News release writing is all about being concise. A good news release must meet six guidelines:
1. Timeliness The information must be new and breaking.
2. Impact The story must affect the audience in a significant way.
3. Uniqueness The story must be different from similar stories in some way.
4. Conflict There must be some sort of conflict in the story.
5. Proximity The focus of the story must be geographically close to the target audience.
6. Celebrity There should be a person of significant interest to the audience in the story.
The audience is also important. One must write a news release to the reporter or journalist. A news release is written in the inverted pyramid style, which puts the information in decreasing order from most important to least. There should be a significant, relevant quote that doesn’t repeat information. The headline should grab the journalist and make them want to read the story. At the end of the news release, the author should include a boilerplate, a brief biography or background on the company or person.
The Apple press release on the first weekend sales of the iPhone 5 does many of these things well and some of them not as well.
The lead is far too long; I lost interest at the first comma. Sentences should be shorter than about 20 words. However, the author did put a lot of pertinent information in the first paragraph, which is correct for the inverted pyramid style. The second paragraph is a statement quote, which is also good news release style; however, the quote is just generic and slightly redundant, not incredibly interesting.
The information is clearly new and breaking, and it will interest everyone in the world. Although the story is not necessarily unique, since the response to the iPhone 5 is the same as to every other iPhone, it is still about a completely redesigned iPhone and so is unique in its way. There is no conflict whatsoever, but again, because of its nature, the iPhone 5 is something reporters will want to write about, despite the lack of conflict. The author used a quote from the new CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, who is known worldwide. The news release’s headline will grab the attention of any journalist, and the author included a boilerplate as the last paragraph before the contact information.
This press release does a good job conveying the information it is meant to convey and illustrates many of the principles of good press release writing.