If you're going to spend the time to write a news release, make sure it gets read by following these best practices:
Headlines. In this order: brief, summary of what you’re about to read, key words, probably not the company’s name, clever if you can do it. Sometimes we write the release, then add the headline.
90% of releases should use inverted pyramid. Start with key information (5Ws and the H) in the first paragraph. Occasionally, it’s highly effective to use a more narrative or storytelling approach, but don’t do so without serious thought and professional guidance.
New products or technology. Introduce your product or service in the first paragraph. Use your 15-second elevator pitch – don’t get overly formal with your language.
What problem do you solve?
Use a hyperlink to point to a resource (your website or a subpage of your website) that will provide additional information, resources or images. It can shorten the explanation needed. If you quote a statistic or another source, be sure to reference it with a hyperlink to that site. See our blog “News Release Hyperlink How To.”
Keep language simple and fact-based.
No selling. Releases typically don’t have marketing language or superlatives. Be very careful about using qualifiers with price (“only”) and including product specs in the lead.
Scan document for jargon—then hit “delete.” Jargon lets others know you have esoteric knowledge and it reinforces group identity. But when you need to communicate with the outside world, it alienates. Insider language in industries like technology is common. Cut it and explain what you mean in layman’s terms.
No hyperbole or self-congratulatory tone. Give the reporter direct access to real facts. Certain words are so overused that reporters poke fun at those who use them: “first to market,” “innovative technology,” “market disruption,” “launched,” “state of the art” and “revolutionary” are a few.
No “plug and play” quotes--add something to the announcement. Use the 2nd or 3rd paragraph to add color with a quote. Don’t simply restate the lead or second graph or say anything that starts with “We are excited to offer….” You’re the CEO and you are unique because you know lots of things the rest of us don’t. Don’t quote multiple people within the company to be “fair” and spread the recognition among the founders. Pick one person. Exceptions: future of the company from CEO and critical new feature from lead programmer. Try and be human and offer something other than facts that can be gleaned from the rest of the release or your website.
Formatting, grammar and other very boring aspects. If a release has grammatical, AP style, spelling or factual errors, a reporter has to correct your mistakes and what you’ve sent becomes less credible.
Keep it Short. No more than 2 pages, but try for less.
Keep credentials at a minimum. Don’t include a string of credentials and degrees behind your name and especially not in the first or second paragraphs (if at all). You can hyperlink to your website page where bios live.