Now that you have your story idea and your list of media contacts, you're ready to start writing. First, you must come up with a killer headline. Since most press releases are now sent by e-mail, a poorly written subject line will earn an instant delete. Headlines must read like actual newspaper headlines, something informative and newsy, but creative and engaging enough to draw the reader in.
Press releases shouldn't be more than 300-400 words, and the reader should be able to understand the gist of the story in the first two sentences. Keep the tone and style appropriate for the content. If you're pitching a local TV news station, keep it conversational and the copy short so it can easily be adapted for reading on air. A press release for a newspaper should be meticulously spell-checked, follow Associated Press (AP) style and contain quotes and sources to back up claims.
Don't forget to include detailed contact information on the press release, including your name, telephone number, fax number, e-mail address and any relevant Web site links. Most of all, a successful press release doesn't just state the facts, but tells a compelling story that journalists will want to share with their readers and viewers.
Now let's look at the different options for distributing press releases, including e-mail and fax broadcasting.