Atwill Media
The News Release: Why It Matters and How To Write It

The News Release: Why It Matters and How To Write It

Effective self-promotion begins, in most instances, with the news release. A news release is not only a good way to promote your business, but also your brand. News releases, probably more commonly known as press releases, are documents that offer news and/or information about your business.

Today, there are two types of news releases: traditional and social media. The traditional type of news release is designed to be a ready-to-print story that a journalist could use, if needed; though more often than not, journalists now use them as story tips and will often rewrite the work. If this happens (or if your release is printed just as you submitted it), your news release is considered successful.

Social media releases differ in that they are only posted online, are often in a multimedia format, and do not go directly to journalists.

Today, news releases are typically sent in one of two ways: as a paper copy, or through email. Statistics show that, typically, journalists prefer to see your news release typed into the message, as opposed to attaching a file to the e-mail. When sending a physical document, always put the news releases on your company’s letterhead.

Nevertheless, how does a small business owner who knows nothing about news releases, write one of his/her own? Well, there are endless amounts of news release templates available on the Internet that can be found easily with limited searching. However, if you don't want to use a template for your release, here are some tips for writing successful news releases:

  • It should have a boldface, newspaper-style headline.
  • Single-space email news releases. Double-space paper news releases.
  • Most news releases are no longer than one page, typically.
  • At the end of your release always include either ### or -30-. This lets the reader know this is the end of the released information.
  • Do not forget to direct your release to your target audience/customer.
  • The opening of news releases are structured so that the reader immediately and concisely gets the who, what, when and where.
  • If the news release is about an event, make sure the media outlet(s) receive the information at least 10 days prior to the event.
  • Avoid using words like today, yesterday and tomorrow in your news releases. These words almost always have to be changed anyway, so it is best to simply not use them.
  • Use quotes, and past-tense verbs when attributing those quotes. For example, use said instead of says.
  • Be precise and concise. Every word printed costs someone money.
  • Always remember the importance of having a local angle.
  • Do not include opinions.

More tips on writing effective news releases, and step-by-step guides can be found at these helpful links:

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Jennifer Thompson

Contributor Jennifer Thompson

Jennifer Thompson is a Paragould, Arkansas native, and graduate of Arkansas State University with a degree in strategic communications.

She has worked in the field of journalism around Northeast Arkansas for the past 15 years as a writer and editor. She is currently a public relations specialist and freelance writer.

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