Writing a Powerful Press Release
The key elements to a press release are in these six questions.
WHO? Who are the key players – your company, anyone else involved? Who does your news affect/who does it benefit?
WHAT? What is the big news?
WHY? Why is this important?
WHERE? Where is this happening/geographical area/location of business?
WHEN? When did this happen? When will it happen?
HOW? How did this come about?
Once you answer these key questions, the next question to ask yourself is “What angle should I focus on in this release?” Think about the important elements of the event/announcement that you wish to communicate with your target audience. Now that you know the angle of importance, time to structure your press release.
How to Structure a Press Release?
Timing – for immediate release or embargo?
You will need to indicate at the top of the release whether it is “For Immediate Release” or “Under Embargo”; if it is “Under Embargo” then you will need to specify the relevant date.
Give the release a title: The title should grab the attention of your audience and encourage the reader to want to read more.
How many paragraphs?
The answer to this is “as little paragraphs you need to get your points across.” A lengthy Press Release, no matter how well written, is unlikely to have the entire document read. The first paragraph of the press release should answer as many of the “Who, What, When, Why, Where, How” questions as possible. The second paragraph will then expand on the information mentioned in the first paragraph.
For a quick and easy way to make sure your press release contains important and necessary information, use this checklist:
Press release checklist
- Assess if the story has news value and if a release is appropriate.
- Research the target press and media. Review publications to get a feel for the tone and style. Identify deadlines.
- Identify the key facts – ask who, what, why, where, when, how?
- Draft a template structure for your story.
- Decide who should be quoted from your organisation and if third-party quotes would be useful.
- Check whether a photo can support the release.