A news release (or a press release if you prefer) is surprisingly standardized considering how many are sent every day. Do you know how to write a news release for your company? See below for eight components you should be sure to include.
1. For Immediate Release
Common on printed news releases (but not always on those sent by email), â€˜for immediate release’ tells journalists that the news you are sharing can be posted right away.
Unless you have a very good relationship with the journalist you are approaching, all your news releases should be for immediate release. Requesting an embargo or a stay of publication is risky and not always respected. News reporting is competitive and journalists are under no legal obligation to honour your wishes.
2. Headline and sub-headline
Your headline is the most important part of your news release and probably all that the majority of people who see it will read. Unless you’re selling a playful or humourous product, don’t try to get make your headline too clever. Do your best to tell the essence of your story in a few words. Short headlines are best. A subhead can be used to share a little bit more information, though realize that it may not always be displayed with your headline (if your news release is being shared on Twitter for example).
3. Strong opening
The second most important part of your news release is your leading sentence and opening paragraph. When a reporter reads the first paragraph of your news release he or she should know the basics of your news (who, what, where, when, why) and a possible angle for the story. It is important that your first sentence isn’t written in industry jargon or flowery language; don’t let them discount your announcement as an ad before they’ve finished reading it!
4. Location and Date
Your news releases should start with the city the release is being sent from, the province or state (and possibly the country) and the release date. We always bold this section in our news releases, like this: Winnipeg (Manitoba), Month Day, Year –
Most news releases include quotes. These quote are often inserted into news articles to give journalists a quick sound bite if they don’t wish to perform their own interview for the story. You can also include a second quote from a supporter or stakeholder so journalists can give their story more depth and credibility.
A boilerplate is a few sentences that explain who you are and what you do. Your organization’s boilerplate probably won’t need to change often. It’s good practice to review it regularly to see if it needs new facts or updated statistics.
7. -30- or ###
You know the public part of the news release is over when you see -30- or ###. It’s present so the reporter will know that the release is over and there isn’t a second page he or she is missing. If you have a long release, it’s good practice to indicate that it’s continued on another page. Though this practice isn’t as necessary in our electronic world as it was in the past, it’s still commonly seen on hard copies.
Some prefer to share their contact information at the top, and some at the bottom. Wherever you insert it, make sure you give journalists the name of a person they can call to get more information, and then make sure that person is available and prepared so that they are ready for any calls that may come in.
If you’d like to share your company news, we’re happy to help you. From key messages to writing to distribution and pitching we’ll give you support every step of the way.