Need Publicity? Write a Press Release

Who Should Be Using Press Releases?

The answer is anyone. Whether your company is just yourself or 1,000 people strong, a press release is an effective and widely-recognised way of announcing something.

Whether you are launching your company, a service you offer, a promotion or a change, a press release is a useful tool for getting the word out to as many people as possible in a structured, controllable way.

Who Reads a Press Release?

Typically, press releases are (somewhat obviously) distributed to the press! Magazine editors, radio & TV stations. However, depending on what it is you do – a press release could go a little further.

For example, if you are a freelancer who is announcing their services, you could send a press release to editors, journalists, newspapers etc to give them a formal and recognised way to contact you and put yourself on their radar.

Freelancers can also use press releases to announce a story they have come across – almost like a pitch – and why it is of interest to who you are sending it to.

A press release is also a great way of alerting your current clients to your new service or announcement.

How to Write a Press Release

Contact Details

First things first – how can you or your company be contacted? All contact details; email address, snail mail address, telephone numbers etc should all be placed – in bold preferably – at the top left of the page, easily accessible and immediately visible.


A press release should always have a snappy, interesting headline. Something that tells the recipient that they WILL be interested in the contents of the release. Make sure it summarises exactly what the press release is about, in a creative and eye-catching way.

Paragraphs…or lack thereof.

As this is a press release, there is no need for paragraph indentation. The release should be a block of text. It may seem a little counter-intuitive and paragraphs can be used, of course, just be sure not to indent as it makes the release look messy. All grammar, punctuation and spelling should be perfect.

Where has the Release Come From?

Put where the press release is being sent from at the top of the release itself, company name, date and time – eg;  Freelancing4U Head Offices LONDON, 4th May 2010 10:30 BST.

Who, What, Where, When.

Who are you/your company? What are you announcing? Why is it of interest? When will it be available? Don’t be coy or subtle in a press release. All important information should go at the very beginning of the release – don’t “save the best till last”; if you have a great offer, promotion or service, say so as soon as possible.

Quotes or Recommendations

Be careful with putting direct quotes into a press release. If you are going to include a quote, make sure it is verbatim and has been run past the relevant person (the person who said it, or the company that represents them), and that they are from a credible source. There is no point in quoting someone who is unknown to the recipients, for example.

Quotes are not a vital part of a press release, but if you have a usable quote it is an appropriate addition and can add credibility to what it is you are announcing.

Don’t Over-Hype

A press release is a means of promoting and/or announcing a service. Don’t over-hype, however. As it comes directly from your own company, it should be objective and factual. If you have a great quote, as mentioned above, that has something positive to say about what you are announcing then great, but don’t fall into the trap of announcing a “brilliant” or “must-have” service. You would say that, it’s your livelihood! Keep it simple and formal.

Ending the Release

A press release is traditionally ended with “###” (without the quotations), centred a line below the end of the text. It is a recognised and simple way to tie up your press release, without confusion.

Lastly, send your press release as a PDF or as part of the email itself. Don’t send it as an attachment.

Press releases are a great tool for any business and making sure they are well written, concise and informative is the best way to ensure that you and/or your company are presented professionally.

2 Comments on "Need Publicity? Write a Press Release"

  1. Japh says:

    Great article, thanks Nikki. This is definitely something a lot of freelancers and smaller web design / development businesses overlook.

    Thanks for the tips! :)

  2. Nick Shin says:

    Disclosure: I am the SEM & Social Media Specialist @Marketwire (news release distribution).

    One of the benefits of sending a press release is your ability to target your audience (both as in industry or demographically). In addition, you have the SEO benefits that will get your press release read for the long term. Whether you represent a Fortune 500 or you are a freelancer, you want to be found on search engines while targeting those whom you want reading your release.

    In addition to the “how-to” tips, I would add that your contact details should come at the end of a press release. Why? Because you want to answer the who/what/why/when question in the 1st paragraph. Tell the story, get to the point, grab the reader’s attention (and the search engines!).

    Great tips!

    Nick @shinng

Got something to say? Go for it!