Factsheet: How to write a press release

A well structured press release in an excellent way of receiving free publicity for very little effort and cost. It is simply the process of writing a newsworthy story about your company, products or services in a reasonably standard format, and then distributing it in the correct way to relevant media contacts.

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This document contains only a brief overview of the basic structure of a release. For a more in-depth walkthrough of the Do's and Dont's, together with a step-by-step guide with examples, refer to Chapter 2.1 within the 'Marketing your Business' book.

Start by ensuring you actually have a story that is newsworthy - nothing annoys editors more than continually getting items that are of little or no interest to their target audience. A news story might relate to:

  • A new product launch
  • New appointment of staff
  • Forthcoming event
  • Customer case study
  • Company performance

The title of your press release is very important and should be short, snappy and to the point. It has to make the editor interested enough to read the first paragraph, but also tell them precisely what the release is about, so there is no room for abiguity here.

The first paragraph must follow the title in summing up the rest of the release's content, but delving a little more into the depth of the story. It needs to contain the 'who, what, where, how and why' to your story.

The main body of the release is where you go into more detail. You need to substantiate the claims you made in the previous paragraphs as to why this story is of interest to the person reading it.

The closing content is to direct the reader as to where they can go to find out more. This might direct them to a sales line, a website, or where a product is available for demonstration/purpose.

Finally, you need to tell editorial staff about your company. Not all of them have photographic memories, so include a short paragraph with an overview of your business.

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