News releases and press releases are an integral part of a PR practitioner’s job. They are defined as written or recorded communication directed at members of news media for the purpose of announcing something claimed as having news value. I found several sites that listed tips for writing effective news releases and compiled the ones I found most helpful.
1. A Good News Release Should Begin With an Attention-Grabbing Title
The title is a journalist’s first impression of what is to follow in a media release and should therefore communicate something about the media release’s key messages in an interesting and thought-provoking way, without being misleading.
2. Increase Newsworthiness with Solid Statistics and Compelling Research
It is important journalists recognize that a media release is not just benefiting the company it comes from, but that the company is endeavoring to make a positive contribution to the community. Compelling research and statistics will give a media release importance and help it to be seen among all the other hopefuls on a journalist’s desk.
3. Give Some Local Flavor to a Media Release
Journalists should find a media release appeals to the people living in their area, even if the release is intended for national distribution. Local appeal may be gained by ensuring a wide demographic spread of spokespeople and localized statistics.
4. Time Media Release Distribution Strategically
Avoid running against bigger stories in the race for headlines by having a good understanding of other stories that are likely to break on the day. In some cases this may be easy, such as avoiding big holidays or grand final day, though in the event of a natural disaster or something completely unexpected, this may be possible. The beginning of the week is generally slower than Thursdays or Fridays.
5. Follow-up a Media Release with a Phone Call
Make sure journalists are aware of a media release by following up with a quick, to-the-point phone call. Prepare a short pitch that captures the key points and point out how the story is appropriate for each media outlet’s target audience.
I found more tips on Press-Release-Writing.com,
6. Make sure you wait until you have something with enough substance to issue a release
7. Make sure the first 10 words of your release are effective, as they are the most important.
8. Tell the audience that the information is intended for them and why they should continue to read it.
9. Provide as much Contact information as possible: Individual to Contact, address, phone, fax, email, Web site address.
10. And finally, make sure the information is newsworthy.