In this section, we've outlined a few basics of what's in a press release, writing and editing a press release. [Reading time: 3 minutes]
What’s a Press Release?
Let’s start at the beginning. What’s a press release after all? A press release is a compelling, short document that shares information that is newsworthy. It is considered an integral part of a public relations strategy.
In addition to informing the media and industry of a company’s growth, changes and development, a press release can also help drive publicity that goes a step further, helping companies and individual securing features in magazines and interviews on television. This in turn, leads to greater visibility and more customers.
A little history…
The first recognized press release was created by Ivy Lee, considered the father of modern day public relations. Lee attended Emory University and went on to work at newspapers such as the New York American, the New York Times, and the New York World. Lee founded the nation’s third public relations firm with Parker and Lee in 1905. Over the next few years, Lee pioneered concepts that continue to drive public relations today. After the Atlantic City Train Wreck in 1906, Lee wrote the first press release. He convinced the railroad company to openly share information to journalists, before they could hear the information from elsewhere.
Style and Format
Press releases follow a standard format for quick readability and comprehension. They are double-spaced, typed (print version) and contain the contact person’s name, title, company, address and phone number in the upper right-hand corner. Every press release contains a eye-catching headline in bold type under the contact information and centered on the page. Often a date is also included that contains information like the location, month, date and year.
Every press release is short - 1 to 2 pages maximum. Online press releases often contain photos and links.
So what’s in a press release?
Every press release has to convey your message or story in a succinct and compelling way.
It contains information such as:
- Who - who’s involved (individual/company)
- What - what’s the idea you are sharing (product launch/new event/company growth)
- When - when did this occur
- Where - where the event happened or where it will launch in the future
- Why - why this is important now
- How - how did this happen or come to be
Every press release contains:
- A headline
- 2-4 short paragraphs
- Numerical facts with research to back it up
- Quotes from people
- Contact Information
Writing a Press Release: Essentials
Below are several tips to writing a press release that is professional, compelling and drives traffic and sales to your company, endeavor and help you promote your work and ideas.
Every press release contains the six primary elements of a good story - who, what, when, where, why and how. Press releases are brief and to the point so the writer focuses on telling the story as simply and clearly as possible.
An Attention-Grabbing Headline
The beginning of your press release is very important as this is where the reader often decides whether to keep on reading or leave. Strong headlines also help in garnering the attention of journalists who are looking for good stories.
To the Point
Journalists and media professionals are busy. Hence you want to get to the point quickly. Most will read the first sentence and just scan the rest of the content. Hence get the point you have to say quickly right at the beginning in just a few sentences. Add paragraphs after this to just support your concept or idea.
Share your facts. Your press release can contain a lot of creative content but be sure to add in compelling facts that are backed up with a reference.
Your press release must be flawless in grammar. Have someone professionally edit your press release to ensure journalists and media contacts take you seriously and read your content.
The personal touch matters. Add quotes from people in the company, the artist you are interviewing and others.
Add Contact Information
Provide contact information so that the journalist, press organization or interested people can get in touch with you directly.
Keep it Brief
As mentioned above in the format section, keep your press release to the point to one page. Two pages is acceptable but aim to limit yourself to one page for greater readability.
Offer Access to More Information
Provide links to your website and other relevant links so that interested readers can learn more about your idea, promotion, event or product. Keep your audience engaged enough to follow up with you.
Editing a Press Release: Essentials
Journalists, media and news companies all receive hundreds of press releases a day. Hence keeping their attention on your news takes effort and planning. Your press release has to be well written with engaging content and formatted properly. News and media professional do not want to have to digging around for more information. You have got to provide them that easily.
This is also the case in terms of photos, videos and links for online news media. The images need to be of high enough quality. Videos require good resolution and fast loading. Web links have to be viable, current and relevant.
Editing a press release involves guidelines for good copy such as compelling content and following the process of answering 6 basic questions - what, who, why, when, where and how. See our writing a press release guidelines.
It also requires that your press release meets established professional standards accepted by the industry. For press releases, we follow the Associated Press (AP) Style of editing. You can read more about AP style here.
Working with Us
When you work with us, you benefit from the experience of writers and editors who have been doing this for a long time and know how to craft a compelling message in as few words as possible.
- A high quality, well written and edited press release that meets and often surpasses professional standards
- Having a press release that enhances your company or personal brand reputation
- Attract Media Attention from Subject Experts
- Fast delivery
Whether you’ve got a concept in your mind that you have just outlined the basics and need writing assistance or you’ve got a first draft and need an edit, we can help you.
It’s easy to get started. You can be as involved as you want to be.
Writing and/or Editing Your Press Release
Send us a rough draft of what you want to say and then leave it to our expert writers and editors.
Just confirm your approval when your press release is finished. You can also take part in the process by giving specific instruction and ideas.
We are good listeners and will help you personally, taking the time to first understand your product or services and your goals.
You know your business best. Wee learn about your product or service through your rough draft or outline, as well as your website, notes, market research and conversations with you.
We turn your information and any thoughts you provide into a properly formatted, powerful press release.
We send our first draft to you for review. You approve the press release for distribution. We have a three-draft revision process to ensure you are pleased with the finished product.
When you call or email us, you'll be speaking directly with the editors and writers who craft your press release for you. Our press release writers and editors are American public relations journalists that know the American media market.
Once your press release is ready, we will distribute it, targeting journalists that write and talk about your subject matter.