Press Releases: Tell me a story and make me care

Public relations practitioners and students are at the top of the list when it comes to the reasons I wrote Dynamics of Media Writing. I had dozens of PR students in my classes each year who asked, “Why do I need to know any of this stuff? I’m going into PR!” The answer I had came from a buddy of mine, who ran the PR sequence at Ball State for years: “Teach them to write. That’s all they do in the field. Whether they know it or not, they need to learn to write.” That’s the core of the book: Learn the writing core and then apply it to your specific field.

Rob Wynne, a PR professional from California, hits on that aspect as well when it comes to PR writing, but he extends it to include one of the most important aspects of media writing: Tell me a story and make me care.

Headline. Opening sentence. Body. (What’s the story, why does it matter?) Contact information.

These are the ingredients of a successful press release. Professionals and entrepreneurs should know how to write to create one. Shockingly, many of them don’t. They are formulaic, by nature, but so are poetry, tweets, columns and other written communications. Everyone has constraints.

In his piece at Forbes’ website, he provides a great walk-through for anyone wanting to write a press release. It takes that formulaic set of elements and shows how to make it work and also how to “season” your writing without lapsing into hyperbole. Give it a read when you hit Chapter 11.




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