How to Write an Effective Press Release Part 1

Andrea Palmer

Published Tue 07 Oct by Andrea Palmer in Creating Better Content

This article highlights the benefits of writing a press release to send to local publications, spreading the word about your latest company news.

Writing a press release can be a daunting task if you’ve never done one before, but it’s a great skill to hone if you want to get the word out about what’s new in your business.

What is a Press Release?

A press release is a form of public relations communication, designed to be sent to editorial sections of local newspapers, magazines and e-zines.

It is written in the style of a news story, and is generally short and sweet.

While press releases must contain something that is newsworthy, don’t be put off by thinking that your news has to wow and surprise. Here are some examples of events that might be happening in your business that would justify you sending out a press release:

  • The opening of a new business or business premises
  • Winning a prize or award
  • One of your staff members winning a prize or award
  • Success of your trainees or apprentices
  • The launch of a new product or service
  • Appointing a new manager
  • Any involvement you /  your business has with charitable organisations

What a Press Release is Not

Our inhouse copywriter Jeanette says: 'The main thing to remember when you’re writing a press release is that it is not an advertisement. It is a story, and should be written in the style of a story. Any sign that your press release is trying to sell is unlikely to be viewed favourably by an editor looking for genuine stories that will interest their readers.'

How Can Writing a Press Release Benefit Your Business?

  • It’s a great way of getting free publicity
  • It can widen awareness of your business in your local area, and sometimes beyond
  • It can help you build relationships with editors and writers in local publications, which will be good for your business in the future
  • Local publications can be sometimes under-staffed and often welcome interesting and noteworthy items that they can use in their publications, so sending press releases can forge a mutually beneficial relationship

Part 1 has highlighted the many benefits of writing press releases, to help spread the word about your business and its news in your local area. It can help you to forge a professional relationship with newspapers and magazines published in your area, so it's not a one-trick pony.

I'll leave you with one important piece of advice before we go through the practical guidance part of this article next week. It pays to spend a little bit of time ringing round publications in your area and getting the name of the person to whom press releases are usually sent. Everyone responds more positively to being addressed by their name rather than as an anonymous 'Sir' or 'Madam.' This is your chance to show you have spent time and care preparing your press release and that you are approaching them in a professional yet friendly way. Once you have made this initial contact with them, you will have their name ready for another time, too. 

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