Publicity is a great way for business owners, new and old, to get some attention for their company. Press releases can help you get attention from all kinds of media outlets and bloggers that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach.
The big question is, how do you write a press release? The good news is that it’s not as hard as you might think.
You don’t need to be an English major to get your point across in an effective press release. With these tips, you can start spreading the word about your company right away!
If you’re writing a press release for the first time, you may feel overwhelmed when it comes to writing one yourself.
In this guide, we’ll take you through how to write an effective press release that gets noticed and increases brand awareness.
How To Write A Press Release
What Is A Press Release?
A press release is a short summary of news about a business, product or service. It’s an “official statement” or announcement that you send to a journalist to let them know about something newsworthy, like a new product launch, a partnership, or an event.
As well as giving journalists vital information about your company, it also helps them create a story that resonates with their audience.
A press release is also a great way to boost your search engine optimization (SEO) by getting your press release published on the right websites, and this can drive more traffic to your website.
What Is A Press Release?
A press release is a written communication that reports specific but brief information about an event, circumstance or other happening.
It’s typically tied to a business or organization and provided to media through a variety of means.
Press releases can announce a range of news items, including scheduled events, personal promotions, awards, new products and services, sales accomplishments, etc.
They are often used in generating news articles in traditional media outlets — printed newspapers and magazines as well as broadcast media.
In recent years the availability of online press release distribution services — many featuring paid options — has further expanded the reach and ease of use for press release distribution.
Press releases are often sent to editors and journalists at newspapers, magazines, radio stations, online media, television stations or television networks.
How Does A Press Release Work?
A press release is a written communication that reports specific but brief information about an event, circumstance or other occurrences, or topic.
It’s typically tied to a business or organization and is provided to media through a variety of means.
For example, a public relations firm working for a client might prepare and distribute a press release in order to generate positive publicity about the client.
The goal of such a press release is to attract favorable media coverage.
Press releases are often posted on websites, and they can also be transmitted via fax or email to media outlets.
Some businesses hire public relations firms that specialize in writing press releases, while others write their own releases under the direction of their marketing or communications departments.
Press releases are a great way to get the word out about your company, but they’re not as simple as they sound.
Knowing how to write a press release that gets results, and how to distribute it effectively, is something every marketer needs to learn.
Press releases do serve a purpose for marketers. They can help you:
- Build authority and expertise in your industry or niche.
- Drive organic traffic from search engines such as Google.
- Attract the attention of journalists, bloggers, and influencers.
- Get coverage in traditional media outlets.
If you want to know how to write a press release that works, you have to understand that it’s all about your audience.
You have to think like a journalist and understand what journalists need from companies so they can write stories.
What Should Your Press Release Include?
What should your press release include?
The answer to that question is easy, but the formula takes a little time to fully understand.
Just like writing a blog post or an article, you need to make sure that you have all the right elements before you publish.
Here are the basic components of a standard press release:
Headline And Subheadline
The headline and subheadline are usually separated by one dash (–), which is required in AP style.
Both should be in title case, which means that all nouns, pronouns, verbs and adverbs are capitalized.
The headline of your press release should grab attention from the get-go.
It’s often wise to include keywords in your headline so that it’s more likely your press release appears in search engines for those terms.
The byline includes the name, title and contact information of the author of the press release.
This can be your name if you’re self-publishing on behalf of your business.
If you work for a large company, this might be a department name instead of an individual’s name.
It’s traditional to add “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” at the top right corner above the byline.
When you write your summary, start with the most important information first.
This is also called an inverted pyramid approach because the most important pieces of information should be at the beginning of your press release, just like in this example.
The summary gives brief details about what you’re announcing, why it’s newsworthy, and when it’s happening (or happened).
And remember: Your summary should be approximately 50 words or less.
Opening Paragraph. The first paragraph is your most-important paragraph, according to PR Daily.
Why? Because many journalists and other readers only read the first paragraph (and/or headline) of a press release before deciding whether they want to read
This is a paragraph or two that describes what your company does and how it can help its customers.
This is intended to provide background information on your company for reporters writing about you.
Offer A Quote From a Person In The Company
Include an interesting quote from someone in the company on why this news item is important to them/your industry/your target market/etc.
Include some contact information at the end of the release to make it easy for reporters and editors to get in touch with you if they have questions or want more information about your company or organization.
This is typically a name, phone number, email address, and mailing address.
What Are The Different Types Of Press Release?
There is a lot of confusion on the web about what constitutes a “press release”. It’s no surprise when you consider that much of the information out there is conflicting and confusing.
The truth is, there are many different types of press release. The important thing to remember is that each type serves a different purpose.
