- Contact Information: Provide your name, phone number(s) and email. Forget writing, “For Immediate Distribution” at the top. Why write it? Isn’t it already assumed that it’s for immediate distribution since its a news release?
- Headline: Write a direct headline. Not having a headline that complements the lead paragraph might have it thrown away or deleted without having someone read the first paragraph. You can also have a sub-headline for added detail that will tell more of the story.
- Dateline: Before anything is written, provide the city, state and date of the release. Make sure the text is written in bold lettering. You don’t need to add the state for the largest U.S. cities. An example, St. Louis (March 24, 2010)
- Lead Paragraph: This is the most important paragraph. This is where you provide the facts: Who, What, Where, When and Why. Don’t add more than that and to make it more challenging, try to keep it to 50 words or less. There is nothing magically about 50 words. I just find that anything longer than 50 words is too long.
- Follow-up Paragraphs: After your lead paragraph is written, the subsequent paragraphs provide the details. Use your best judgment with details. Write a couple paragraphs to support the Who, What, Where, When and Why. Hold back on the information that isn’t going to enhance the story. This will be one of your biggest challenges. I find that for most news releases you only need 2-4 paragraphs at most to tell the stories.
- Tagline: This is the last paragraph that gives 1-2 sentence description of your company, provides the company contact information — phone number and Web site. Look at this paragraph as an opportunity to share your elevator speech.
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