How to Create Press Releases that the Media Will Love

Press releases are one of the very best ways to publicize your business that cost you nothing (if you write them yourself) but your time. A press release is basically written as if you are a reporter writing about you. Write from the perspective of a reporter doing an interview.
You want to explain the "5 W's":
- Who
- What
- Where
- When
- Why

Press Release Dos and Don'ts
• Use a press release to announce a new business opening, a business expansion, new owners, new location, participation in a special out of town trade show, winning an award, sponsoring a charity event, an owner or employee achieving excellence in work or outside interest (e.g. sports) or anything else makes your company (or an individual within the company) stand out.
• Send them frequently ­ once a month is great (you'll begin to be known as an expert in your field, and the media will begin to call YOU when a story comes up that is relevant to your field and they want a comment).
• Include quotes from you or others (to add interest and credibility) within the press release.
• Have someone proof read them for you ­ make sure the grammar is good and there are no spelling mistakes.
• Keep them to one page if at all possible.
• Keep them double spaced on white paper with black ink. Most newspapers prefer a Word document so they can edit as needed.
• Provide contact information so that a reporter can contact you if they have more questions
• Be sure to identify when the press release can be printed (if you wish it to be held by the media source for a week tell them!)
• Use a release to sell your product, announce a sale or advertise.
• Use coloured paper or ink or fancy "stationery" in your email program.
• Hand write or print with a poor quality printer that is fuzzy or unclear.
• Forget to give your contact information.
• Make your release longer than one to two pages at most.
• Try to write a release if your writing skills are poor ­ hire someone to write it for you.
• Call the media after you've sent the release to ask when it will run (they are too busy ­ and they will consider you a pest).

Who to Send the Release To:
If the event you are writing about affects only your local area send it to the local media, but if it is something bigger (i.e.. your business has been nominated for a national award) send the release to the media in the closest large major city, as well as your local media. You may also send it to radio stations, television stations and specialty magazines. (e.g. business, lifestyle, etc ­ depending on what your press release is about).
There are also many online free press release distribution sites you can use. Here are a few:
PR Log
PR Web
1-888-Press Release
Express Press Release
8 ½ x 11 white paper, double spaced if possible, two pages at most. Basically use your standard Word doc set up with the standard margin setting.
TOP LEFT CORNER you want to let the news media know WHEN they can print the Release.
• You can put "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE" and this means they can print it anytime after they receive it.
• You could put a specific date if you want to hold the press release until a certain day. In that case you would put "FOR RELEASE ON JUNE 10, 2013"
TITLE - you need to create a title that will "grab" readers' attention
FIRST PARAGRAPH Start with the City and Date. The first paragraph introduces the person and/or situation to us and helps us see a "picture" of the situation. Give three to four details about the situation, possibly even a quote from someone involved.
SECOND PARAGRAPH provides more depth and details, and usually a quote. This paragraph helps build a word picture and allows the reader to be drawn into the story you are creating.
THIRD PARAGRAPH similar to paragraph two ­ more details and quotes. Pretend you don't know anything about the business. Think of ways to ask questions that will answer those questions.
FOURTH &/OR FIFTH PARAGRAPH This paragraph (or two) should pull the story together. Refer back to what was started in paragraph one so you can "tie up loose ends" and create a conclusion.
~ end ~
In format above, the word "end" shows the END of the story you are telling.
BOTTOM LEFT put contact information:
For further information:
Wendy McClelland
Phone 778-241-2256
You should send releases as a Word attachment (unless a media source has requested otherwise) with a short covering email.

For more information on writing press releases, visit the IDRA PR resources page.

By Wendy McClelland
Image by Raphotography
Wendy McClelland is the owner of Simply Organic Marketing and has been an online marketing professional for nearly 20 years. She is the first Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach in British Columbia, Canada. She has spoken to over 10,000 people throughout the US and Canada about marketing, business innovation and internet business.
Contact Wendy at You can download Wendy's latest e-book "52 Tips to Grow Your Business" for FREE at by using the coupon code GQ59J


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