A Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Write Press Releases

A Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Write Press Releases

Welcome to the latest post in our step-by-step guides for business writers. In this post, we include a step-by-step guide to help you write press releases.

We have written many posts for business writers, including these on business writing and business tone. We’ve also created a number of step-by-step guides for business writers.

In this post, we’ll guide you through the formatting, structure, and style of an effective press release.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Write Press Releases 

What Is A Press Release? 

Press releases are simple one to two page documents sent to blogs, publications, and mainstream media houses.

A press release announces recent news, notable occurrences, new releases, or forthcoming (and past) events. Press releases are meant to inform general media, who then informs the public. 

It’s important for press releases to be written in plain language. A good, effective press release also includes all essential information in-short. 

How To Format Your Press Release 

Click here to download an example of a press release in this format: Press Release Example

1. The PRESS RELEASE Heading

The first line for a press release should state its contents with the words PRESS RELEASE at the top. It helps busy readers to identify the type of document immediately.

It is sometimes bolded, or in ALL CAPS to make it stand out. Some press releases underline the term. 

2. The Release & Writing Date

Press releases state ‘for immediate release’ when the information contained in the text can be publicised or written about immediately. Sometimes, a press release can also state a delayed date for specific news.

The next, main date you’ll see on a press release refers to when it was written or sent to the press. Standard, written-out date format is preferred to avoid confusion.

3. Contact Person

Relevant contact details appear at the top-right or at the bottom of standard press releases.

If people have any questions about the content, who can they ask? Include an email address, website, phone number, and name – but only with permission when it goes on a press release!

4. The Font

Press releases are best written in clearly readable, standard fonts. Choose Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman set at point 12: ones that do not strain the eyes.

Use bold only for emphasis.

5. The Subject

The subject and/or headline for a press release appears after the main headings, dates, and contact information (if at top of release).

With a single line, what is the press release about? A subject line is an important identifier for any intended reader. 

It could say, ‘CELEBRITY EATS BAT’, or might say, ‘CELEBRITY DENIES EATING BAT’. But is it clear about the contents?

6. The Text

The text for a press release will often give information in an Inverted Pyramid format. Important, crucial data appears first, while other details trickle down by the paragraph. 

Condense information to a maximum of one page. Two pages are an exception to the rule. Three pages or more is unheard of, or surely a national scandal.

7. The Closing Information

Conclude a press release with a summary-paragraph that brings it all together. 

The last paragraph should repeat the most important details of the press release one more time. Dates or details that you want the reader to remember usually belong in here. 

End the press release with an invitation to contact if there are any questions or follow-ups.

Click here to download an example of a press release in this format: Press Release Example

How To Structure The Body Of A Press Release 

1. The Topic

The allocated topic for a press release is given to the writer by the client. This is something that they would like people (and the press) to know more about. If you aren’t sure about anything, ask your client: it helps.

2. The Inverted Pyramid

Most press releases use an Inverted Pyramid format when relaying information. It’s a common writing format that’s often used for news and blogs. Include all essential information at the beginning of the page, and work down ‘towards the final point’ by the end-paragraph.

3. All Essentials Covered?

A writer will use provided resources (by the client) to write their press release. Other resources could also be useful when conducting the research to write a stunning press release:

  1. Past Client Media Coverage
  2. Website Information
  3. Individual Interviews
  4. Brochures & Newsletters

A smart press release writer always does their research. In short, Google your clients!

4. Editing & Approval

Press releases require a fair amount of back-and-forth-sending between the writer and their client. It’s expected, and requires close work.

If you think that you have a good starting paragraph, call your client and read it to them: do they agree? The paragraph test is a fast way to establish a rapport between your client and your writing style. 

Send the first draft to your client from there. Edit in close collaboration with the people who asked for the press release: that’s how you ensure a good one.

The Last Word

We hope this helps you to write better, clearer press releases! You can also find more examples of press releases here.

Remember that Writers Write has many useful articles and blog posts for writers. If you would like to learn more about the art of better business writing, also read these posts:

  1. Step-By-Step Guides For Business Writers
  2. The Definitive Plain Language Writing Guide
  3. Everything You Need To Know About Business Writing
  4. Why You Need The Inverted Pyramid When You Write
  5. 10 Ways To Be More Concise When You Write
  6. 155 Words To Describe An Author’s Tone

If you need more help, look at our business writing workbooks.

 By Alex J. Coyne. Alex is a writer, proofreader, and regular card player. His features about cards, bridge, and card playing have appeared in Great Bridge Links, Gifts for Card Players, Bridge Canada Magazine, and Caribbean Compass. Get in touch at alexcoyneofficial.com.

If you enjoyed this, read other posts by Alex:

  1. A Writer’s Guide To Gonzo Journalism
  2. The Ultimate Ghostwriting Guide (For Clients & Writers)
  3. Songwriting For Beginners – Part 2
  4. Songwriting For Beginners – Part 1
  5. How To Write Adverts

Top Tip: Find out more about our workbooks and online courses in our shop.

Posted on: 30th August 2021