Simple easy instructions for writing a Press Release.
A press release is a short, to the point, communication about something that has taken place in your business or is about to take place in your business. A new branch, moving to a new location, adding new services are all things that could be promoted with a press release.
Before you write your press release, answer this question, “is this news?”. If so, “what is the news?”.
Here is an example press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: John Smith
January 01, 2012 (209) 555-5555 (office)
(209) 555-5555 (cell)
XYZ Company, offering such and such opens new branch in Smalltown
SMALLTOWN – XYZ Company is pleased to announce that the Smalltown branch is now open offering the customers of the Smalltown area such and such and such and such.
“We are thrilled to be new part the Smalltown community and we look forward to serving the needs of customers in the area” says John Smith, President and CEO of XYZ Company. “We are excited about the wonderful reception that we have had so far and look forward to offering our such and such etc etc.”
XYZ Company is a provider of such and such and has locations here and here and here. The company is headquartered in Bigtown. XYZ Company provides the following wonderful services and products. Etc etc etc.
General Manager of the Smalltown store, Sue Johnson says, “The Smalltown store is going to be a great place to find such and such and this and that. We are focused on customer service and are looking forward to serving the local community.”
The new branch for XYZ Company is located at #1 Main Street, Smalltown. The store hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number is 209-555-5555 and the website is www.xyzcompany.com. You can also follow us on Facebook.
Here are the keys points that you want to include in your press release.
Begin with the name of your company. This should be top left.
Next is “For Immediate Release” or name the date that the press release is intended for.
Next to that is the contact person for the press release. If the publication has questions, who should they call?
The headline is very important. Keep it to the point. Try to entice readers with some key words that will make them want to read your copy.
The body of the press release usually starts with the town and continues with the rest of the information.
The first paragraph needs to have all the pertinent information in a nutshell. Explain in 35-50 words what the “news” is.
Have a couple of good quotes. The press release should be “factual”, the quotes can contain “opinion”. The address is a fact, whether or not the products are fantastic is an opinion. Put the quote in quotations and identify the person being quoted. Include the person’s first and last name as well as their title.
Give some background on the source of the news. If the news is a new staff member, give their credentials. If the news is a new location, give some background on the company. If the news is a new service or product being offered, go in to some detail about it.
Take a few words to expand on the company in general and perhaps include another quote.
Close with the location, hours of operation and contact information.
A good goal for a simple press release is around 200 words. Don’t be surprised if your press release gets edited by the publication. This usually happens to fit your news in to the space available.
It’s a good idea to include a photo if you can. You never know when a publication is looking to fill some space and may use your photo. If you do include a photo, name the photo and identify any people in the photo with first and last names.
A good press release can help you get the word out about your business. After you have constructed it, send it out to all the publications, television stations and radio stations in the area.
Timing. Get your press release out ahead of the event you are promoting. Many publications have deadlines well ahead of the actual printing of their publication.
Do your homework. Call each publication before you send your press release and make sure that you have the correct contact person.
Use simple text options, no colors and avoid bold and italics. Send it in an easy to open format, PDF files are the best option.
Don’t over sell. Avoid making your press release read like an advertisement. There is a place for advertising and selling your product, and that would be a paid ad. A press release is more factual. If you want to include some fluffy benefits or selling points, make sure that they are included as quotes, not in the body of the text.
Follow up and make sure that your press release was received. The publication may or may not print it. Don’t take it personally if they don’t. They may not have space or it may not be perceived as newsworthy. Just keep trying and don’t be pushy. The friendly call and reminder will get you much farther than an insistent pushy call. The publication can print what ever they choose. It’s your job to get them to choose you!