The whole purpose of the press release is for a company, organization or individual to be able to share what’s happening in their world with the public. Often, the information is creative, insightful, and useful—people will really want to know what your press release has to say. Unfortunately for all you creative types out there, press releases must follow the standard AP (Associated Press) format. This format makes it easy for journalists to pick out important information, contact the writer, and publish it. This is not the time to use the Curlz font or to forget to include a quote.
However, this doesn’t mean that your press release has to be staid or boring. Here are a few simple ways to give your press release a little punch.
- Headline—Quite possibly the most important piece of your press release. The headline is first thing read by recipients and needs to be short and to the point. Have a gander at some local and national papers—which headlines jumped out at you? Try to emulate their style in your own words. You can also include a subhead if you have more information to include.
- The Quote—Great quotes separate the wheat from the chaff of press releases. Your quote should come from a higher up in the company and share information that wasn’t revealed in the first part of your press release. For example, if your company has developed a new medicine and you’ve given all the details about it already, have your CEO’s quote focus on how lives will improve with this advancement in science.
- The Length—Press releases should be about 500 words or less. Longer is not better for press releases as they most likely won’t get read all the way through. This is the perfect opportunity to practice your creativity and eliminate some verbiage. Consider how you can make your point both simple and eloquent.
As we said above, press releases follow a standard format, which means that certain information should always be included, like the dateline, the contact information, and the boiler plate statement about your company. You can, however, incorporate your company’s letterhead or branding into your press release. This will help set your press release apart.
In addition, you can also incorporate infographics, photographs, and other media as attachments. They might not get used, but some recipients may appreciate the extra detail.
For more information on how to write a great press release, check out our handy guide. If you still have questions, be sure to pick up a copy of the AP Style Guide or just chat with us in the comments. We would love to hear from you!
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of the Beginner’s Guide to Writing Powerful Press Releases here: http://www.ereleases.com/offer/beginnersguide.html