A press release is a short, news-style article, usually commissioned by a company or an organization. Its purpose is to attract positive attention towards a new product/event/company and the release, which sent out to various media outlets, is a simple and effective way to advertise. Promoting via press release is common practice among PR types who will often hire a writer (like you) to compose something succinct on their behalf.
Press releases are fairly easy to write because they're formulaic in structure. That being said, you must also possess basic writing skills. A successful press release contains captivating text that is grammatically correct.
Press Release Template
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Your name
Name of your organization
Phone and fax numbers
Email, address, website
Any other relevant contact information
City, state/province, date - First paragraph - list the who, what, where when and why in a couple of short sentences.
Body – Give more detailed information about the product/company/event. This is where you will elaborate on the items mentioned in the opening paragraph. Bonus points if you include quotes of praise from relevant people and statistics in your favour.
Try to keep your press release under one page. If you need more space write
- more -
at the top of Page 1.
The beginning of Page 2 should have an Abbreviated Headline. Place the remainder of the text after the headline. In the last paragraph of your press release, include your contact information again.
(Optional) You can include a company history/bio after the press release. I don't normally add this section but when I do, I like to format it in italics - this helps separate the section from the rest of the text.
At the end of every press release, add three number signs at the bottom of the page, like this:
This signifies that the press release is finished.
If you're still scratching your head over what to do, read on for a (really bad) example, written by me.
Sample Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Little Bo Peep
123 Furry Sheep Lane
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Toronto, Ontario, October 6, 2009 - Tired of constantly losing her sheep and not knowing where to find them, Little Bo Peep has launched LBP Detectives, a private investigation service aimed at locating lost sheep.
The service was established last month after Little Bo Peep could not locate her flock for five consecutive days and it is proving to be a huge success, having rescued over a thousand sheep since mid-September.
According to statistics, lost sheep are usually located and returned by LBP Detectives within forty-five minutes. This is far more efficient than standard police services, which normally take up to three days to locate lost sheep. The service, which handles an average of 125 sheep/day, has increased productivity among farmers and sheppards by 25% across the board. In addition to providing sheep owners with more time during the day LBP Detectives has also freed up time at the police station, where missing sheep reports have declined by a whopping 72%.
Little Bo Peep is looking to expand her business so that it can help all lost animals. "We're in the midst of a merger with Little Dog Gone, a service that locates lost dogs," Little Bo Peep said. "Our aim is to bring home as many lost animals as possible in a safe and efficient manner - to the betterment of all pet-owners and farm industry workers."
For more information on LBP Detective services or to file a missing sheeps report, contact Little Bo Peep at LBP Detectives at (555) 555-5555.