Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Elements of a Good Press Release

Merely writing a press release does not guarantee that an editor will distribute it. As you go about crafting your press release, there are some important stylistic points to keep in mind if you don't want your press release to be rejected.

(1) I mentioned this the other day, but it bares repeating again: It is not an advertisement. Do not tell your readers what to do: "You should buy this product because..." or "You must go visit the new..." It is meant to convey important information relevant to the business, organization, or person it represents. Ask yourself if your topic is new, interesting, unusual, relevant, and important in some way.

(2) If you want someone to follow up on your press release after it has been distributed be sure to cover your bases. List a reliable contact person, their phone number, and email address. What good will a contact person be if he (a) is unfamiliar with the subject, or (b) is not around to be called?

(3) Be considerate and send the release on time. Give editors the time they need to distribute it - preferably at least a day prior to when you would like it released. Include the release date on the press release itself. Remember that these people are busy so respect them by not waiting until the last minute.

(4) Understand clearly the media's definition of news. Answer the who, what, where, why, when, and how within the body. Be clear, concise, and factual with your information. Sentence length should be about 20 words, avoid the passive, and write short paragraphs.

(5) Include a short headline to summarize the contents of the release.

(6) Avoid puffery like, "World renowned artist comes..." If an artist is world renowned it doesn't need to be stated. Your reader will know. Words like famous, prominent, wonderful etc should not be used.

(7) Proofread, proofread, proofread. This cannot be stressed enough. Nobody will take you seriously if you don't take the time to make sure it is error free.

There's a lot to remember when crafting your news release, but these are a few important points. Hope they help get yours distributed!

Have a great day!


Morgan said...

Lisa - You are spot on.
Too often we read press releases - as well as articles - wherein the author is verbose, uninformed, doesn't address all the issues, and their sentences go on for miles.
The most egregious sin they commit, in my opinion, is misspelling. It smacks of laziness and/or ignorance.
How can anyoen respct soneone who wont pruffraed there own werk?
You have a great weekend!

Lisa Vella said...


Thank you for the nice comment. I'm glad you enjoyed my article!

I'm not sure I've seen you here before, so thank you for visiting my blog! It's fun to see new faces and I hope to see you back!

You have a great weekend too!


Laura said...

This is a good series!

It's good for new writers, and it's a good refresher for existing writers.

Thanks for doing this.

Lisa Vella said...

Thank you, Laura!

I'm so happy for your comment because it is meant to be a series basic enough for the new writer, but yet "refreshing" for the pros!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Mihaela Lica said...

Maybe your next article should explain the differences between traditional press releases and online press releases?
Although they have the same ancestor... they are soooo different.