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Rules for Writing a Press Release

Press Release Writing Rules

A press release is tool that's used specifically for publicity purposes. For example, companies often use press releases to announce the release of a new product or service to the public. A press release is a simple, straightforward statement to the media. It is written as a news article, with no slant to it, either positive or negative. It is also a carefully formatted piece of writing that follows these particular "rules":

The headline is concise and captures the reader's attention

The press release headline (its title) should be a simple, straightforward statement that captures the central point of the article in one brief sentence. It should grab your attention and make you want to read the rest of the article. It should also be written in present tense, and in a kind of shorthand that excludes words like "the" or "a."

The body is written like a news article

The press release is written with no slant to it, with a "just the facts" style.The press release can begin with a statement of the date of release and the city in which it occurs, although that's not always necessary.

  • The lead sentence and first paragraph

The lead sentence should capture the entire article's content in one sentence, answering the questions "who," "what," "where," "why," "when," and sometimes "how."The second and third sentences immediately following the lead sentence expand upon the lead sentence's statement, providing further information. This should be your first paragraph.(In some cases, this may be divided into more than one paragraph, depending on how much information you have to impart.)

  • The second section/paragraph

The second paragraph or section should further describe the event or the achievement.

  • The third paragraph/section

The third paragraph or section is the only time your press release can have any sort of "slant" to it. That's because this paragraph should contain a direct, spoken quote from a key person, such as the CEO of the company launching the product; in that quote, he or she can tout the benefits of the product, service or event to the public -- but again, it should be done as a direct quote from that person and not written into the text.

  • The summary

The final paragraph of the press release should briefly summarize the contents of the press release, and give company contact information. This allows members of the public and the media to contact appropriate representatives directly.

Summarization of key "rules"

The headline: The headline in a press release grabs attention so that both the media and the public are interested in reading further. This makes it much more likely that the event will become newsworthy and capture the public's attention.

The writing style: The writing in a press release is succinct and to the point. Sentences are short and simple.

The objective tone: Aside from the brief direct quote that is included as part of the press release, there's absolutely no overt slant to the article. It is strictly presented in an objective and news-based fashion.


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