As part of our blog series on press releases and PR, this post looks at what a press release should include. In theory, it’s quite simple. It should answer the following questions:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Why?
  • Where?
  • How?

Press release writing is a skill. All of this information needs to be conveyed in as few words as possible while remaining clear, concise and punchy enough to attract a journalist’s attention. This can be extremely challenging!

At the end of a press release, there should be the PR’s contact details and any notes to editors that provide background to the news story. An example of this would be if you had mentioned some research in your release that you want to give the editor more information about. It should also include a boilerplate, which is a one paragraph summary of corporate information about the company.

With your release, you should send out a photo or image, which needs to be 300 dpi as a minimum. This means the size of the image is large enough so that a printed publication could reproduce it without the image becoming blurry. If you are sending a press release out and hoping a TV station will cover it, remember to include some information on what the filming opportunities are. Often, planning desks just need an outline of the news story and available times for spokespeople and filming. Mostly it’s better to handle this separately as TV production tends to be quite fluid depending on what news stories are breaking.

The press release should have a title that grabs the attention of the reader, but this doesn’t need to be a Sun-like headline. The sub-editor or writer at the publication usually handles writing those headlines and captions.

As you are writing your release, try and tailor the benefits to the audience that the publication or media outlet is aimed at. If you can match the news story to the audience and make it applicable to them, you’re much more likely to get it published.

Look out for our next post on how journalists read press releases.