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How to Write a Press Release

This press release article shows you how to write press releases that make news! It includes a sample press release, and press release format. NOTE: successful press releases a) must have a story b) must be written with the journalist in mind c) must adhere to a specific format, with standard contact information and d) must be short

 

How To Write A Press Release That Makes News

Press release writing (or writing a news release) and getting your news published is not difficult.

I say this after struggling for some years to get any of my press releases published. I stumbled on the most important factor right after my first release was published in a UK internet magazine. I then decided to piece together all the advice, all the tips and tutorials I've read, into a single checklist, to make writing my next successful press release easier.

The 'how to write a press release that makes news' checklist below is the result.

Like all checklists, it's brief and to the point. So if you need to understand more about a particular concept I recommend that you visit the recommended how to write a press release links

Remember, good press releases -- i.e. news releases that get published -- are great ways to get invaluable promotion for your business or website.

So learning how to write a press release, writing your press release and then publishing it, is definitely 'worth it'.

=> How To Write A Press Release Checklist

Here are the basic steps of writing a press release:

1) Have a story to tell
2) Think like a journalist
3) Format the press release properly
4) Keep your press release short!
5) Promote your press release online 

An explanation of these 'make news with your press release' steps follows.


1) Have A Story To Tell

You must have a story to tell, a hook, or an interesting angle. Whilst demand for news is great, the news must still be interesting.

So, find your story and develop it. Position your press release, somehow, to be different. Whilst you try and do this, make sure you think about the following:

  • holiday and event tie-in articles
  • politically and socially important editorial tie-in articles
  • internet innovations and developments or unique products
  • unusual events or unique personal accomplishments
  • humour and wisdom, or fun and tragedy
  • interpersonal relationships on difficult issues.


2) Think Like a Journalist

A 'story to tell' must be told with the person looking to tell that story in mind; i.e. you must think like a journalist.

So what reasons would an editor want to publish your news? What benefits would their readers get? Is it relevant and timely?

Ideally, make the main benefit of your press release the headline. Or try and answer at least three of the classic five Ws -- who, what, when, where and why -- for your publicity angle in the headline.

If you do not come up with a compelling headline then the journalist (or editor) will simply not read any further. So that is the sole purpose of writing a press release headline: to get the attention of the journalist. Use words like YOU, NEW or HOW TO to achieve this.

Keep your press release simple. Always write for scanability and in a way that means it can be published (in a magazine, for example) with as few edits as possible.

Write short, punchy paragraphs and remember to answer these questions: "Who? Why? What? Where? When? & How?"

=== Recommended ===

Learn more about writing a press release that works...

The rules of PR are changing. Learn how, below:

How to write a press release notes:

  1. Make sure you check out the article appendix. You'll find loads of press release services and resources

  2. And, HOW WELL DO YOU WRITE? Sorry, for shouting, but let's face it, your press release should be written as well as possible (as should the copy on your website for that matter). So if I were to recommend just one writing resource to help improve your writing (whether on your website, in your ezine/newsletter, or in your press release) it would have to be Make Your Content PREsell: an outstanding read - free to download!

=== Recommended ===

 

3) Format The Press Release Properly

Here is an example press release layout. Use the following as a guide.

[START]
<Title or Headline> - (a)

For immediate release

<Simple Contact>

<Sub-heading>

<Leading Paragraph> - (b)

<Main Paragraph(s)> - (c)

<Final Paragraph> - (d)

<Full contact details>
[END]

Notes:
(a) Offer a benefit, for example.
(b) What? Why is it needed? How will it help? Include quotes, too, if possible.
(c) Who is it aimed at? Who cares? Provide facts.
(d) Summarise the press release, or provide a call to action

Obviously, the words you use in your press release are of vital importance:

  • The headline is the most important part of your press release and the opening sentence should continue on from the headline
  • If possible, try and tell your story in the headline and leading paragraph
  • Try and change passive words to active
  • Use the words YOU
  • Have no more than five bullet points -- these should be selling points, ideally
  • For each sentence you write, ask yourself "So what?". And remove the sentence if you can't think of a good answer
  • Edit your copy ruthlessly, over and over again.

And, finally, make sure there are no attachments, no HTML, and no Word document files. (Everyone is wary of email viruses these days, including editors.)


4) Keep Your Press Release Short!

With so much to consider when writing a press release it's not surprising that most people make this common press release mistake: they write too much copy. It doesn't matter how well you have written your press release, if it's too long then it won't get read. So keep your press release short. Remove words that do not need to be there. Again, edit ruthlessly.

Not convinced? Ask yourself these questions, then:

  • How many of these press releases do you think editors get to read every day?
  • How many long, badly-worded releases will they read before, eventually, they become instantly put off just by the length of a press release?
  • And how much more likely do you think it is that an editor will read your SHORT, quick-to-read, press release?

Understand? Keep your press release short, simple as that!


5) Promote Your Press Release Online

The best way to promote your press release online is to use an online press release service. One highly regarded service is PrWeb.com . As it states on their website:

"[PRWeb is the] recognized leader in online news and press release distribution service for small and medium-sized businesses and corporate communications. PRWeb pioneered Free Press Release Distribution and continues to set the standard for online news distribution."

So you can either promote your press release for free, or they offer various paid-for services that guarantee a variety of levels of online exposure.

There is no point in writing a press release if you are not going to promote it, so this step is also vital.

- http://www.prweb.com

--

Great stuff, you're ready to write a press release that gets published and makes news. Do put your press release on your own website too, though (adding it to a press pack would be even better) and do think of what to say should a reporter call. It's much more likely to happen now, that's for sure.

Here is an example press release that *should* follow all of the guidelines above. Does it?
- http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/03/prweb361096.htm

----

So there you are: how to write a press release that makes news, and another promotion tip that *you CAN* do, to promote your website or business. Just follow the checklist below, to make sure that your next press release gets published:

  • Have a story to tell
  • Think like a journalist
  • Format the press release properly
  • Keep your press release short!
  • (To mis-quote the pop song, "...let's go make some [news]")

Get writing that press release now! Make news, today.




 

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