How to Write a Press Release
Guidelines for formats, and placing appropriate content
How to Write a Press Release – Introduction
One of the most important things to know when developing a press release to send to the media is proper formatting. Several accepted formats are used in the public relations (PR) field. Some of them will be discussed here, and a sample press release is provided in one of the most common formats. Other important elements to a good news release are covered step-by-step.
The Right Length
The common optimum length for a press release is 400-800 words, with 400-600 words being a good target length. In many cases a 500 word release is “just right” because it ensures you get to the point in what you’re announcing. Length will vary, and run longer, when there is mandatory “boiler plate” information typically found in releases for publicly traded companies.
The sample release below, this page, is just under 400 words, and is a good length for a new product announcement.
Write for brevity when possible and make every word count, but you don’t need to be obsessive about it — it’s important to remember you’re writing a news announcement and not the “great American novel.” Be matter-of-fact but also attempt to engage the reader with a story that draws the interest of the person who might read it. Be aware that some major media outlets like the Los Angeles Times receive thousands of press releases per week from around the world, so your “hook” is very important.
For your information:
This article originally appeared on MindsetNetwire.com in early 1999 and Send2Press.com in 2000 (verifiable via the Wayback Machine – Archive.org). It has also appeared on various Websites by permission, including Jackstreet.com, and has been frequently copied/re-written without permission by various how-to Websites. It is Copr. © 1999, 2003, 2012 and 2014 by Christopher Laird Simmons, all rights reserved.
With product announcements your headline can be more general, as simple as “BigBear Publishing Announces Latest Version of BearMarket, the Leading Bear Tracking Application.” With general editorial — sometimes called feature stories — you need to be more creative.