The Dos and Don’ts of Press Releases

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Unless you went to school for journalism, or learned from an old pro who learned from an old pro who learned from an old pro, there is a good chance that you have no clue how to write news press releases. And writing news press releases is important because they are what you send to news release services, that then disseminate the releases to various other news organizations. A press release is how you get the word out about the breaking news that you want known. News organizations large and small rely heavily on press releases for their content.

But the process of writing news press releases is surprisingly complex. While you will not gain years of press release writing experience by reading on, you will at least get some helpful hints and tips for the next time you need to write one.

1. Do

Start with news that is actually newsworthy. Think of it as a news story that you would brag about. And, as it is all about providing the right information to the news organizations, you need to provide all of the pertinent data that those organizations require to tell their story. They are always looking for the Who, What, When, Where and Why of the story.

Make sure that the writing is in third person. Even if you are telling your own story and experience, it must be in a professional format. Including quotes helps to make it more soundbite-able. Including photos, websites, videos and infographics makes it more likely to be used. And, of course, provide any contact information that you would like to include should they need to contact you.

2. Do Not

This paper is going to the news, who will be posting the information for the general public to see. Never, ever exaggerate or make up information. Do not leave out sources. Give everyone credit where credit is due. And always avoid industry slang or jargon. You want everyone to be able to read it and understand it.

You do not want the piece any longer than 800 words. If you provide any links, make sure that they are to reliable and professional sources. Wikipedia is not a viable source or link for a press release. Like exaggerations, avoid hyperbole and exclamation points. There should be no emotion or bias present, just the facts.

When writing for a news press release, the most important thing to remember is that you need to be professional. From there you can shape all of your other writing habits accordingly. Remember who your audience is, and to whom you will be sending the piece. As soon as you can get a hang of the professional press release writing style, you are more likely to see your news reported on.

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