Writing for Business

by Steve Roche

Writing a press release

The objective of a press release is to persuade an editor to first of all read it, and then to write it up for publication. It is also to ensure that any resulting story is itself positive and persuasive.

Write it in a form that editors want and so that it stands out and gets attention. If you are unsure of the best format, contact the editor first to ask. Many have templates they will send out to people wanting to submit press releases.

  • Put the words ‘Press Release’ and the date at the top.
  • Say if there’s an embargo (a request not to publish before a certain date).
  • Start with a heading that shows the content clearly and generates interest.
  • Space it out well, with wide margins and gaps.
  • Write ‘End’ as the last word.
  • Write in a newspaper style that follows all the ‘keep it simple’ rules.
  • The first sentence must get people wanting to read on.
  • Stick to facts and avoid overt plugging.
  • Give opinions in quotes and ascribe them to a named individual, ideally linked to a picture.
  • Always include clear details of who to contact and how.
  • Be enthusiastic: enthusiasm is one of the few good things that are contagious.

There is more on press releases in Handling the Media.