What Makes a Good News Release?

There is an art to writing an effective news release. Many people do not realize that news releases are not meant to be print copy, but rather an “FYI” for journalists and reporters. That being said, there must be a balance between giving too much information at once and being too brief.  In an effort to help you out the next time you generate a news release for your company, here are some tips to writing an effective news release. This is by no means an all-inclusive list, just some of the important factors to consider.

  1. News Value: The number one golden rule of every single announcement is that it must be newsworthy. So before you begin writing, think about what makes this announcement news.
  2. Timeliness: Reporters receive an overload of new releases every single day, so it is very important that your release be timely. For example, a release on an event that happened two weeks ago will almost certainly be ignored, however, if you time the release to be sent out prior to the event, you gain a better chance of securing coverage. At the same time, consider what is going on at the time of your release. Scheduling an announcement for distribution in the middle of a national disaster or at the same time as another major announcement will certainly hurt your coverage.
  3. AP style: Whenever you send an announcement for your company, always, always, always use AP style. There are some AP style tips on the PRBrandBuilder site http://www.prbrandbuilder.com/files/AP-Style.pdf, and for additional tips you can reference the online style guide or purchase an AP style book.
  4. The 5 W’s and the H: who, what, where, when, why and how. These details are pertinent to any news release and must be addressed, preferably within the first paragraph.
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