News Release Writing Guide
Create eye catching newsworthy releases and increase visibility.
- What Is a News Release?
- Finding a Topic
- Sample Topics and Ideas
- Writing a Headline
- Sum It Up in The Summary
- The First Paragraph
- The Release Body
- Photos, Graphics & Attachments
- Boilerplate Statement
- Contact Information
- Check So You Don't Wreck
- Distributing on NewsBox
- Measuring the Results
- Need Help?
What Is a News Release?
The definition of "news" has changed and so has the way people consume it. The Internet is now the primary access point for news. Some might argue that news is anything created by anyone that is interesting and new to the reader. Others might say news is created through a hard-fought battle to cut through the clutter and uncover what can't be found by just surfing the web. Either way, news is something, well, new.
A release submitted on NewsBox may not need to be the modern equivalent of Watergate, but should be new and interesting. NewsBox is a semi-public service with most news available to the public, but with privacy settings that make it easy to send news to one or more people who matter the most.
If you see news online, you expect to find links, contact options and photos; so keep that in mind when creating your releases. Ensure your links function, your contact options are valid and your photos are clear, relevant and contain proper descriptions.
Finding a Topic
A great news release will be about a topic that will resonate with readers. Great news releases should, of course, be about something new but should also tie into current events and news topics. If a news topic is currently trending on the Internet, tying into that topic could produce extraordinary visibility.
Don't just create a news release for the sake of getting coverage. Ensure your news release topic is relevant, or your readers might feel your release is Spam. If your goal is to get the word out, you need to get a feel for what information your readers want to see, with a goal of encouraging them to follow you and your news in the future.
Search existing news releases on NewsBox and see what other users are submitting. If an existing release is particularly interesting, you should consider a similar topic for your release.
As you submit more releases using NewsBox, measuring your results through NewsBox Monitoring and Analytics will help determine future topics.
Sample Topics and Ideas
Organizations of all sizes have news, whether you are a small one-person company trying to get the word out about a new product, or a large corporation announcing quarterly earnings. The primary requirement for submissions on NewsBox is that your release be about something, well, new. Examples of news are:
- Event Announcements: If you're hosting, sponsoring or attending an event, you may want to send a release announcing your participation. We provide special features for listing event dates, times and descriptions, and you can promote the event with your followers.
Events may include but are not limited to:
- Employee or Management Change: If you've hired or fired a person you feel is a big deal and could affect your company — good or bad — you may want to get the word out. It's important to keep your stakeholders in the loop and let them hear important news from you. If you're a public company, changes in management are sometimes required announcements and NewsBox can help you reach your stakeholders.
- Won an Award: Did you just win an award or get nominated for a noteworthy award? Let the public and/ journalists know. Winning an award can be a game changer for a company marketing products, and getting the word out can help generate additional interest in your product and services.
- Survey, Poll or General Research Results: Did you conduct a survey, poll or research study and want to share the results with a wide audience, and also measure the results? Use NewsBox to communicate the results to a broad audience and receive feedback from viewers. If possible, include graphics or documentation to support the results.
Writing a Headline
A great NewsBox news release headline should include the core topics or key words of your release. It should tell the reader within the first 100 characters why they want to read more.
Don't post blatant advertising or marketing pitches. Not only because they may not comply with NewsBox submission guidelines, but they may turn users off.
Capitalize all words except prepositions or words with less than three characters such as; a, as, the, to, etc.
Sum It Up in the Summary
The summary of a release is the middle ground between the Headline and the Body. It tells users, in a little more detail, why they want to read more. It is often used by search engines to describe your news. Keep the summary objective or factual and limit it to the core details of the supporting release body.
Your summary should answer the standard "who, what, where, when and why" of your news release, and avoid using too many adjectives or too much description. Remember, you still have a news release body to write.
To get an idea of what you might want to write, visit Google and look at results. For any result, you'll see a one line underlined, increased-font headline and then a brief description of the result. Write the summary as you would want to see your release display in search results. Include key words you feel accurately reflect the core topic(s) of your release.
Think of the summary in terms of a movie trailer. The reader should get a sense of what your release is about, but not too much that they don't want to actually see the movie.
The First Paragraph
The first paragraph of your release is the lead. The reader saw your headline and maybe read your summary. Now, they want to learn more about the topic and want supporting details, but not a lot of jargon and fluff. The first paragraph should include the key topics and key words of the release, but it's different than the summary in that it introduces the reader to your information. It should be written in concise, accurate, direct and factual words that help to convey the reason you're submitting your release and why readers should pay attention.
The Release Body
The body of your news release should be written in active voice and should paint a mental picture for your readers and support the introductory paragraph. You should include supporting facts, possibly including quotes and links to supporting information such as websites, white papers or presentations.
