As an employee in large institutes /Company you probably will not get into the situation of having to write a press release. However, if you are employed in the press department, you will certainly benefit from the following information.
In this first part we deal exclusively with the specifics of press releases, first with the specifics of the content: readers want to read the newspaper or listen to the radio quickly inform. Specifically, this means: Press releases are not epic executions, but short (!) Texts.
There is no classic composition with introduction, bulk and final. Rather, the most important statement comes first - you fall almost "with the door into the house". A press release should be able to be shortened from the end. In other words, the less important information is, the further it is mentioned in the text. The length of the press release has no influence on their print-out probability.
In addition, press releases also have some formal peculiarities:
- Their maximum length should be two pages (with about 30 lines per page).
- The text of a press release knows no "Mr." or "woman", but only first and last name, the first name is only mentioned at the first mention, then you write only the last name ("Schmitt promised that ...") ,
- Similarly, positions, functions or qualifications of persons are only mentioned once.
- Current dates are not mentioned in the entire press release.
- Abbreviations should be avoided (or explained at least once), as well as highlighting and capital letters.
- In press releases silage separation is not welcome.
- The naming of lines, stops, and characters is obsolete.
- Write left-aligned and use Flatter set. Set an 1,5 line spacing and free a wide margin (circa 5 to 6 centimeters), that is, short lines (circa 60 strokes).
Language and style
There are also some linguistic features:
- A press release should be written in such a way that it could be published without modification (as if it had been written by a journalist). One writes about his institute / company thus in the third person singular and not in the first person plural.
- Press releases may not contain any advertising or commentaries.
- Simply formulate; ingenious originality is not expected and also not appreciated. So use simple and short sentences.
- For the Tempus: Select the present form, if it is still valid, otherwise you should choose the perfect (second past) in the first sentence and then write it in the imperfect (first past).
Step 1: Check whether you have a message core
Think of the readers - after all, the editorial department prints press releases, especially if they are of interest to their readers. So switch perspectives and do not ask, "What do we have to say?", But, "What are readers interested in?"
Ask yourself the following questions, and only if you can answer "yes" at least once, you have a real message core:
- Is the information new?
- Does the information affect many people?
- Is the information relevant to the target audience or region in which the medium appears?
- Are the consequences of the information sufficient for the readers?
Step 2: Check if a press release is the correct format
You have already encountered this step in other text formats. A press release does not always have to be the best way to convey your message. The following alternatives could also be considered:
- For short messages: Think about whether you might just send a picture with a short text.
- If there are several (independent) longer messages: Consider organizing a press conference, if applicable.
- For many numbers (for example, annual report): Think about whether or not you would like to create an (additional) fact sheet. But no numerical cemetery!
Consider whether a discussion with the editor would be more appropriate instead of a press release.
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