Ask the PR Pro: How do I write a news release?

Journalism school teaches students to consider the “who, what, where, when, why and how” when writing a news release. This is good to remember, but even more important to a successful news release is knowing the audience.

Too often, company managers write press releases that are completely self-serving. When a client suggests a news release topic, we often ask: who cares about this? If the answer is “management,” then we suggest they reconsider.

When creating a news release, try to paint the picture about why the announcement is important to your audience. For example, instead of writing this self-focused opening:

Company A today announced version 3.1 of its ABC software for financial analysis.

 Try this:

Financial analysts looking for a quicker and easier way to develop and share spreadsheets, will benefit from the new version 3.1 of ABC software from Company A.

Some other tips for good news releases:

  • Keep them short. Most news can be conveyed in under two pages.
  • Put the most important information at the beginning of the release.
  • Use quotes from customers, whenever possible. These are more powerful than company quotes.
  • Link your news release to information on your website.
  • Include contact information for people who are reachable.
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