How to Write an Effective Press Release
By Daniel Collazo, PR/Media Director, Spring 2020
Part of working in public relations is writing pitch letters and press releases. These two forms of public relations writing are important to help gain exposure with the media and influencers. We are able to pitch their business and an upcoming event or announcement. It is especially important to write and send press releases because they can help earn media coverage, build a brand’s reputation, to manage a crisis and to generally market a company.
Here are the five best tips when writing a press release:
Think Like A Journalist: Most press releases that are written are going to be send to journalists. Since you’ll send a press release to a journalist, you should think like a journalist. You need to pitch the story to capture the attention of the journalist you’re writing to.
Write to the Audience: Make sure that you’re utilizing the client’s industry to your advantage. For example, you wouldn’t pitch Kimberley Rensburg Photography to a food magazine, you would pitch her business to photography and wedding magazines. Make sure your pitch not only earns the attention of the journalist you’re pitching to, but that it would be relevant to the journalist’s audience.
Follow the Inverted Pyramid: Journalism majors will know all about the inverted pyramid already. But the inverted pyramid is a writing guide that journalist’s follow (this goes back to thinking like a journalist). The most important information is first; answer the 5Ws. Then comes the secondary details, such as quotes and other details. Finally, implement additional information, such as times and dates for an event and contact information for reporters to use.
Include Quotes: Just like writing a story, a press release must include a quote. The quotes should work to the writer’s favor; they should be able to use the quote word-for-word for their own story. Reporters and writers are busy with juggling multiple stories at once, so it helps to make their jobs easy by providing as much relevant information and story structure as a possible.
Write in AP Style: This goes without saying, but make sure you write your press releases and pitches in AP style. All professionals in the communications field use AP style when writing. This goes back to including quotes and making the work easier for reporters; if your press release is written in AP style, then reporters can just run your story without having to do too much additional work.
These tips should be helpful as you tackle PR tasks, especially when writing pitches and press releases. With the media landscape always changing, it is important for PR professionals to stay on top of media trends and understand what works and doesn’t work on their end. Now go write that effective press release for your client(s)!