PAY ATTENTION TO
THE CONTENT OF YOUR PRESS RELEASE
Start strong. Your
headline and first paragraph should tell the story. The rest of your
press release should provide the detail. You have a matter of seconds
to grab your reader's attention. Do not blow it with a weak opening.
Write for the Media. On
occasion media outlets, especially online media, will pick up your
press release and run it in their publications with little or no
modification to what you send. More commonly, journalists will use your
press release as a springboard for a larger feature story. In either
case, try to develop a story as you would like to have it told. Even if
your news is not reprinted verbatim, it may provide an acceptable
amount of exposure.
Not everything is news.
Your excitement about something does not necessarily mean that you have
a newsworthy story. Think about your audience. Will someone else find
your story interesting? This is a common problem. Let's assume that you
have just spent a lot of effort to launch a new online store.
Announcing your company's opening is always an exciting time for any
business, but the last thing the media wants to write about is another
online store. This is old news and uninteresting. Instead, focus on the
features of your online shopping experience, unique products and
services. Answer the question? Why should anyone care? (Avoid clichés
such as "customers save money" or "great customer service".) Focus on
the aspects of your news item that truly set you apart from everyone
Does your press release
illustrate? Use real life examples about how your company or
organization solved a problem. Identify the problem and identify why
your solution is the right solution. Give examples of how your service
or product fulfills needs or satisfies desires. What benefits can be
expected? Use real life examples to powerfully communicate the benefits
of using your product or service.
If you are reporting on a
corporate milestone make sure that you attribute your success or
failures to one or more events. If your company has experienced
significant growth, tell the world what you did right. Show the cause
Stick to the facts.
Tell the truth. Avoid fluff, embellishments and exaggerations. If you
feel that your press release contains embellishments perhaps it would
be a good idea to set your press release aside until you have more
exciting news to share. Journalists are naturally skeptical. If your
story sounds too good to be true, you are probably hurting your own
credibility. Even if it is true, you may want to tone it down a bit.
Pick an angle. Try to
make your press release timely. Tie your news to current events or
social issues if possible. Make sure that your story has a good hook
Use active, not passive,
voice. Verbs in the active voice bring your press release to life.
Rather than writing "entered into a partnership" use "partnered"
instead. Do not be afraid to use strong verbs as well. For example,
"The committee exhibited severe hostility over the incident." reads
better if changed to "The committee was enraged over the incident."
Writing in this manner helps guarantee that your press release will be
Economics of words. Use
only enough words to tell your story. Avoid using unnecessary
adjectives, flowery language, or redundant expressions such as "added
bonus" or "first time ever". If you can tell your story with fewer
words, do it. Wordiness distracts from your story. Keep it concise.
Make each word count.
Beware of jargon. The
best way to communicate your news is to speak plainly, using ordinary
language. Jargon is language specific to certain professions or groups
and is not appropriate for general readership. Avoid such terms as
"capacity planning techniques" "extrapolate" and "prioritized
Avoid the hype. The
exclamation point (!) is your enemy. There is no better way to destroy
your credibility than to include a bunch of hype. If you must use an
exclamation point, use one. Never do this!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Companies are very protective about their reputation. Be sure that you
have written permission before including information or quotes from
employees or affiliates of other companies or organizations. Any
dispute resolution will favor the other company, meaning that your
press release may get pulled.
About your company. Your press
release should end with a short paragraph (company boilerplate) that
describes your company, products, service and a short company history.
If you are filing a joint press release include a boilerplate for both
FORMATTING YOUR PRESS
How you present your news is
just as important as its content. Some of these suggestions are
specific to PR Web's distribution service.
Mixed case. NEVER
SUBMIT A PRESS RELEASE IN ALL UPPER CASE LETTERS. This is very bad
form. Even if your release makes it past PR Web's editors (highly
unlikely) it will definitely be ignored by journalists. Use mixed case.
Correct grammar usage.
Always follow rules of grammar and style. Errors in grammar and style
affect your credibility. Excessive errors will cause your press release
to be rejected by PR Web's editors.
No HTML. Never embed
HTML or other markup languages in your press release. Your press
release will be distributed over a wide array of networks. Including
such formatting will negatively impact the readability of your press
More than one paragraph.
It is nearly impossible to tell your story in a few sentences. If you
do not have more than a few sentences chances are you do not have a
Summary paragraph. PR
Web asks you to include a one paragraph summary. Some distribution
points only receive your headline, summary and a link to your press
release. If you fail to include a summary paragraph you may reduce the
effectiveness of your press release.
Word processor. Write
your press release on a word processor instead of composing online.
Writing online will not achieve best results. Take time to do it right.
Write, print, proof read. Rewrite, edit…
Do not include your e-mail
address in the body of your release. Do not include your e-mail
address in the body of your press release. We have a special place
during the submission process for you to include your e-mail address.
If you include your e-mail address in the body of your press release
you run the risk of receiving spam. This is because your e-mail address
will be available to the public. Spiders routinely scour the Internet
harvesting e-mail addresses for spammers. Provide your e-mail address
only in the space(s) provided during the submission process.
Ticker Symbols. Never
include ticker symbols of other companies without their express written
Part 3: Press Release
It is important that you
follow a standard press release format.
Make sure your press release
looks like a press release. The following can be used as a template for
your press release.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Headline - Be creative. One sentence. Use
proper title case, capitalizing every word except for the following:
of, it, the, a, an, from …
City, State (PRWEB) Month Day, Year - Grab
their attention here. A strong introductory paragraph should cover who,
what, when, where, why and how.
