Prepare a Personal or Business Press Release

A press release reports an event or situation that someone wants to promote. It’s designed to be sent to journalists (whether for print and online media sources) and encourage them to develop a story about that event or situation.

What kind of things would a personal press release promote? It could announce a book you’ve just written or alert your target audience of your content-rich blog or a workshop you’re giving. Make yourself newsworthy, and think about writing a press release to showcase your brand.

The following steps walk you through the basic formatting for a press release:

  1. Start by writing a header.

    It should look like this:

            FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    Contact:
    Contact Person
    Company Name
    Telephone Number
    Fax Number
    E-mail Address
    Website address
  2. Write a headline.

    Keep it to one sentence. Capitalize the first letter of all of the words, but DON’T USE ALL CAPS OR EXCLAMATION POINTS!!! (Doing so can be annoying to the reader.) Make the headline newsworthy.

  3. Write a strong introductory paragraph.

    You want this paragraph to grab the reader’s attention and contain the information most relevant to your message, such as the who, what, when, where, and why. It should give an overview of the press release as if the reader were only going to read that one paragraph.

    The first paragraph summarizes your entire message and includes a hook (which is usually a hard fact) to get your audience interested in reading more. (For example, if you’re giving a talk about fraud prevention, your hook may be that more than 10 million Americans are victims of identity theft each year, and you offer five specific tips for avoiding their fate.)

    Also include the physical location of an event and the month, day, and year.

  4. Write the body of the press release.

    These next two or three paragraphs contain more detailed information. Expand on the information offered in your first paragraph and include quotes from colleagues, customers, or subject matter experts.

    Keep in mind that you’re writing a press release to attract the attention of the media. Therefore, you must be factually accurate and have an angle that will appeal to journalists. Always put your most important information first and let your less important information come last in the release.

  5. Write a final paragraph that restates and summarizes the key points of your release.

    In that last paragraph, also repeat your contact information (your name, address, phone, fax, e-mail, and website address).

Here are some additional tips for writing a release:

  • Write your press release in the third person.

  • Prepare a message that is newsworthy and has substance. Tie it into current news, a holiday, or an event.

  • Ask yourself how people will relate to your release and tell your audience why this information is intended for them.

  • Use correct grammar and spelling. Avoid excessive use of adjectives and jargon.

  • Present the facts to make it newsworthy.

  • Write like a journalist by avoiding assumptions or crazy promises.

  • Try to keep the press release to fewer than 500 words total. Succinct and to the point work best.

  • Submit your press release to free sites like Free Press Release.

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