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Don’t be fooled into thinking press releases are a one-size-fits-all deal. Find the right style for the client and the occasion you’re promoting.
Step 1: Compose straight news story
Compose a straight news press release if your press release is of immediate significance. Without superlatives, emphasize who, what, when, where, why, and how, and use the third-person point of view like a good journalist.
No matter your approach, always date the release with an informational tag in boldface capital letters: “For IMMEDIATE RELEASE.”
Step 2: Tell the story in a headline
Tell the story in a short, punchy headline and avoid cuteness. Editors will call if they’re curious about something you provided. Use a subhead to succinctly detail the heart of the story to save them time.
Step 3: Make it timely
Use catchy and bold prose for events that require timely, urgent attention. Maximize the impact and use a news wire or e-mail, or even an overnight courier, to get it to them the same day as the event.
Step 4: Shape ad copy as news
Generate publicity with executive appointment bulletins by focusing on how this promotion will impact the market in general. Emphasize the market trends related to the press release and transform the piece into a general interest news story.
Include a “boilerplate,” a block of standard prose describing your company, at the bottom of the page.
Step 5: Make the story the point
Take your ego out of any release, even if you’re creating excitement with your prose. No matter the style you choose, journalists aren’t interested in you, your selling technique, or your company — only in a good story. So, give them one!
Did You Know?
Ivy Lee created the first press release in 1906 when he convinced the Pennsylvania Railroad to distribute a public statement when 50 people died in a train wreck.