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With introductions out of the way, (see below) we can move on to the second part of our look at what makes good press releases.

Like news stories, good press releases tend to adopt a standard journalistic structure, widely known as the ‘inverted pyramid’.

Essentially, this means thinking of what you’re writing as fitting into a triangle where the bigger, wider part is at the top and the point is at the bottom.

The idea is that the most important information is first, with progressively less and less important details included as you move down the page.

Aside from being good practice, structuring a story in this way goes back to the days when newspaper sub editors would literally cut copy from the bottom upwards to make them fit the page.

Applying a strict word count to a press release is another useful tip. About 300-350 words is a good target.

If there’s a lot of detail to fit in, or you’ve got a really good story that justifies extra words, you could push it a little further but you risk losing the reader’s attention and their goodwill – both of which are vital, if you want them to work with what you’ve sent them.

Sticking to ten or a dozen sentences will help you stay focused on your story’s angle and avoid wasted words.

In some cases, such as where you want to include extra information such as graphs or statistics to support the story, keep those from interrupting the flow of the text by adding them into a ‘notes to editors’ section, placed after the main copy.

Last but not least, like the pyramid, you can include the point of the story – such as the date, time and location of an event – again at the bottom… as long as you’ve mentioned that crucial information earlier on.

If you want to talk about creating an inverted pyramid for your story or campaign drop me a line: mark@markwall.co.uk

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