.

No two businesses are the same, and this is also true of press releases. The only formula that applies is having a headline, dateline, opening paragraph, body paragraphs, boilerplate and contact information.

Do’s and Don’ts

The news media has a list of do’s and don’ts when receiving press releases:

Make sure it is newsworthy. Examples are:

  • announcing a new product or service
  • working with a charity
  • making a charitable contribution
  • starting as new division or acquiring another company
  • releasing a study about your industry and how it affects your business
  • sponsoring an event, or having a grand opening
  • taking your company public, or announcing stock offerings
  • rebranding or reorganizing your company
  • hiring a new executive
  • hosting a seminar
  • opening a new office or relocating your headquarters

These are just a few of the types of releases considered by the media to be newsworthy. Read and study other published releases, not all of them are good, but it will help you understand what that specific publication considers to be newsworthy.

  • Limit the use of adjectives and adverbs. Stay away from adjectives such as “exciting”, “fabulous”, or “revolutionary” to mention a few. Using adverbs like “really”, “extremely”, or “very” do not enhance the release, but will get it tossed.
  • Don’t use exclamation marks.
  • When making a statement or an opinion, be sure to support it.

Providing facts or referring to other studies or experts, it will give the release credibility.

  • Write your release to match the audience. If you’re announcing a new product make sure it is sent to media specific to that industry. It’s ok to modify the release to apply to different industries.

In Part 2 we will discuss catchy headlines, the best day of the week to distribute a release, how to make your release SEO ready, and how to rank high using keywords and phrases.

Sometimes we write like we talk. This is becoming a problem with press releases, articles and how we write emails. Even savvy publicity writers who write for pr clients, or publicity professionals will usually fail once in awhile with grammar in their releases.writing press releases

You may not think it is important, but editors, reporters write and read for a living and they do not tolerate poor grammar, or the use of conjunctions to make long sentences. I read an article in Press-Release-Writing titled “Get a Grip on Grammar“. It has a lot of the tips I give my pr clients. Let me share with you a few of these from the article.

Q: I’ve heard the terms biweekly and semiweekly used interchangeably. Are they really synonyms?
A: A bimonthly appointment occurs once every two months. A semimonthly appointment occurs twice a month. If you’re a gardener, it will be easier to remember the difference between “bi” and “semi” – just think of the term “biennial” and it’ll be a cinch to remember.

Q: When is a comma used before the conjunction “and”?
A: A comma should be used before coordinating conjunctions (e.g., and, but, or) to join closely related sentences. A comma is optional, but recommended, with and before the last item in a series of three or more items. In most of their other roles as joiners (aside from joining independent clauses), coordinating conjunctions can join two sentence elements without the help of a comma…

Q: When are “state” and “federal” capitalized?
A: State and Federal are capitalized when they exist as part of a proper name such as “Federal Reserve Bank”; however, “state law” is not a proper name, so it is not capitalized.

These are just a few common problems that any pr professional, pr client, or novice writer should keep in mind when writing any releases, or articles. If you need further help with your current publicity campaign, give Carson Marketing, Inc a call at 949-477-9400. Ask for George Carson.