The Inverted Pyramid Approach to Writing a Press Release
There are many different approaches to writing a press release. Some people prefer to work from an outline. Others prefer a template. Some press release writers freestyle it and begin with their headline. Others write the headline last. Over the years there has been an approach that is taught and often embraced by some of the top press and PR professionals. It’s called the Inverted Pyramid approach. Let’s take a look at what it is and how it works. You may find that this approach works well for you too.
What is the Inverted Pyramid?
The inverted pyramid is a traditional news reporting style. It’s designed to communicate the most important and relevant information at the beginning of the news story. As the content in the press release continues, the importance of the information being shared is shared in order of priority, with the least important information saved for last.
While it was designed decades ago, it works well today because press releases are published, distributed, and shared online. While your press release may reach millions of people online, they don’t always hang around to read everything on the page. When you put the most important information first you not only capture attention, you also make sure that the pertinent information is actually seen and read. So by using the inverted pyramid approach, you have a much better chance of people seeing and reading your press release information – or at least the most important part of your press release information.
How Does it Work?
Start with an outline. As you write your bullet points for your press release, organize the information with the most important information first and your least important information at the end. There are three basic sections to an inverted pyramid press release.
Section One: In the first section you have your opening paragraph, which is also called your lead. This is the paragraph that is the most important. It is imperative that you get your information across. This is the paragraph that media representatives look at and it’s the paragraph that your audience and prospects will skim. If it doesn’t contain your priority information, then you’ve missed an opportunity. So what do you include in this section? This is where you answer the questions who, what, why, when, where and how.
Section Two: This is the information that is good to have, but not necessary or essential. In this section you might include quotes and data. This is where you can add personality and flavor to your press release.
Section Three: This is the nice to have information. You’d love it if people read to the end and retain this information, but it’s not essential. You might include information about your organization here or some background information about the news you’re sharing.
Next time you sit down to write a press release for your company, try this approach. Test and track your results and evaluate not only whether it’s easier for you to write an effective press release, but also how your audience responds.