Writing Tips for a Successful Press Release - Beyond the Basics

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October 15, 2018

24-7 Press Release Newswire has assembled a surplus of documents around the subject of 'How to write a press release?', with the novice in mind. Some of these topics are specific to particular industries, like a new book announcement press release. Our library of information may be found here.

We want to take your writing to the next level and increase your writing skills because your grammar and writing can make the difference between your press release getting picked up, or left to be binned.

Given the timing of this piece, combined with the upcoming 2018 Midterm Elections, we thought we would include a few tips from AP and the AP Style Book to help you with your writing. Some of these include tips for when and when not to use caps.

Congress & congressional
This should be capitalized when making reference to the U.S. Senate and House together. The adjective should be lowercase unless it is part of a formal name.

Democrat & Democratic Party
Both terms of these terminologies should be capitalized and unless you are quoting someone, the term 'Democrat Party' should not be used.

The next piece we found interesting is when one is making reference to Election Day and election night. Election Day is capitalized and election night is lowercase for the November national elections within the US, according to AP Style.

A mistake we commonly encounter is the use of fundraiser and fundraising. These are always as one word, not two. This also pertains to the words 'policymaker' and 'policymaking'. They are also as one word.

The terms president & vice president may easily be overlooked. Simply, if the term is used before a name, it is capitalized, otherwise if only making reference to, it is lowercase.

As of recent weeks, we have noticed a few press releases making reference to the elections and wanted to further educate our audience with these excellent tips from AP Style.

On the subject of grammar and writing, we decided to include further tips that we were able to round up from AP's Facebook page.

If your press release is making reference to the new United States-Mexico-Canada agreement, USMCA is acceptable, however not a preference on the first mention for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement; ideally, you should include the entire name and a brief definition shortly after the first reference. Until the shorthand becomes more broadly known, wording such as the North American free trade agreement (note lowercase) or the agreement's full name is preferred on first reference when possible. USMCA replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA.

This next snip-it some may find interesting, however, makes complete sense. "If you're eating green or red chile sauce, that's with an e at the end. If you're eating a bowl of chili with beef and cumin, it ends with an i."

When used in the sense of two people, the word "couple" takes plural verbs and pronouns: The couple were married Saturday and left Sunday on their honeymoon. They will return in two weeks. In the sense of a single unit, use a singular verb: Each couple was asked to give $10.

For those that make use of Roman numerals, this may be a good guide. "Use Roman numerals for wars and to establish a personal sequence for people and animals: World War I, Native Dancer II, King George V. Also for certain legislative acts (Title IX). Pro football Super Bowls should be identified by the year: 1969 Super Bowl, not Super Bowl III."

So what is the difference between 'damage' and 'damages'? "Damage is destruction or loss: Authorities said the storm caused more than $1 billion in damage. Damages are awarded by a court as compensation for injury, loss, etc.: The woman received $25,000 in damages."

Up until now, we have provided some basic insight for writing a press release. We look to continue further segments with further tips from AP Style Guide and other sources.

In conclusion, what some may think is obvious may not be that obvious after all. There are individuals that may take the 'It's not that big of a deal' type of an attitude, however, there are also journalists and educated readers out there that are critical and may not read a story based on what they feel is bad grammar. Our goal is to try and educate our audience to the best of our ability to set you and your press release up for the best possible success.