Put the body of your press release here.
Expound on the information provided in your introductory paragraph.
Include quotes from key staff, customers or subject matter experts.
The body of your press release should
contain more than one paragraph. The final paragraph should restate and
summarize the key points of your news release.
For additional information (or sample, copy
or demo), contact: (include contact information here)
You can include details on product
availability, trademark acknowledgment here.
About XYZ Company
Include a short corporate backgrounder.
http://www.YourWebAddress.com (if applicable)
NOTE: Do not include e-mail address here.
Include safe harbor statement (if
Here is an example of an actual press release:
Jordan Returns to the NBA?
Michael Jordan may be
making yet another return to the NBA,
for his second stint as a team owner. The public can wager
on the teams available for Jordan to purchase.
San Jose, Costa Rica (PRWEB)
April 9, 2004 -- BoDog.com Sportsbook and Casino(tm)
has released odds on Michael Jordan’s ownership of an NBA Franchise
the 2005-06 season. While Jordan was forced to relinquish his minority
in the Washington Wizards prior to returning to play, rumors have begun
as to Jordan’s potential ownership in another franchise in the near
“I think it’s great for the
game to have easily the most respected
ever play in the NBA take on an ownership role,” said Rob Gillespie,
of BoDog.com Sportsbook and Casino. “Jordan is one of the most
recognizable athletes in pro sports, and that immediately adds mystique
to any team that he would have ownership in.”
Commissioner David Stern is
already on board with Jordan taking ownership, which could certainly
speed up the process. Currently the Phoenix Suns are the only NBA Team
pro-actively seeking out new ownership, and for that
they are currently the favorite. Jordan taking ownership in the Phoenix
is running at 4/3 odds. Charlotte could become a two time NBA Franchise
and if the Bobcats get off the ground Jordan could have stake in the
The current odds for Jordan to have ownership in the Charlotte Bobcats
Milwaukee seems like a team ready to speak with Jordan as well,
3/1 odds. With his son playing High School hoops in Chicago, and
decorated past with the Bulls, Chicago would be a dream come true for
Unfortunately it does not look like the Bulls are up for grabs, which
Chicago is currently at 10/1 odds."
With so many teams potentially
having interest in Jordan’s ownership,
option is available at 7/2 odds. Washington was Jordan’s first run at
and the odds for him to return to the Wizards helm are 20/1. The
team for Jordan is the Utah Jazz, currently sitting at 50/1 odds. You
wager on Jordan not taking any ownership within the next 2 years, with
odds running at 2/1."
“Sports icons, similar to
Jordan, have the ability to turn teams around,
obviously generate more dollars for the team,” said Gillespie. “Look
what Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux’s ownership has done for Phoenix,
BoDog.com is an Online
Sportsbook and Casino located in San Jose, Costa
To view the Jordan Ownership Prop, visit the NBA Team Props @
For more information on BoDog.com contact Todd Corrigall, Media
>at (604) 639-3448 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
COMMON PRESS RELEASE
As one of the Internet's
largest press release wire services we have seen some of the world's
best and worst press releases. Below you will find some of the most
common errors that we encounter on a regular basis. You do not get a
second chance to correct the negative impressions left by a poorly
All Upper Case Characters -
Never submit a press release in all upper case characters. The headline
and body of your press release should be in proper case. PR Web's
editorial policy does not permit press releases written entirely in
upper case characters.
Grammatical Errors -
Even the best writers occasionally miss grammatical errors and typos.
Please proof read, edit and reproof your press release. Obvious errors
are easier to catch when composing your release off-line. Never compose
your release during the submission process. If you need editorial
assistance we have professional NewsCrafters available to prepare or
edit your press release. Visit NewsCrafters.com or Call 866-640-NEWS
for more information.
Lack of Content - We
reject about 10% of all press release submissions for lack of content.
Oddly, authors are particularly guilty of short press releases. (We
assume that if authors can muster enough words to fill 300 pages they
should be able to come up with a 300-400 word press release.) Please
make sure that you answer all of the "W" questions, who, what, where,
when, why and how to ensure a complete press release.
Press Releases that Scream
BUY ME! - Do not write your press release like an advertisement.
Remember that journalists are NOT your marketing partners. Their job is
to relay information to their audience, not to sell. A good press
release informs the media. If your press release screams, BUY ME, then
you might want to consider reworking your release.
Hype Flags - This is a
close cousin to the BUY ME problem. If your press release contains too
many "hype flags" it will trip spam filters and intercept your press
release before it reaches its destination. A "Hype Flag" is anything
that challenges the credibility of your press release. Examples of
"Hype Flags" include an abundance of exclamation points or wild product
and service claims.
Funny Characters - On
occasion strange characters and formatting can creep into your press
release during the submission (copy & paste) process. Make sure
that you press release is formatted as you intended.
Word Wrapping - Do not
break each line at 70 characters. Let your sentences wrap naturally.
Please do not place a hard carriage return at the end of each line.
Include a carriage return only at the end of each paragraph.
Incorrect Usage of E-mail -
This plagues about 30% of all press releases. Use a role account
instead of a personal account. A role account is email@example.com. A
personal account would be firstname.lastname@example.org. Using a role account
allows you to redirect e-mail to someone that can respond while you are
on vacation. After all, you do not want to miss valuable media
contacts. You never want a journalist to receive a message telling them
that you are unavailable during the week because of your high school
reunion or business convention.