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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Press Release Outline

I started this blog over two years ago to improve my writing skills. While my writing has improved, one thing I have still not conquered is the ability to write a press release. So today, when I realized I was too tired to stay awake through a workshop on financial projections, I decided I'd mosey (hey I'm in Texas, I can mosey) on over to the "PR in a Box" workshop.

From the workshop and Michael Runzier of Intuit here are the 10 steps to writing a quality press release.

  1. Think Like a Reporter - reporters want to write stories that will interest their readers and keep the editor off their back. It's not a reporters job to help you succeed. So look for elements that will capture reporters and readers' interest.
  2. Do Their Homework - Make a reporter's job as easy as possible. Provide the facts, figures and experts they'll need to make a strong story.
  3. Be Timely - Reporters are often on deadline. If you news is outdated when it gets to an editor, it's destined for the trash bin.
  4. Think Global, Write Local - Taking a national story applying a local perspective is a great way of garnering coverage in your community.
  5. Put the Headline First - Summarize your story in a concise headline that compels an editor to read further.
  6. Put the Sub-head Second - This is your opportunity to provide a little more detail.
  7. Put the Opening Sentence and Lead Paragraph Third - Make them short. The first couple of sentences should summarize the news in your press release.
  8. Write Your Story as an Inverted Pyramid Fourth - Put the important stuff at the top of the story, such as significant facts. Don't' try to be suspenseful and save the vital information for last.
  9. Put the Rest of the Story Fifth - This should expand and explain the statements made in your headline and lead paragraph. Use quotes or data here to add credibility.
  10. Put the Boilerplate Last - This is standard language at the bottom of your press release. One to two sentences that describe your organization and its information such as web site, etc.