There are various articles on the net about writing press releases, but I thought I’d share a guide on how I’ve done it (with success) specifically with a crafts business in mind. There’s more than one way to skin a cat though, so feel free to adapt this or disagree with me on any of the following points! To begin with, make sure you have a story. I aim to write a press release every two months (and fail miserably!) on something genuinely interesting, such as a product no one else offers, some charity work or a success story. Don’t write one for each new style of earrings you make, or aim to have one a week as editors will get bored of you very quickly and will disregard all of your stories as soon as they see your name, no matter how interesting they are.
Put your company logo at the top of the page. Sounds silly, but this is your corporate identity and it will look more professional! Below this, date when the release is valid from, I tend to just put “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” here as there’s no time like the present! You should also include your contact details at the top. Keep it brief, it’s not like writing a letter, I format mine like this:
Contact: Kerry Wilkinson
You need something catchy here to catch the editor’s eye. Magazine and newspaper (and even some blogs) editors and sub-editors don’t always have the time to read a full press release, so the snappier and more intriguing it is, the more likely it is to be read. Make sure it is relevant though and definitely no more than 15 words.
Describe your title a little more here, think about how you want to pitch the product or idea you are trying to sell. For example, my latest title and sub-header was this:
RESIN JEWELLERY DESIGNER TURNS HER HAND TO KNITTING NEEDLES
Introducing a new line of customisable resin knitting needles for gifts
4) Writing the main text
First simple point- write in the third person. Make sure your opening paragraph sums up your story so that the reader can get a quick idea what is going on. If you think about newspaper articles and how they are written, this will give you good grounding, for example they summarise the story in the first paragraph in case there is a big news story that takes up more page space and stories have to be cut. They simply take off a paragraph at a time from the bottom of the less important story to free up room. Also with newspapers in mind, they tend to report factual information (or at least pretend to depending on the paper you read!) in statement form. Do this too. You can enhance the sentences a little with some select adjectives, but, seriously, limit them.
Include any useful background information about your company, when you set up, who runs it, your mission statement, even a quote from yourself (or other business member) if you dare! The following may or may not be useful to include depending on what your story is about:
And there are many more things such as the above which may be useful to include. Don’t write more than a page though, I hate this phrase but less truly is more here.
Feel free to illustrate your press release with a choice photo or two. I like to put these below the sub header but there’s no hard and fast rule except that you should make sure the image is of a good quality suitable for printing and that the image is clearly illustrated. A picture paints a thousand words as they say, good or bad. And you definitely want to make a good impression!
I’m sure there’s a better word than “Closer” but that’s what I call it. Once you have finished your main text, you need to start a new paragraph, put three #s in to signify the end of the story (some people write “ENDS” instead) and then put your contact details in- yes, again. You can elaborate further on your contact details previously mentioned, for example this is what mine looks like:
If you would like further information on PennyDog, its policies and products, please contact Kerry Wilkinson to arrange an interview on 07********* (after 6pm). Alternatively, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, all enquiries will be dealt with within 24 hours.
Make sure you edit your work. There’s nothing worse than noticing something embarrassing after it has already gone out. Research who you want to send this to (though I imagine you’d have done this before sitting down to write anyway), either by e-mail or post. You can also upload your press releases to online depositories. I use PRlog.com, but there are loads more and you can use more than one.