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Elements of An Effective News Release

Chances are you’ve heard or even uttered the words yourself, ‘We should write a news release about (add the appropriate topic here)’ when your company has some breaking news to share with the world. 

An effective news release tells a story and should be written like one. You want to get your audience interested in your story without going outside the boundaries of style. This means your release states the facts and avoids superlatives that read like an advertisement for your company. It also goes without saying that the announcement needs to be both newsworthy and timely. If it happened a week ago, it’s no longer news.

While there are some variations in organizing a news release, all tend to follow a general format that includes the following:

  1. Contact Information – All releases should include contact information (name, phone, email) so members of the media can connect with you to set up interviews or ask questions.
  2. Dateline – This tells readers when and where the news release originated. Check AP style as not all follow the city, state format.
  3. Headline – A very important but often overlooked element, the headline should be viewed as the title of a book. It tells readers what the announcement is about and grabs the audience’s attention. NOTE: Subheads are optional and should only be included if they provide relevant information.
  4. Body Copy – The intro paragraph is where you tell the story in a few concise sentences. Think of it as the ‘elevator speech’ for the release. The paragraphs that follow reinforce the intro paragraph and allow you to provide more details. This is also the place to include a quote from an executive or another thought leader important to the story.
  5. Boilerplate – This is the section that usually starts with ‘About’ and is followed by the company name. It typically summarizes the company’s vision, history and value proposition.
  6. Close – Sadly, all things must come to an end and a news release always ends with the traditional close symbol—”###”—centered at the bottom of the page.

Finally, in today’s world of short attention spans, practice brevity. The release should serve as a teaser to raise interest in your company, so keeping it in the range of 600-800 words will keep your audience interested, which is the ultimate goal, right?