Tips on writing a press release
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Press release is an information message that illuminates this or that occasion. As a rule, this message is written for journalists or editors of periodicals and is not of an advertising nature. Very often the customer asks to write an advertising press release. If you proceed from the definition, then this is nonsense.
Who is the press release written for?
Historically, press releases had to be written for journalists of print media – newspapers and magazines. This was especially true about twenty years ago, when the press literally ruled the world. Now the influence of the print media has significantly decreased, and if earlier PR managers did everything to attract the journalists with the press release then with the development of information technology and total globalization, it became useless. Now press releases are written directly for the target audience and are a powerful tool when in the right hands.
Press release of the event
The press release of the event is intended to briefly and intelligibly explain to journalists why they need to attend the event. The answer to the question: “Why should I come there?” Also, the release contains information about the event, time, location, route, and contacts of the PR-specialist, or other responsible person.
Press release of the company, organization, firm
This type of press release should avoid advertising language. Do not need to make release on the official form. Still, nobody will print your requisites. Press release is written only if there is a serious information occasion. The information occasion is not the anniversary of the company, the birthday of the head or the release of a new product, unless the company is a city-forming or large-scale within the country.
Press release of the exhibition
This press release must answer the questions: “How is your exhibition different from previous ones that were held on this topic?” and “What will be on this exhibition for the first time?” The information on the location of the company stands, and the scheme of travel must be provided.
Press release of the school
This release must contain information about the event, the achievements of the school, and its students, as well as about the event, which was the reason for the release.
Press release of the bank
The press release of the bank is written when there is a serious information occasion. This can be when one bank unites with another, financial difficulties or major opportunities, a change of government and owners, opening in the regions.
Press release of the conference
It always implies the presence of a serious information reason for holding a press conference. It should contain the name, place, time, and contact information for accreditation. It is required to provide a detailed description of the problem, which will be discussed and the conference schedule. And also, the working conditions of the press at the conference.
Press release of a band
It is connected with an information occasion: a concert, a presentation of a video, a change of the composition – provided that the group already has a media weight. In any case, information on the history of creation and the most significant works will be superfluous.
Press release of the contest
It contains information about the organizers, organizational committee, members of the jury, terms and conditions of the current situation. As a rule, it will be published only by those media, which are information partners of the contest.
Press release of the festival
It contains information about the performers, guests of honor, broadcasts on TV, as well as detailed directions. Information about the show, if planned.
Structure of the press release
- The catchy title
- The lead
- The body of the press release
This is the structure of the news. Based on a similar principle, a press release of the company is being built. When you are preparing the text, take care of enough information, including the background.
It’s a good idea to put a press release on one page. This is a normal size but not one or two sentences. After having written the text, please look at it again and think about what questions a journalist may have. Then, include answers in the press release and repeat the procedure.
The catchy title
One of the most important parts of the press release is the title. It helps the journalists (initially) and the target audience (nowadays) determine whether it is worth paying attention to the main text. A good title is more than 90% of the success of a press release. One of the grossest mistakes of all beginning copywriters is ignoring the title or making it trivial and boring.
The lead is the first paragraph. It is the information basis of the whole text when writing a press release. It should be noted right away that the press release is written according to the principle of the inverted pyramid. The lead contains all the basic information, which is subsequently disclosed in the main text.
The body of the press release
The body of the press release is the logical continuation of the lead and reveals the details of the information occasion, to which the press release is dedicated. As a rule, the body contains facts, quotes, and descriptions.
For example, if a press release is devoted to the release of a new line of industrial robots, the body will inevitably describe the advantages of the new line in advance to analogues, the benefits to consumers, and the prospects that this line opens up in the industry.
Features of modern press releases
When writing a press release for the media, you can give information as you like (dryly, concisely, officially, etc.), relying on the fact that journalists themselves will make the texts for their publications interesting and readable. However, now that press releases are written for consumers, this approach has shown very low efficiency. This is explained simply: every day on the internet there is a lot of information. People simply do not have time for another boring stuff.
