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How to be a Press Release-writing Pro in 2020

These are some of my best tips when writing press releases. Read through for an example press release!

The news industry is always evolving.

In my lifetime, I have seen the public’s switch from traditional media to social and online media becoming the preferred style of news distribution. Most people know that newspaper sales have been on a steep decline since the development of online media sources, but how has this changed the job for public relations professionals?

Well, it has thankfully made our job more effective and allows for news to be spread quickly to a wider audience.

This informational PowerPoint from PRWeb.com discusses the differences between the old, traditional news releases to the online news releases we more commonly use today. Now that the majority of people get their news from tech devices, new news is constantly available with nothing more than the push of a refresh button.

With traditional news releases, they were only sent to traditional media sources such as newsrooms who would then decide if the press release was worth reporting on. Things could not be any more different now, with resources such as PRWeb.com and PR Newswire that allow companies, non-profits, and other agencies to spread their news to everyone, distributing to over 250,000 RSS feeds.

Also, and perhaps the best part about online press releases is the ability to link multimedia to the text. People are visual creatures, so adding a link to a company video, or an audio piece of an interview will make your news much more shareable.

A quote from the PRWeb.com presentation sums it up the best:

“Press releases are no longer used just to reach the media, but to deliver news to the world.”

PRWeb

Now that we know online news releases are the way to go, we have to learn how to write a good one! As a junior in college specifically studying public relations, I am no stranger to drafting up a press release, but I am always willing to learn more helpful tricks to better my craft.

For this weeks reading, I studied up on how to create an effective news release from this INC.com article.

Here are just a few tips and a FAKE example press release of mine to get you on the right track to becoming a PR pro!

  • Grammar
    • I should not even have to explain this one, guys! It’s unprofessional to publish and share things with poor grammar, and anyone reading your press release will not take the content seriously.
    • Even the pro’s use spellcheck! A great tip is to download Grammarly to your browser (it’s free!).
  • Spark Curiosity
    • News release headlines are like a first impression!
    • They should be eye-catching and attention-grabbing.
    • Within the headline and subheadline, there should be keywords that are SEO friendly and pertain to your announcement.
  • Clear and Concise Writing
    • Get to the point, quickly!
    • My first PR professor once told my class that when writing a news release, if you cannot successfully convey your main message within the first paragraph, you’re doing your job wrong.
    • Many people won’t even read past the lead if they’re not interested, so make sure the most important information is put at the top – Inverted Pyramid style.
  • Quotes
    • Quotations are essential to a good press release and should be from someone very knowledgable about the announcement, an insider who can add further context.
    • No “fluff” quotes
      • Use quotes that will actually add something to the story.
      • Don’t repeat what you have already written about in a quote. Take what is interesting.
This is a FAKE press release writing sample I wrote for Intergrated Communication last semester.

By Kassidy Kelly

PR student, new yorker, self-proclaimed shopaholic and apparently I'm a blogger now, too.
CJOR 3422 @ Seton Hall University

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