Here's How To Write A Killer Press Release
I've seen so much bad advice on the net about how to write a press
release. Not only can this waste a ton of time and money, it can also
affect your standing with reporters. If you keep sending out lousy
press releases, if you don't play the game according to their rules,
you'll get a reputation as someone who doesn't know what they're
doing. Reporters will avoid you in droves.
So, here's an outline on how to write a real killer of a press
release. If you'd like to copy this web page and put it on your site,
you are welcome to do so. Just read the details at the end of this
These are rules you should NEVER violate. I don't care
what the other so-called publicity experts say - or those $20 books on
publicity you see in the bookstores and the libraries. These are
rock-solid, never-violate rules.
- press releases should be one page and one page
only. If you can't tell your story in one page, you
don't know what you're talking about. There is never
a good reason to have a press release go on for more
than one page
- your release should be on 8 1/2 x 11" paper only.
No odd sizes. No special shapes. No "original
designs". Outside the United states use the standard size paper for your country (i.e. A4)
- the paper you write your press release on must be
white - no other color, tint, or shade
- you must use plain white paper - no letterhead, no
printed borders, no photographs. Absolutely nothing,
just plain white paper
- never single space the entire body copy. This is
probably the #1 reason press releases are tossed out by
reporters. It also screams to the reporter that you
don't know how to play the game
Now, let me give you some tips on what should go on this one page:
In the upper left corner, you're going to only have two
options. You choose the one that's more appropriate for your
The first option you have is to put the words "For Immediate
Release" in the upper left corner. You may have seen these words
before, but you may not know exactly what purpose they serve.
Actually, these words do two things for you and the reporter. First,
these words tell the reporter that he can use your information
anytime he wishes. He can use it today, tomorrow, next month, next
year - whenever.
"For Immediate Release" does something even more
important, though. When you put these words in the upper left
corner you're letting the reporter know that you know how to play
the publicity game. The more of these clues you can put in your
release, the more confidence the reporter will have in you. Keep in
mind that some reporters get hundreds of press releases every day.
They don't have time to waste on people who don't already know
how to play the publicity game. So, these words are your first clue
to the reporter that you are one of the people who knows how to
play the game.
The only other option you have for the upper left corner is
what I have termed a "time qualifier". A time qualifier tells the
reporter exactly when - and when not - to use your release. Let's say
you're putting together a release about Fathers Day. In the upper left
corner you would put "For Release On Or Before Fathers Day". Not
only are you telling the reporter exactly when to use your release,
you're again giving him a signal that you know how to play the
publicity game. Not many press releases have time qualifiers. So if
you use one the right way, you just scored big points with the
Now let's look at the upper right corner of your release.
Here you have only one option. You're going to put these exact
words in the upper right corner of every release you ever write.
On the first line in the upper right corner you will put: "For
further information contact:".
On the second line in the upper right corner you're going to
put the name and direct phone number of a real, live human being.
You're not going to just put the name of a company, church group,
organization, etc. If you do, you'll be screaming to the reporter that
you probably don't know how to play the game. If you really knew
how to play the game, you'd know to put a person's name, not a
business name. So, on that second line, I would put "Paul Hartunian
Now let's look at the headline. The headline of a press
release has one job and one job only. The only job of a press release
headline is to force the reporter to keep reading. The headline has no
other job. Don't force your press release headline to do anything
more than force the reporter to keep reading. That's a big enough
You don't need any special skills to write a great headline. You should use a formula headline for the headline of your press release. There are hundreds of tried, tested formula headlines.
Let's move on to the body copy of your release. The body
copy of a press release has three parts. In part one, you tell your
whole story in just two or three sentences - and I mean that literally. You don't get more than three sentnces. If you can't tell your
whole story in two or three sentences, you don't know what you're
talking about and once again, you'll be telling the reporters you can't get to the point. I can tell you the entire history of the Revolutionary
War in two sentences.
- We fought the British.
- They lost.
That's the entire history of the Revolutionary War. All
the rest is detail. If I can tell you the entire history of the
Revolutionary War in two sentences, you can tell me your story in
The second section of your press release should contain
quotes from you and your credentials. Always quote yourself.
Never quote anyone else. Why give someone else any attention in
your release? It's your release. If they want some attention, let them
get their own release!
The third section of your press release should contain your
call to action. What do you want to happen as a result of your press
release? That's what should go in section three.
All the time you are writing your release, you must write in
what I call the "Who cares" style of writing. That means that after
every sentence you write, you stop, read the sentence out loud and
ask "Who cares?". If you can't answer that question, it's a lousy
Let me give you a few examples of lousy headlines that don't
pass the "Who cares?" test.
"Janice Jones Promoted To Vice-President Of Sales"
Who cares that Janice Jones was promoted to Vice-President
of sales? No one cares. Not even Janice Jones. She didn't get a
raise. She just got more work!
"Allied Manufacturing Announces 35% Increase In Sales"
Do you care that Allied Manufacturing had a 35% increase in
sales? I doubt it. Who cares?
"Tiffany Kelly Takes Tap Lessons"
Who could possibly care about that? Not even the kid's
parents. They had to shuttle her back and forth to the lessons for
over 4 months.
Get the idea? Be sure every sentence you write in your
release can pass the "Who cares" test.
There are two more pieces of paper that are part of any successful publicity campaign. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people who are trying to get publicity either don't know what they are or how to write them. They are the bio and the q&a.
Never send out a press release without also having a bio and a q&a ready to go. Without them you'll almost certainly be wasting your time trying to get publicity or turning that publicity into dollars in your bank account. After all, isn't that the ultimate reason you want publicity?
I'll post more information on the right
way to get publicity. Next time I'll show you how to get your press
releases into the right hands the fastest, cheapest way possible. I'll
also tell you how to avoid the most common mistakes people make
when they try to get publicity. Incredibly, lots of people have been
taught just the opposite (no wonder they have a hard time getting
If you'd like to
learn how to run your own publicity campaigns locally or nationwide for less
than $10, go to: www.MillionDollarPublicity.com
Do you need story ideas for your press releases? Go to: www.101WaysToGetPublicity.com
Would you like a whole slew of ready-to-go press releases, headlines, opening paragraphs and story ideas specifically written for your business, profession or industry? Go to: www.NichePublicityManuals.com
Publicity has given me - and many other people - everything
I've wanted in life. It's also given me one of the things I value the
most - it's given me my freedom. I want you to have the same
This article is copyright by Paul Hartunian.
You are welcome to copy this page and post it on your web site.
The only requirements are:
1) you must copy the entire article and make no changes whatsoever and
2) you must include the link to my website at www.Hartunian.com
© COPYRIGHT PAUL HARTUNIAN - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Paul Hartunian, Box 43596, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043 - (973)857-4142