The use of the press release has evolved greatly in the 21st Century. The media and bloggers no longer rely on this old staple of news gathering and sharing. Often a release is drafted just to create content for a website (which is perfectly fine) and not to be distributed to the media. In reality, the media really could care less about your press release, most just want a good story to report on. Nevertheless, it is important to develop press release content that follows the basic standard rules communicating news, so at least it will peak someone's interest to read it.
Besides making sure you communicate information that is new and interesting, follow these suggestions to develop a writing style that will give your press releases an edge:
° Focus on the lead. The first paragraph in a press release should be able to stand alone as a news item. The best leads include the five Ws: who, what, when, where and why. Answer all those questions in the first paragraph, and you
have done your job admirably.
° Use the third person. Write your press release as if it is coming from an objective outsider and not from a company insider. So instead of writing “We are announcing X,” write “ABC Co. is pleased to announce …”
° Separate facts from opinions. Anything that is not factual—dates, availability, features, background information and the like—should be presented as a quote attributed to a representative of your organization, perhaps yourself.
Key: A press release should not be the same as advertising copy. If you want to present your organization as the greatest, attribute it. When
the CEO is quoted as saying “This is a revolutionary development,” that is an opinion. If your third-person press release claims “This is revolutionary,” that statement seems like hype.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shakira M. Brown is an award-winning Professional Branding & Business Communication Speaker (https://shakirabrown.com) and former network television broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of SMB Strategic Media LLC (www.pradviser.net), a firm that helps businesses get to the heart of why the customers/clients buy their goods and service helping them clarify their message via strategic brand messaging. Shakira is also the lead marketing consultant for America’s Small Business Development Center at The College of New Jersey. She has won over 13 industry awards in various disciplines for her work. Shakira frequently shares her expertise at national conferences and corporate workshops as well as with the media such as American Express Open, Crain’s Chicago, PR Week, Brand Week, Smart Money and she is also a contributing writer for Black Enterprise.com.