The secret of writing a great press release
In fact, there is no special secret for a great press release. Simply, in order for the press release to have the right effect, it is necessary to write it not according to the rules and canons of the classical approach of twenty years ago but as a selling text that emphasizes the problem and offers its solution to the target audience.
The main difference is only that the structure may not fully correspond to the AIDA model, but, nevertheless, attract the attention of the reader and make him want to read it. The main rule in this case is preserved, a catchy title is 90% success.
Language and style of the text
Practically it is always possible to distinguish between a press release of a commercial company and a state organization. The former is written in a live language, the latter is dry and clerical. It is sometimes very difficult to read ornate official sentences. It is even more difficult to write interesting text on the basis of this information.
- Take the journalist’s work with understanding. Write press releases in a simple, understandable, and lively language, without complex phrases and turns.
- You can check the text for euphony with the usual text editor Word. Click on the spelling checker (menu “Tools” -> “Spelling” or press F7). After the end of the check, the program will show a small window, in which the number of characters in the text, paragraphs, and sentences will be written. But most importantly, at the bottom of the window, you will see four characteristics: the level of education, ease of reading, the number of complex phrases, and euphony. The better these parameters, the better the text turned out.
Really effective headlines affect the psychosomatic system of a person through so-called psycho-hooks. In other words, such headlines cause a psychological reaction in a man, which is expressed in increasing the activity of the brain and causing the emotions the author wanted to invoke. If the headline of a person does not cling you (does not contain psychic hooks), then changes in the state of the reader do not occur and, as a result, the effect is reduced to zero. So, when writing a press release, it’s very important to create an interesting headline.
Find something really claiming the news. Release without news is spam.
- Social and political publications
- News portals
- Television, etc.
Find speakers on the topic of your release, authorized to give comments and answers to additional press questions.
Register a single address for the distribution of press releases, this will ensure the possibility of sending materials on the principle of one window and not litter your work mail.
Make a recognizable template for a press release and be sure to include your current contact information.
Writing the text
The shorter the release, the more likely it is to be read.
Write specifically. The title and lead should reflect the essence of your message. The most important sentences should be placed first. You need to spend as much time on them as on the rest of the release. They should make the busy cynic read the entire text.
Write interestingly. Tell the story. People do not retell each other’s press releases during lunch. They tell stories.
Facts and figures are important. Use the arguments. Any story without figures and facts is nothing.
Quotes should be short relevant. Quotes of top managers in a whole paragraph are evil. Quotation from several words, really relevant to the topic – that’s what the journalist is waiting for.
Edit and proofread
After writing a press release, give it some time to lie aside. Read it the next day or let another person read it.
Remove everything that raises questions and requires additional explanations.
Use the spelling checker. Misprints are often found.
Remove words, without which your text doesn’t lose sense. For example, as a result of, in this way, nevertheless, etc.
Correct difficult-to-read sentences with participial turns. Check the texture and numbers. Often confusion arises in the figures of growth, increment, and percentage points.
Make a short version of the release for the body of the letter. Most releases are distributed in MS Word or pdf. Many journalists do not open the files. Make a short brief of the release for insertion into the body of the letter. This will increase the likelihood of reading.
The subject of the letter is also important, as is the title and the lead of the release. Formulate the topic as short as possible. Otherwise, the release can automatically get into spam because mail filters restrict the passage of long headers.
A letter with a personal appeal in the body of the letter increases the chance of reading the release.
Do not check the important message box. This can be important to you. The journalists receive hundreds of releases. For them, they are not so important.
Do not call 10 minutes after sending the release with questions “When should you wait for the publication?” The only real reason for the call is if you can add something of value or offer an exclusive interview.
Saying thank you
Say thank you. If someone used your release, thank them. The reaction to such a call or letter will be more positive than the question “Did you receive our magic press release?”
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