You can't just sit down and toss thoughts into your word processor and call it a press release.
Too bad, huh?
You need to have the right structure if you want your press release to see the inside of a printed publication. I learned how to write press releases while I served as a combat journalist in Iraq - and everything I learned there has helped me write effective civilian press releases.
What's the right press release structure?
First, make sure you have a press release format so you know what you're getting into.
Your first sentence needs to address what's happening and when. Sentence #2 can provide a little background detail on how or why, which you'll go into while writing the second paragraph.
Give readers the background on the event you addressed in your first sentence - this is happening because...
Provide supporting facts - this place has done this before and was successful, or three years ago something similar happened to another organization...
The paragraphs can go on and on, but the general consensus is to keep press releases between 400 and 600 words.
Restate the facts. End with a quote if you think it's appropriate.
Press Release Tips
Rely on quotes and weave your story around them. If you can get quotes from at least three independent sources, you're on the right track.
Leave out fluffy descriptions - write it like you're a journalist covering a news story (because you actually are).
Contact editors before you fire off a press release to make sure they're open to receiving it.
Do you have any tips on press release structure? What works for you (or what doesn't)?
"Newspaper 1" image courtesy of Lusi at RGBStock.com
© Angie Papple Johnston, 2010; if you are reading this anywhere but on FreeFreelanceWritingTips.Blogspot.com or Gather, it's stolen.