HOW TO WRITE A PRESS RELEASE Objective: to correctly write a press release about your business to send to various media outlets A press release is a newsworthy story about your business that you submit to various media outlets. This is a great way to get free promotion for your website. Having the media do a story about you is like a personal endorsement of your website and business. STEP 1: Before You Write o Decide what to write about. Here are some suggestions to get you started: The Launch of your Website Adding New Services & Products Events Fundraisers & Donations Major Awards & Accomplishments Expert Opinions on Current News Stories Contests, Sweepstakes and Giveaways Basically, anything new in your business can be turned into a press release. Just put yourself in the position of a reporter/editor who is trying to deliver a good story. STEP 2: Formatting Your Press Release Your press release should have six components. They are: o Release Instructions: Tells the editor when to release your story For Immediate Release For Release Before [date] For Release After [date] Use one of the latter two if your press release is of a time sensitive nature. If you are using the "For Release Before [date]" ensure you are sensitive to media deadlines. Send your release out well in advance. o Headline: Write an attention-grabbing headline. Make it benefit-oriented (why would it be of interest to people?) and descriptive. Avoid hype and promotional language ~ remember, this is a news story. o Contact Information: Include as much information as possible here. Include your phone number, address, company name, fax number, email and URL. Include the hours you are available at the listed phone number and add an after hours phone number, if applicable. o Summary: Before you get into the body of the release, write a sentence or two to summarize your press release. Make it interesting, you want the recipient to keep reading. o Content: This is the meat of your press release. Think of the target audience as you are writing. You need to write a story that will be of interest to them. Remember: The first paragraph should answer all the important questions - Who, What, Where, When, Why & How? Add some quotations to add credibility and to break up the story. Quotations can be from you about the topic. Testimonials or commentary from your customers are very effective as well. o Signify the End of Your Release: The end of your press release is shown by a few simple characters. Place ### at the end of your release. Other General Formatting Tips Always remember that your press release is not an ad. It is a newsworthy story. Address your release directly to the appropriate reporter or editor. The media receives many press releases each day. A release addressed to a specific person is more likely to get attention than a general submission. Keep your release to about 1 page (or 2 pages maximum). Number your pages 1 of 2, 2 of 2, etc. Use active verbs. Do not use excessive adjectives ~ they sound like hype. Tweak your release when sending to different media outlets. If you are sending to the local paper your content may be slightly different than if you are sending it to a trade magazine. If you are sending your release by mail, use 8 1/2" x 11" paper. If you are sending your release by email, never send an attachment. Copy and paste your release into the body of the email.