PR Cheat Sheet: How long should my press release be?

20.06.18 PR Cheat sheet

Here at MediaHQ, we have seen over 176,000 stories being shared so we really have seen the good, the bad, the ugly. So we present our PR cheat sheet, where we answer questions we hear most frequently. First up: ‘How long should my press release be?’

Journalists receive 100s of press releases every day and on average they’ll skim through a release for 5-10 seconds before deciding whether or not it interests them. That’s not a lot of time to get your message across so you need to think smart when you’re writing to make sure your story is picked up.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your release no more than one page long and ideally somewhere between 300 and 500 words. This is an easily digested amount of content for a journalist to scan through quickly while still getting all the relevant information.

You may now be thinking, ‘How can I possibly get out everything I need to say in just a meagre 300 words?’, an understandable reaction but there are a few steps you can take:

1) Include only the most important details

The ‘Who’, ‘What’, ‘Where’, ‘When’ and ‘Why’ of your announcement. Get the basics down first and after that, if you feel there’s something really important missing, only then add it in.

2) Keep the elaborate descriptions out of your press releases

Journalists don’t need to know every detail of your new product or event, keep the information succinct and easy to read at a glance.

3) Bullet points and short paragraphs are your friends

Breaking up your content like this will make it much more digestible and easier to skim through.

4) Stop with the fluff

A detailed description of your company and what you do isn’t necessary to include in a press release and will just increase your word count. If required this along with any other relevant details can be included in the ‘Notes to Editors’ section at the end in which you can generally be a bit looser with length.

5) Most importantly get your ‘Topline’

The topline is your most crucial piece of information, in at the very beginning and fill in whatever details are necessary after. That first section is what will grab the journalist’s attention so if you leave your key points until two paragraphs later you will have already lost them before they even get to what you want them to read.

So there you have it, for optimum engagement keep your press releases short, sweet and to the point just like this blog post. This will not only help your stories get picked up but will also cut the time it takes to your write a release in half.

Sending our press releases but not reaching the right media contacts? Find out MediaHQ can help you. Click here for more information or call Gaye on (01) 254 1845