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You got the story. Wonderful. Let’s just write it down and distribute it to the right people. But what’s the ideal word count for a press release to make an impression? Most of the time press releases tend to be boring but it doesn’t always have to be that way.
Usually, when talking about writing the perfect newsworthy press release, we pay too much attention to the headline, opening or closing paragraph, or email pit. But these aren’t the only elements that need to be taken into consideration for press release distribution. The length of a press release or the number of words is also important.
Press release targets not only the journalist’s community but also the stakeholders, investors, and potential customers who don’t have much time to read lots of content online.
A press release usually covers important stories such as:
- The release of a new product or service
- A company’s in-house event or milestone
- New hiring or award-winning
- Any changes in the business model
- A marketing campaign to generate new sales leads
- And so much more
What makes a press release newsworthy or interesting?
Relevance – It is important that the event, story, or news highlight you are writing about has just happened in the recent past or is about to happen shortly. Writing of an event that happened 5 years ago or will be happening in the next 5 years doesn’t make any sense. Right?
Significance – The story is interesting if more and more people want to know about it. For example, in 2016 Samsung released Note 7. In just one month of release, there were 119 reports of fire incidents. The IT giant Samsung had to investigate the matter because it wasn’t just about 100 or 200 people. The incident could affect 1000s of people in no time. The culprit was a significant battery flaw that caused a small number of devices to explode and catch fire. After investigating the matter, Samsung released a press release stating the detailed results of the investigation and issued an apology to the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 customers. The incident was significant and was affecting a large scale of mobile users.
How long should a press release be?
The recommended rule – keep the word count under 500. The ideal length is 300 to 400 words. Unless it’s extremely important, don’t overdo it. Don’t forget that goal here is to convey the message or information and not to scare readers with lengthy pages.
Mark Twain said, “I didn’t have the time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one.”
The same applies to press release distribution. Writing a concise, to-the-point, and newsworthy press release takes knowledge of journalistic writing and SEO. You can’t write for journalists and skip search engines. Or you can’t write for the audience and skip journalists. In other words, the blog post isn’t a press release and you might need to hire a professional PR agency or PR writer to craft the perfect news release around your story.
Can a press release be of 2 pages?
It shouldn’t. Ideally, a press release should be no longer than one page including the company’s information. If it exceeds one page, try to edit and remove unnecessary stuff. But if it exceeds, try to use shorter paragraphs, and add bullets to make the content readable.
How to write a news release of optimal length?
Focus on the news
Let’s say you have to announce the launch of new software. The chances are only its features would take around somewhere between 200 and 250 words. Now you can add everything related to the software or you can write only the important points – potentially the selling points of the software. Keep your focus on the story and remove unnecessary stuff that might bore the reader.
Create a Smooth intro and exit
The first paragraph of the news release is important. Keep it concise, informative, and engaging. Most of the time journalists only read the first paragraph to decide whether they should keep reading or discard it completely.
Understand your reader
Know your reader before you even start writing for them. This will help you to understand what kind of information they might be interested in. For example, you are writing a press release for a mining company. This doesn’t make any sense if you include philosophical or poetry references. The stakeholder here might be interested in the data, analytics, or story more than other jargon.
Provide limited information
You don’t want to drive your reader crazy with information overload. Even if someone decides to read the whole press release, keep it simple and stick to the core vision or message. No one has time to dig into the whole page just to get the important information.
It is an obvious one. You might find it easier to write on one day and proofread or edit on the next day. Always start with a fresh brain and edit till you reach an ideal number of words.
Here are the essential elements of any press release:
- Opening paragraph (intro)
- The main body of the story
- Closing paragraph (exit)
- Company’s information
Writing a press release isn’t as simple as writing an article. But with little perseverance and patience, you can learn the craft. You can learn more about press release writing and distribution at our blog.