How to write a press release and why
A press release isn’t hard to write and doesn’t take much time. Also, only a few will ever see the light in a newspaper. Why do I bother writing them in the first place, and how do I go about it?
I think writing press releases is as valid today as it was before the Internet. Sure, there are less printed papers out there, and most of them will not pick up your release, but press release directories are searched by many journalists and even by bloggers. Who knows who might pick up your newsworthy note? And every time id does get picked up, your words will be visible to many, many readers. It’s worth a try, and since it doesn’t cost anything but a little time, I say it’s well worth the effort.
Writing a press release isn’t difficult if you follow the format. In the fist line, set the timeframe for release (FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / FOR RELEASE BEFORE XXXXX / FOR RELEASE AFTER XXXX). Follow it with an enticing headline. The next few paragraphs contain the information about the release’s writer (Contact: Full name, Company Name, Address, Phone, Email, and URL).
The first real paragraph starts with a place name (City, Town or Location Where Story is Relevant) to help the journalist decide if this story is relevant for him. It is followed in the same paragraph with a very short summary that draws the reader in to learn more. Make sure the summary connects to the headline.
The second paragraph answers the questions “Who, What, Where, Why, When”. Keep it short and get to the point. Next, you can fill the body with more information. Make sure it’s relevant to the topic as defined by the headline, succinct, not boring, and current. Add quote from a customer or somebody who can verify your expert status.
In the second to last paragraph include a quotation from yourself and state who you are. Your quotes allow you to insert your opinion and provide more depth to your story. Finish your press release with a final paragraph detailing where to get more information on your website. Last but not least, send it in. There are press release sites where you have to pay for distribution, but there are some free ones too (like these).
That’s all there is. I hope this helps a bit.