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Writing a Press Release: Inverted Pyramid Style

A term you'll hear in newsrooms, in editing meetings, in Journalism 101, but almost nowhere else, is "inverted pyramid."

The "inverted pyramid" style is the goal of every newspaper reporter, and, if you want free publicity, it should be the goal of your press release as well.

What is an inverted pyramid? It is the structure of the press release. It simply means that you should put the most important or enticing information in the first few sentences of your press release, and then unfold the rest in descending order of importance.

For example, if you are announcing a new financial planning product or service, put that up front:

"A new financial planning service will help local families increase their retirement savings."

Unfortunately, many people have a tendency to put less important information in the first sentence of a release. For example:

"Chet Thompson, CFM, a financial planner located in Glendale, today announced a new service called 'PlanWise.'"

What's more important? Your name, your location, and the name of your service, or the fact that it will provide a better retirement? All of your contact information is important, and should be in the release, but it's not as interesting as what your service will do.

Reporters scan a release quickly: burying your "best" stuff near the bottom always backfires. A press release isn't a mystery novel-you aren't going for a surprise ending.

Ned Steele works with people in professional services who want to build their practice and accelerate their growth. The president of Ned Steele's MediaImpact, he is the author of 102 Publicity Tips To Grow a Business or Practice. To learn more visit or call 212-243-8383.


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