The whole point of a press release is to promote something. Everyone knows that when they read a release, they are going to find out about a new service, a new product, or a special event that that particular company is offering. Press releases are almost as old as newspapers themselves. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be well-written.
The “pyramid” style of organization can be especially effective when writing a release. This means that the most important information is placed right at the beginning of the article, with progressively less important info provided in subsequent paragraphs. This originally made it much easier for editors to trim a piece if space required it (they just started cutting from the end, knowing the key points were handled in the first ‘graph), but it also serves as a great way to communicate with readers who might not be inclined to peruse an entire piece.
A good release must also speak very clearly and effectively to the target audience. A dry, technical tone won’t work so well for, say, surfers, while a more lax and colloquial style might tend to dissuade readers in the upper echelons of high finance. You have to know your crowd, and choose your language accordingly, if you want your release to have the proper punch.
Along with knowing your audience, it also helps to know the venue. Where is your release going to be published? In a scientific news publication? In a general forum? Is it a social media news release? Any one of these will dictate a different style of writing. Social media news release writing, for example, will be incredibly familiar and conversational, using contractions and perhaps even dialects (as far as word choice and patterns are concerned). General news publications, on the other hand, will need a much more brisk and straightforward approach.
Your press release is more than just an announcement. It’s your brand. It tells people not only what you offer but who you are, even if it’s only in the subtext. Take the time to craft a release that will speak to the right crowd, in the right language, and you’ll get the right results.