Want to write a press release, but don’t know how long it should be?
Ideally, a press release should be 300-500 words. 400 words is a good target.
Why so short? Because a press release should fit on one page when printed out. If it’s longer than that, journalists tend to get a bad first impression that causes them to reject it from further consideration.
I know that most press releases are never printed out anymore. They’re delivered online or through email. So that artificial restraint should no longer exist, right?
Nope. More than a century of tradition dictates the format of a press release. Journalists expect certain types of information to be in a press release, in a certain order. When you deviate from that, no matter how creative you are, it usually results in less pickup of your story by the media.
So, keep your press release short – 300-500 words is perfect.
A press release is an essential tool for any business. Yet few press releases catch the attention of journalists. It’s not enough to send your press release to everyone on your contact list. You need to write a strong release. One important skill you need to know is writing a good length of a press release.
But even experienced writers don’t know what the optimal press release length is. Here is a guide to help you figure that out.
The purpose of a press release is to make the media aware of your news. You want them to turn your news into a story, spreading the word to the public.
Press releases are effective because you can control the message. You can provide your perspective in your own words.
But very few press releases receive broad attention. Most journalists take only a few seconds to skim through a release. They don’t read every word, and they throw out anything that doesn’t interest them.
Press releases should be well-written. You should look out for spelling and grammar, and you should provide relevant facts.
But you don’t have to worry about every single word. You should write for a broad effect to catch the journalist’s attention.
Press releases should be no longer than one page. That means that your press release should be roughly 400 words long (300-500 words).
The first paragraph outlines your announcement. It should touch upon each of the 5 w’s, giving clear detail as to why your news is important. Lead with the big news and lure the reader in for more information.
The second paragraph is where you back your claims. You can present evidence, quotes, and other materials. Many journalists like to read press releases with infographics or videos, so include them here.
If you need a little more information, you can add another paragraph with that in it. Otherwise, you can wrap the press release with a call-to-action. You want to provide information that encourages your readers to contact your company.
You then add your boilerplate. This is the section that tells the readers about your company. You should give contact information and a reference to talk to.
If you stick to this format, you should be able to hit 400 words with no issue. Your boilerplate contributes to that word count as well.
If you have essential things that require more than one page to write about, you should release a different document. You can write a blog post or give a speech. You can also divide the material into two releases and release both.
But the press release should provide only the most important details. When you are cutting a document down, cut out all of the fluff.
Prioritize the length of your introduction paragraph. Try to keep it under three sentences long. Get right into the major news, and leave background material out of it.
Writers can include necessary information in unnecessarily long sentences. Read your press release aloud for its diction and structure.
If there’s a place where you can write a shorter sentence, write it. Remove nearly all adverbs and adjectives. Use stronger nouns and verbs instead.
Many writers include sentences in the passive voice, which drags out your word count. Write in the active voice. The active voice also catches the reader’s eye with stronger verbs.
You don’t have to tell your whole story in your press release. The goal is to get your reader’s attention, then have them contact you for information.
If you’re short on details, try to develop empathy with your reader. Include details that pertain to their interests. Include a video and describe the video in a couple of sentences.
Do some of your own research within your company. Conduct an interview with important people, and include quotes that will grab the reader’s attention.
If you’re struggling to add material, read through your press release. If you notice some vague facts, beef them up.
Make sure you have transitions amongst sentences. You may have to add a little material to assist in this. Don’t repeat phrases, but make sure that each paragraph logically leads into the next one.
Your headline and subtitle count toward your word count. You want a headline that is a maximum of ten words long. You should mention your company and bait your reader.
Your subtitle is a maximum of twenty words long. You should explain the important elements of your headline. You don’t want to explain everything, but the reader should understand what the press release is about.
It is better to write a short press release than a long one. Many readers skim a document and throw it out if they think it’s too long. A short press release gets your reader’s attention, which may be enough that they read through it.
You’re not pressed for money. The press release is a cost-effective way to get your information out.
But you are pressed for space. The ideal press release length is 400 words long. Focus on the 5 w’s, and adjust your information accordingly.
If your press release is too long, cut down on your introduction paragraph. Remove any unnecessary information. Rewrite sentences in the active voice and delete adverbs.
If your press release is too short, beef up vague facts. Add smooth transitions between paragraphs. Write your headline and subtitle with some necessary information.
Go to the experts on the press release. eReleases has decades of experience in helping businesses get press attention. Contact us today, or call us at 800-710-5535.
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