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Write a Better Press Release

By: Kevin Nunley

Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice, copywriting, and promotion packages. See his 10,000 free marketing ideas at Reach Kevin at or 801-328-9006.

The two most critical components of the press release are the headline and the first paragraph. Why? Because the headline is what grabs the editor's interest and makes an impact. Then, the first paragraph tells them whether there really is a story.

Your headline needs to stand out from the thousands of others that cross an editor's desk every day. Here are a few guidelines for writing a headline:
  • Keep it concise and don't exceed more than 2 lines.

  • Every word counts, so each one should help tell a story. Avoid insignificant words like prepositions, articles and pronouns.

  • Keep the tense active, not passive. The subject should be doing, not having things done to them.

  • Spark interest with stats, humor, intrigue, etc...
Now for the first paragraph:
  • Answer five essential W's and one H: Who, what, where, when, why and how.

  • Give the geographical location of the news story source in parentheses at the very beginning of the first paragraph. That covers your "where" requirement.

  • Catch their interest with the very first sentence so they will keep reading. Keep the momentum from your headline going.

© 2003

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