The thought of writing a press release may seem intimidating, especially if you’ve never written one before. But fear not: Writing a press release is not as difficult as you may think. And if you’ve already tried your hand at blogging, creating a press release will be a piece of cake.
Blog posts and press releases can actually follow a very similar formula. If you can master one, you can master both. Both blogs and press releases feature strong, eye catching headlines and a top-down format that presents the most important, most compelling information first. So if you already know how to write a blog post, let’s look at how you can easily turn that post into a press release.
Is it Newsworthy?
One of the differences between blogs and press releases is that blogs aren’t always intended to announce something new, which is really the primary goal of a press release. When composing a press release, avoid personal opinions and commentary and always be sure that what you are writing about is news.
Blogs give you the opportunity to connect with readers on a more personal level, and in order to do so, they are written in a first person voice. Blog readers respond to the use of “we”, “you”, and “I”, and it gives them the sense that the author is speaking directly to them. Press releases, however, should always be written in the third-person. By swapping out pronouns such as “you” for nouns like “clients”, you will have more of the formality needed for a professional-sounding press release.
Just like a blog post, press releases should be rich in keywords, and headlines are no exception. However, unlike a blog that only has a basic headline, press releases should also inclue a subhead. So be sure to add a subhead beneath your headline that will emphasize exactly why your news is important.
Use Essential Press Release Elements
Press releases require the following elements: Dateline, Lead, Boilerplate, AP Style and Formatting.
Your dateline should always be written as: “CITY NAME (in all caps), state abbreviation, (Month, Day, Year). For example: PITTSBURGH, P.A., (December 1, 2012)
The lead will contain the focus of your release – your primary news. Get straight to the who, what, where, when, why, and how of your story immediately. Make sure your lead contains your keywords.
The boilerplate will end your press release. Here, include a short blurb with important information about your company, including website and phone number.
Finally, press releases must always be written using proper AP (Associated Press) style and formatting. For the most up to date guidelines, check the AP Style Guide.
If you are still feeling unsure about writing your first press release, do a little research and browse other press releases. By familiarizing yourself with the format and style of a press release and by following the guidelines above, you’ll soon be on your way to writing your own.
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