So, if you’re ready to put your news out there, here’s some basic steps to re-writing your blog post into a press release. To get started, take a newsworthy blog post and…
A press release has to announce something. Unlike most blog posts, it’s not commentary, a how-to guide or a numbered list. However, the following blog post topics would work perfectly as the basis for a press release:launch of a new companyclient success story (“Client Doubles Income After Completing Online Course”)new product, service or event announcement (e-book, webinar, meetup, seminar)awards, either that you’ve won or awarded to others (invent some!)new employees/hires/contributorsmilestones (one year in business, subscriber growth of 500%, etc.)survey results
If you don’t have any of the above news, come up with your own, like predictions (“ProBlogger Announces Top Blogging Predictions for 2012”), or a response to current news (“Company Provides Immediate SEO Assistance for Google’s New Algorithm”).
Both the headline and the body of the press release should be in the third person. Instead of “we” or “I” use the company name. Instead of “you” use “customers,” or “clients.”
Both blog posts and press releases ideally should have keywords within the first few words of the headline. Unlike most blog posts, press releases also have a subhead, which either emphasizes the headline’s point-of-difference—whyyour news is so important—or provides factual backup for the headline.
To format the headline and subhead…
PRESS RELEASE HEADLINE: IN ALL CAPS
Subhead in Title Case, Except the Little, Non-Important Words
AP (Associated Press) Style is the writing blueprint for journalism—every grammar and punctuation question you have, the AP Stylebook has the answer. When I’m working on press releases, several unique-to-AP rules come up again and again.
For example, the AP Stylebook says that state names should be shortened like the old-fashioned mailing names. Florida is not FL, it’s Fla. And some cities are so well known (Chicago, Denver) that it’s not necessary to include the state. “Email” doesn’t have a hyphen but “e-commerce” does.
For a concise guide to the most relevant AP style notes, see this online AP Style guide from Purdue. AP continues to update its guidelines, so for the latest you can follow the AP Stylebook on Twitter.
For examples of press releases, go to sites like PR Newswire and PR Web and see what others have done. Some of these press releases are not great, so use a critical eye.
Many do not follow the “third person” and “AP Style” advice that I recommend (you’ll spot them right away … they look like blog posts), but please take a few minutes format your press release this way: it reflects expertise and professionalism, and in the end, isn’t that the image you want to portray with your blog?
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