Press Release Week:: Part III:: 5 Ws

This is Part III of a five-part, weeklong series about how and why to write a press release. Click here for other installments. Come back tomorrow when we discuss the AP Stylebook. Friday evening (August 7, 2009) one winner will be drawn to receive a special package from Market Mommy, including a press release, business card design and button ad design. The package is valued at $75! Please read the fine print at the end of the post for details on how to enter. You can register up to six times each day!!

As mentioned earlier in the week, it is best to keep your release short and to the point. Usually one page is more than enough space. In that limited space, however, you need to make sure you answer the 5 Ws:: Who, What, When, Where and Why. This is the basic concept for journalism writing and will help ensure that you are telling the full story. The 5 Ws usually also include one H, How.

Ideally, each of these questions will be answered in the lead paragraph. Sometimes, however, the body of the release is needed to answer the how or why. When writing your release, make sure each of these questions is answered so that you give your contacts the entire picture. Most of this is self-explanatory, but we will visit it in a little more detail.

Who:: The who is usually you. Whenever you are writing a press release about your business, you (the owner) or the business name answers the who question in most cases. This just serves as a reminder to mention your business name in the opening sentence of your release.

What:: What happened or what is going to happen? What could be a new location or a new season’s line. The what could also be your website or your event.

When:: When is easy. It is the date of your launch, your opening or your event. It is whenever the what is happening. Depending on your topic and the timing, the when could be past, present or future.

Where:: Where is also usually easy to answer. It is where the what is happening. It can be a physical location, a web address or even an entire country, i.e. if your company is expanding into Canada, for example.

Why:: Sometimes why can be a little more difficult to answer. Why is your story newsworthy? Why are you launching a new line or holding an event? If you can relate the why back to benefiting your customer, it will make your release stronger. For example, ‘to better serve our customers by making our website easier to navigate’ sounds a lot more customer friendly than ‘to make our website more attractive.’

How:: How can also be a little more difficult to answer, or at least take some more explaining. How are you accomplishing your goal? How did you open your new location? Always focus on your hard work and dedication to customers .

All these are critical pieces to your release. As you can see, the 5 Ws can be used as a proofing mechanism. Before distributing your release, go through them one more time to ensure you haven’t missed anything.

Tomorrow we will talk about the Associated Press Stylebook and its importance when writing press releases. Have a great Wednesday!

The fine print::
First and foremost the marketing package won must be used to promote a legitimate, mom-owned business. (Market Mommy reserves the right to disqualify any entrant on the basis of this criteria) Winners will be chosen by Below are the ways to register, you may come back and do the following EACH DAY for each new post! Be sure to leave a comment with a link for each entry or it won’t count! (Comments close each day at 11:59 p.m. EST)
1. Leave a comment on this post, any comment.
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6. Blog about this giveaway or grab our button ... you must link back to either this blog or Market Mommy's official site.