Published on February 11, 2011

Communications Masterclass: How To Write A Press Release

As your business grows, you may find it necessary to produce a press release- or PR- for the media in order to promote your products or services.

Creating readable, attention-grabbing copy is always a challenge. However, you may find it helpful to break down the process of crafting your PR into the following 3 stages:

Stage 1: Before You Write It

  • Before you put pen to paper, be absolutely sure that you have something to say, and that this something is likely to be of interest to the reader. This may sound obvious, but it is worth bearing in mind at every stage of the process. Remember: just because something is of interest to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will interest an audience who may not be familiar with your organisation!
  • Similarly, be sure of your intended audience before you begin to write. Who exactly are you writing for? Why are they likely to be interested in what you have to say?

Stage 2: While You’re Writing It

  • Lead in with an exciting, punchy headline- this needs to be interesting enough to attract the reader’s interest and encourage them to read on
  • Make sure that your opening paragraph contains the basic facts you’re trying to convey- the who, what, where and when of your story. Who did (or is doing) what? Where did it happen (or where will it happen), and when? The how and the why of the story can be elaborated upon in later paragraphs- these should address how the event happened (or will happen), and the reasons for it.
  • Remember that the why of the story is by far the most important- it’s the reason people will want to read it! Facts alone are unlikely to sustain their interest.
  • Keep it short and readable- overlong sentences and longwinded paragraphs can compromise the clarity of your copy, and may alienate the reader.

Stage 3: After You’ve Written It

  • Go over the document and thoroughly check all facts and claims included- nothing undermines the effectiveness of PR copy like factual inaccuracies or outright lies!
  • Likewise, be sure to double-check the copy for spelling, typographical errors and grammatical consistency- you risk appearing unprofessional if you allow simple mistakes to slip through the net.
  • Provide contact details in the body of the copy- your readers may want to get in touch with you! Journalists may also need to contact you with questions or to fact-check your statements.
  • End by placing ### at the end of the document- this signals to journalists and editors that the copy is finished and they need not read on.

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