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Press Release Writing

Make sure your story is newsworthy

Before you even attempt to write a press release, think about the things you like to read, watch and listen to in the media. Most of us are generally interested in things we haven't heard before, find surprising or help solve our problems. So before drafting your press release, it's worth asking yourself these questions:

Write killer headlines-

Most journalists get hundreds of emails every day, so it's a good idea to label emails containing press releases with the phrase "press release" or "story idea". A great subject line is also a must.

Get your top line in the first line of your press release-

Getting a journalist to open your email is important, but if your first sentence doesn't grab them, they may not read any further which is why you need to get the "top line" (the most important bit) of your story right at the beginning of your release. Your first line should be a summary of the story (in no more than around 15-20 words) and read like the opening of a news story.

Another trick is to imagine your story is going to be covered on a TV or radio programme. A presenter generally has around 5-6 seconds to introduce each item eg "And coming up next ... why a local cafe owner is giving a free coffee this weekend to anyone born in July." If your story was going to be featured on the radio today, how would the presenter introduce it? Asking yourself that question should give you the top line of your story.

Be concise-

The ideal length of a press release is about an A4 side or about 300 to 400 words (the length of a short news item). That's just three or four short paragraphs and a couple of of quotes. If yours is longer than that, you've probably got unnecessary waffle that doesn't add anything to your story.