How to Write a
Your press release has one job
and one job only. It should
the attention of the editor or producer. That's
Your press release should NEVER
tell your whole story.
provide enough information to be informative, but it should leave out just enough information
to be so tantalizing that the media person will call you for
tell everything in your press release, the editor may publish
the story just as you wrote it. Sounds like good news, doesn't
it? It's not. If you get a one page,
double-spaced press release published as you wrote it, you'll
get a couple of inches in the
happy with a couple of inches.
want full pages. And I've gotten tons of full
page stories because I wrote a press release that didn't tell
the whole story. Once the reporter called for more information,
we'd talk for up to an hour. And I'd wind up with another full page story, complete with my name, address
and phone number.
press release should
one page, one side of the paper, 8 1/2 x11" only. If you
can't say it in one page, you don't know how to say it. Keep
refining your story until you have it down to one page.
Never single-space your release. At the very least, use a space and a half between lines. The
double-spacing the release. Now, let's
dissect a press release and finish off with a completed version.
first section of this template is the
upper left corner.
corner you'll only put one of two phrases. If the story you
are sending to the media does not have any time value, you'll
put the words "For
Immediate Release" in the upper left corner.
information in the release has
time value, though, you'll simply use the words
Release..." followed by the time constraint you have. For example, if the
information in your press release pertains to the new college
school year, you'll write "For
Release During The Start Of The School Year."
This tells the media
people not to use the release during finals week or before
graduation (it'll be too late by then).
upper right corner
will always have the same wording. On the first line
Further Information Contact:...".
On the next line you'll put the name and
direct telephone number of a real person. By that I mean you
can't use the name of an organization, club, company or
anything else similar.
use the name of a real, live person. When you write the phone
number, be sure it's a number that rings
directly at that person's desk. The media people aren't going to search
for you. They want a direct phone number.
comes the headline. The headline is 90% of your release (or any copy for that
matter). Your headline will do almost all of the
work in attracting attention to you. Spend 90% of your time
working on a powerful headline.
give you a few examples of headlines that get the attention of
the media. One of my favorite books is by Dale Carnegie and
it's called, "How To Win Friends & Influence People".
are some more examples:
Little Mistake That Cost An Entrepreneur $50, 000"
- "Who Else Wants Younger Looking Skin In Only 14 Days"
Deadly Myths That Keep Smokers Hooked"
- "Why Some People Achieve 100 - 1000 Times More Success Than
- "Truck Driver Makes $8,000 A Month Selling Real Estate"
- "The Seven Survival Skills Every College Freshman Must Know"
technique to use to write riveting headlines is to
make a bold, boastful claim. Be sure you can back up the claim. But, don't be afraid to
media people will try to disprove what you claim. This is a
goldmine for you. You'll get lots of media
cover just by being bold and boastful.
you write the headline, start on the body copy of the release.
The body copy should have
first part is called the summary. In just the first few lines of the release,
you tell your whole story. Don't give all the details. That
comes later. Just give a concise summary of
what you are going to talk about. If someone read just those
few lines, they'd have a good idea of what your point is going
continue with the school theme of the last headline, "The
Seven Survival Skills Every College Freshman Must Know". Here
is a sample summary:
"This September millions of students will step onto a college
campus for the first time. More will drop out during the first
six weeks of school than the rest of the entire year."
combine those words
with the wording of
the headline. Isn't that enough to tell you what the
story is about? You may not know all the details, but they'll
headline and first section are enough to give you a good idea
of what is going to be talked about. If you can't sum up your
story in three or four sentences, you don't know how to say
what's on your mind. Keep working on it until you can get your
whole story into one short paragraph.
insert quotes that pertain to
end of the quote, you put one or more of
credentials. For example:
"This is a tragedy,"
says Dr. John Doe, a professor at Any Town University.
"Every student admitted to college is smart enough to graduate
. . . but this doesn't matter if they don't know the seven
survival skills and survive those crucial first six weeks!"
Never leave a quote dangling without some
credential to back up the person quoted.
you use quotes you should
quote yourself as
often as possible. And don't just end your quote with "says
Bill Phillips." Be sure to use credentials. By that I mean,
who is Bill Phillips and what does he have to do with this
another good quote would be,
of my indicators show that the stock market will take a major
fall by February,"
Bill Phillips, a nationally recognized authority on the stock
you're not a nationally recognized authority on the stock
market. What are you?
"a highly trained and experienced mechanic?"
"a real estate agent with over 20 years experience and $10
million in sales?"
about "a plumber respected in the community for over two
see how adding credentials adds so much more power to your
quote than writing "says Bill Phillips?"
the third part of your release. In this final section, you're
going to make your "call to action." What do
you want the person reading this release to do?
remind you again that the
purpose of the release is simply to
get the attention
of the editor or producer.
me give you a very clear warning.
try to make a hard sell for your product or service in this
section. This is no place to write,
"Jeff's book is priced at $24.95 and can be charged using a
VISA or MasterCard by calling 978-945-2643." The media people will see right through this. They'll see
you're just trying to get a free ad. Your release will be
tossed in the trash!
what do you want them to do? You want them to call you to do
an interview, right?
continue with our professor.
John Doe, author of 304 Simple Things You Can Do Today To
Make Yourself a Super Student, has helped thousands of
freshman survive the crucial first six weeks of college. He's
been a dormitory director, college orientation administrator
and is now a professor who teaches the Freshman Seminar course
at Any Town University.
John Doe is a very outspoken and totally irreverent professor
who teaches students how to have outrageously successful
college careers. To interview him, call (700) 555-4141."
more credentials by saying that he is the author of "304
Simple Things You Can Do Today To Make Yourself a Super
Student" and that "has helped thousands of freshman
survive the crucial first six weeks of college".
did you notice how he made a pitch for himself? He is telling
the person reading the release that he is very "outspoken" and
"totally irreverent", which leads the reader to think that he
will be a good interview with lots of energy!
good way to end a release is to say,
John Doe is a superb interview who will fill your readers with
information that will be of value to them today and for the
rest of their lives. To schedule an interview with Dr. Doe,
you're doing the interview, you'll have plenty of time to make
your sales pitch. Right now you just want to
The longer the
interview, the more
free coverage you get.
Sample Press Release
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