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One of the most misunderstood marketing tools is the press release. People think that anyone can write a press release. Yes, anyone can write a press release—at least one that will be ignored by the press. But few can write a press release that will generate great press coverage and ignite the interest of the media.

What does it take to write a great press release?

1. Start with Your Target

Before you even start writing your press release, consider who will read it. You might think that your prospects are your target audience, but that is seldom the case. When you write a release that you intend to distribute to the press, your primary audience is the press. They are the ones who will decide whether or not to cover your announcement. That said, don’t write it like an ad, full of hyperbole about how great your company is. Write it like a news story fit to be read by a reporter. Always remember: If it’s not news, it’s a snooze. If it sounds like an ad, that’s bad.

2. Focus on the Facts, Jack

Reporters get inundated with press releases each day. They don’t have time to sift through your press release to find the key details. So when you write your press release, focus on the who, what, where and when, and make sure to include those in the first two paragraphs, if possible.

3. Make Statistics Your Friend

Statistics can make your press release far more interesting to a reporter. Rather than stating “Acme Mortgage is growing its branch offices in New England,” consider writing “Acme Mortgage is growing its branch offices in New England in response to a 6% growth in retail lending in that area, according to xyz study.” In fact, if you can tie your press release to a local, trade or national news trend, that can really help increase the coverage your news generates.

4. Avoid this Word

Surely the most overused word in press releases written by amateurs is “excited.” I have heard countless reporters joke about press releases quoting someone as saying that they are “excited” to be growing, moving, hiring, whatever. Reporters don’t care that you’re excited, nor do their readers. Steer clear of using that word to avoid having reporters think the press release was written by an amateur.

Above all, your press releases should represent your company well. If you want a press release to receive optimal press coverage, we can help. We’ll also distribute your release to our extensive database of reporters, so you can avoid hefty newswire distribution fees. Find out how easy it can be by reaching us at

By Rosalie Berg, President, Strategic Vantage