Again, avoid sounding too sales-pitchy. Your goal with every release should be to convey the core facts of your news and stimulate your reader to want to know more about your news, not to sell them on your products. Direct sales pitches or advertising may also run the risk of being removed from NewsBox if they don't comply with our submission guidelines.
NewsBox doesn't allow cut-and-pasting of releases from third-party applications such as Microsoft Word, and we don't have a WYSIWYG editor. Pasting of third-party code or text from other applications such as Microsoft Word is a security risk, as are WYSIWYG editors. Also, the results of pasting often don't display correctly on the published web page. A final reason is that we want to keep our readers safe from spammers and foreign software.
If you want to copy-and-paste your release into NewsBox, you can use a text-based editor such as Microsoft Notepad or similar application that removes foreign code and characters. Or, you can simply type and edit your release in the box provided.
We encourage submitting pre-approved quotes, as journalists writing stories will often look for releases they can use without the time-consuming and sometimes difficult process of contacting an author directly. The more you can provide to readers, so they don't have to contact you, the better.
You can and should include links to supporting information, but don't make your release look like a link farm. Keep outside links limited to about 1 per 100 words.
Your release-body should be short and less than 600 words, but more words are possible. A length of 400 words is ideal, but we realize that sometimes more supporting information is required.
Photos, Graphics & Attachments
It's important to include graphics and attachments to engage and support your release. If you have photos, simply upload the photos and include a brief description. Journalists interviewed recommended including no more than two people in a photograph, and you should include proper credits if you the photo was taken by a third-party. If you include more than one photo, ensure they are not repetitious and are relevant to the release topic.
If you want to include charts of financial spreadsheets, you should convert the files into PDF's and upload as an image. Importing tables into the body of the release is not permitted due to security risks.
A Boilerplate Statement should be used as an area at the bottom of the release to describe repetitive information. Often used as an "about us" section, the Boilerplate Statement should contain key points about your company including an overview of your location, management, key products, website address and main contact information. You may also wish to include legal statements such as disclosures about your company if you are not the company or organization mentioned in the release.
Your company may have general contact information, but you should ensure your release has release-specific contact information. We provide messaging on your release, but you should also include options for people to contact you directly, if preferred. If interested parties want to reach you for more information, they need to have appropriate contact information depending on whether they want your products, want to attend your event or are journalists in need of reaching an official representative.
It's vital that all releases include accurate contact information. NewsBox does not disclose contact information, and our messaging ensures all email addresses and other contact information is private. Preferences can be set up to ensure you have control over how other members contact you.
Check – Don't Wreck
Release copy should be checked, double-checked and triple-checked. If you submit inaccurate or incorrect information, it may be difficult to fix. You can always change and resubmit your release, but you need to ensure your release is well thought-through, edited and free from any errors.
If you need help writing or editing your release, we can provide you with writing or editing assistance. Contact us!
Distributing on NewsBox
NewsBox provides multiple means for submitting and distributing news. If a news release is private, or simplyhosted to send to one person or a single journalist, or to send it to as many people as possible, it is important to select the correct and most relevant news recipients.
Don't send a news release to people who aren't relevant or on an approved senders list, as doing so can have a negative impact on your ability to reach contacts effectively in the future. If someone receives irrelevant news, they may simply ignore future releases and you may lose the ability to reach key influencers when needed in the future.
NewsBox profiles were designed to allow for posting and distributing news on the Web, through popular social media channels and through pre-determined distribution channels on NewsBox. Some of the great features of NewsBox include the ability to submit a free release and get visibility through your existing earned followings on other social networks and services. NewsBox provides a hosted option for you to manage your releases in a single application, ensuring your message is consistent across multiple channels.
Our Groups option is a patent-pending feature designed to allow you to send your release to targeted groups of individuals based on your needs. You can create public or private groups of one or more contacts and send your releases to the people you need to reach.
The value of the paid distribution option is the ability to reach users by category, industry, topic or geography, without the time and expense of building a large following of users. The recipients of our news feeds are journalists, newsrooms, news partners and other relevant parties who've taken an interest in specific content on NewsBox and want to receive your news. By reaching out via the paid distribution, we ensure you're reaching a targeted, interested group of potential influencers who will help spread the word about your news.
Measuring the Results
NewsBox is great for measuring your influence in the market. After submitting your release, visit the reporting tab and you'll find data on who viewed your release, total views, social metrics and more. Use the results to make informed business decisions. Measure the success of your releases based on the metrics that matter most to you.
For help with writing or editing a release, contact us at 888-234-7974 (International 01-410-230-7976).