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Writing Effective Press Releases

March 24, 2010

1. Understand your intention before you write — what are you trying to accomplish with the release? 

2.  Think first of the POV of the journalist and his/her audience — not your company of institution!

3. Establish an angle — stay up on the news and make your news relevant

4. Stay objective, straight forward and unbiased. Represent, do not “fluff” the news

5. Use clear effective news headline and subhead

6. Use the inverted pyramid style — the news should be front and center; do not bury your lead

7.  Include direct quotations — make them compelling and unique, not repetitious 

8. Abide by the rules of the Associated Press Stylebook, with few exceptions

9. Include relevant contact information, instructions to media and boilerplate language

10.  Edit yourself– did you include all relevant information? Is it articulated well? Tighten your language

11. Fact check — do not get dates, times, or facts wrong. It is dumb and looks terrible.

12.  Proofread, proofread, and proofread again

Things to Avoid

1) Boring introductions — “The company is proud to announce…”

2) Jargon. Academese. Ambiguity.

3) Mistakes and errors

4) Passive voice

5) Exclamation points

If it is already out there do not pitch it. 

Use a two week minimum for events and generally know your outlets deadlines.

Always double check numbers.

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