Many published news and feature stories originate from news releases, the most common form of public relations writing. Also called press releases, news releases announce a client’s news or publicize its products or services.
The media are inundated by dozens of news releases every day. If your release is to be read and considered for coverage,it must offer a newsworthy story, stated clearly and simply, long on information and short on adjectives. A news release typically introduces a new product, service, or idea; reports new findings from a survey; alerts the media to an upcoming event; announcesa staff change; or simply presents new information.
Inverted-Pyramid News Style
To write a good news release, first you must understand what it is about your subject that is important.
Then you must know how to summarize that information at the beginning of the release, quickly back up the lead statement with facts, and save the less important details for last.
This is known as the inverted-pyramid style of news writing. The lead of a news release is all-important and should read
like the lead of a news story. All of the essential information summarizing the whole story—and answering journalism’s five W’s (who, what, when, where, and why)—should be contained in the first paragraph of news-style releases. With the most comprehensive information put in the lead, the reader gets the point of the story even if he or she reads only the first sentence or paragraph. A press release must be a complete story, because some publications, especially trade papers, run a release verbatim. Publications for larger audiences generally have larger staffs and allow their reporters more time for further reporting and rewriting.
The guidelines that follow are the most important ones to keep in mind while researching and writing a news release:
1. Make sure your subject is newsworthy.
2. Make sure the release will advance your client’s objectives.
3. Summarize the entire story in the first paragraph. If the story is a feature, make sure the first paragraph will capture and hold readers’ interest.
4. Write the release in the pyramid news style.
5. Answer all the logical questions the release is likely to raise.
6. Attribute the announcement to an official source.
7. Check all information for accuracy.
8. Include a date and embargo (the date the news may be released), contact, telephone number, e-mail address and headline.
9. Provide copy that is formatted to print double-spaced in a clear typeface with adequate margins.
10. Provide lively photographs in the format preferred by the publication, and include well-written captions that tell the story and provide accurate photo credit and copyright information.
11. Release an announcement only after you have obtained all the necessary approvals. Your chief executive officer
wants no surprises.
12. Never forget that any inaccuracies in your written and verbal interactions with a journalist will damage your reputation and destroy your credibility as a future news source.
the detailed technical skills required will be posted after this post, keep on reading.