If you’re just getting started in the field of press and PR, or you’re new to the task of writing a press release, then you probably have an abundance of questions. The good news is that once you learn the format and writing technique, creating press releases will become second nature. You’ll be able to tell whether something is newsworthy at a glance, and you’ll know exactly what information to home in on and what the media will want to know.
One of the questions that people often overlook is the question of length. It’s really easy to write a press release that is too long. The common mistake is assuming that you should include an abundance of details for your story. However, it’s also not uncommon for a press release to be too short and therefore incomplete. There is a generally acceptable length for a press release, and within that length, there is a general structure that will help you focus on what’s important.
How Long Should an Effective Press Release Be?
Press releases, as documents, are relatively short. They should be no longer than a page. With formatting and spacing, that means about 300 to 400 words. So, what does that look like? Generally speaking, a press release will have a title and possibly a subtitle. It will then have three to four paragraphs that lay out the facts along with a few key quotes. Today’s press releases should ideally also contain images and links to videos and supporting materials and content.
What Goes into Each Paragraph?
The first paragraph will outline the details of your announcement and news. It addresses the 5 w’s; who, what, where, when, and why. The second paragraph is where you may include a quote, and where you begin to back up any claims or add a background to your announcement information. Sometimes, depending on your story, you may use two paragraphs for this information.
The last paragraph provides readers with more backup facts like price, availability, and any other information that may be important for people to take any potential action. For example, if the results of a new study are being released, when will they be released and where people can find them.
You’ll then wrap up your press release with your boilerplate –the section you’ll use on all press releases and other marketing materials – that tells readers about your company. It’s a statement that you reuse.
As you can see, it’s easy to quickly use up your 400 words. That is why it’s important to focus on what’s important for readers to know, and to focus on the details. One approach many press release writers take is to write the release first without worrying about the word count, and then to revise and edit a few times. It helps you perfect your message.