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Writing a Press Release

jeremy | Saturday March 07, 2009

Categories: Skills, Press Releases

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Many commentators say the most important part of a press release is one trigger word in the opening sentence.

Depending on which study you look at 55 percent to 97 percent of all news releases sent to media outlets are never used, according to Dennis L. Wilcox and Lawrence W. Nolte’s Public Relations Writing & Media Techniques.

  • Opening sentence is crucial and must grab the attention of the editor
  • Sentence two explains the main point of the release
  • Sentence three should start to expand on the details
  • Then give full details.
  • Indicate sources
  • Provide contact names, mobile numbers and any other information
  • Always use short sentences
  • Write in the active – man bites dog rather than a dog was bitten by a man.
  • A press release should be no more than 200 words
  • Use statistics to make a point with an analogy – the field hospital tents were spread over two acres – much better to say the tents covered an area the size of two football pitches
  • When writing your press release remember that the editor reading it will be programmed to ask what, when, where, why and who, and maybe how.
  • Your first paragraph should contain some of these, the most enticing aspects of the story. Leave the others to the second or third paragraph.


1. How long – no more than1-2 pages in length.
2. Double-spaced with margins
3. Use Headed paper or stationary with a logo
4. Put “News Release” at top in capitals.
5. Put a “release date” under “News Release”  eg 0001 December 15th 2005
6. Inverted pyramid (biggest point or major message first)
7. Write an enticing headline which summarizes the material/news but write it last. You will have a much clearer idea of what would make a good headline after you have written the whole press release.
8. Straight to the point at the beginning and be clear. 
9. First and second paragraphs devoted to your main message
10. Secondary...

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