Believe it or not, I get this question from time to time. Yes, there is a formula. Like all pieces of writing, a press release is a combination of ‘art and science’ – but here I will attempt to lay out a formula which you can use to get started!
The Headline – The first word matters most. If an editor sees the headline – sometimes also called a ‘slug’ – and it’s the only thing he or she sees – make it count. If you are a small company and you are working with Google – make Google the first word. If there is an interesting project, angle, or reason for the release, consider that as the first word. Because, unless you are an enormous name brand, you may get passed by. I am happy to answer any questions you have on this topic as well – so feel free to email me – firstname.lastname@example.org/
The sub-hed. This is the line, in Italics, that goes under the main Headline. This is where you use your descriptors. This is where you squeeze in additional but vital details about the release.
The first paragraph: Needs to include who, what, when, where, why and how in two or three sentences max. Date, place, come first.
Second paragraph: usually a quote from a client – or important person from your firm, that furthers the story. Every quote should further the story and have a purpose.
Third paragraph: more description, or a quote from your firm if the previous paragraph contains a quote from your client.
Four paragraph: this is where you can provide more detail, or another quote and additional detail.
End: always include About (Your Firm). If you are partnering with another firm or organization, you then include a section on About (Them).
Ending: # # # # #
I like to keep my press releases short – one to two pages, double spaced, max. No one wants to read, so be sure to review it several times, cutting words out each time. When you release over business wire, I like to keep them to 400, 500 or 600 words. If you need assistance or an edit, please contact me and I would be happy to help you out!!