Some tell the world about new products or services, others announce new partnerships or sponsorships, some announce awards, accolades and achievements, with some even sharing personal news such as weddings and births!
Whatever your reason for creating a press release, one thing is for sure: if you don’t understand the difference between them all and how to use them effectively, you could be wasting your time.
So let me clear things up for you…
1. Breaking News Releases
If you have breaking news that’s time-sensitive, you can send out a breaking news release.
The best examples of this type of press release are when big companies such as Apple or Google make an announcement that impacts the tech industry, or when new developments occur in the world of entertainment and celebrity gossip.
2. New Product/Service Launches
A new product launch is an important moment for any company. It’s the moment you announce to the world what you’ve been working on and why it matters to them.
You want to make sure that your audience knows all about your newest product or service so that they can come and get it!
3. New Partnerships
While not as exciting as new product launches, announcing new partnerships is still worth letting people know about.
If your partnership will be beneficial to your audience, then put it in a press release and tell them why!
A rebrand is an important change for a brand, so it makes sense to send out a press release whenever this happens.
Your rebrand might be because of a merger or acquisition, or because you’ve decided to change your name or logo in order to better reflect who you are now.
5. Traditional Press Release
The traditional press release is a written, formal statement of information that a company feels the public should know about.
It is usually intended to be published in some form of media (newspaper, magazine, etc.)
6. Video News Releases (VNRs)
A VNR is a video version of the traditional press release. They are often accompanied by an audio voiceover and visuals.
TV news stations will often use video press releases as b-roll when a story is not available.
7. Blog Post Press Release
A blog post press release is similar to your typical blog post but it includes information about your product or service and why it’s newsworthy.
Blog posts can be syndicated much more easily than traditional press releases and search engines tend to give them more authority since most press releases include links which help improve their rankings.
8. New Product Launches
When you have a new product or service to announce, you want the world to know!
Sending out a press release announcing your new offering can get the word out quickly and effectively, especially if you have something that appeals to reporters or bloggers in a particular industry.
Press Release Format
The press release format is standard. The most important elements are the headline, dateline, lead paragraph and boilerplate, but other components can be added to help tell the story.
The first element of a press release is the headline. Keep it concise and factual – because search engines will index it. It should be a concise description of the topic of the release.
The dateline in a press release contains the date and city in which the press release originates.
If a company is headquartered in Boston and has an office in New York City, but writes about an event that took place in New York, then “New York” should be used in the dateline instead of “Boston.”
The introduction summarizes the main points of the press release and is known as the lead.
It answers five Ws and one H: who, what, where, when, why, and how. The introduction should not exceed two sentences.
The next part of a press release is often called body copy or further information.
This includes more details about your announcement such as key products, services, or features that are included or improved with this announcement:
- names of key executives involved,
- location of headquarters,
- a short history if it’s applicable.
1. Write An Eye-Catching Headline
A headline that doesn’t grab the attention of a reader or broadcast journalist will result in your press release being ignored. Headlines are like fish hooks.
They’re meant to grab someone’s attention and make them want to read more about your product or service, press conference, award announcement or whatever it is you’re distributing.
Here are some headline writing tips:
Keep It Short And Sweet
Make the headline about 60 characters long so it doesn’t get cut off when distributed on wire services.
Keep It Relevant
The entire point of the press release is to inform the media and consumers about something newsworthy pertaining to your business, product, or service. Don’t cast a wide net by discussing topics that aren’t related to what you do.
If there’s a specific phrase people use when they’re searching for your type of product, include it in the headline.
For example, if you’re an eCommerce merchant selling jewelry, include “jewelry” in the headline instead of “fashion accessories.”
If your headline is compelling, you’ll have a better chance of sending your press release to the media, who will then share it with their audience.
Here are some tips on how to write a compelling headline:
1. Be concise.
2. Use keywords.
3. Include numbers.
4. Make an impact with strong verbs.
2. What’s The News Value?
It’s important to convey the news value of your press release so that journalists understand why it would be newsworthy for their audience.
For example, if you have a new product or service that’s launching soon, you can write a press release detailing why this new product will be valuable for customers and what its features are.
It’s also imperative that you provide enough information about yourself in order for reporters covering different beats (such as technology, health care, or fashion) to understand how this relates back to their beat as well as their audience.
This can help them determine whether or not there is an angle worth reporting on here.
3. Offer A Tempting Quote
Your press release is your chance to stand out from the crowd, so make sure that it’s appealing.
You want your press release to go viral and there is a reason why quotes are included in articles that are widely read.
When a reader sees a quote, they can easily imagine what it would feel like if they were being quoted themselves, and this gives them insight into the subject at hand.
This isn’t to say that you should take a “me first” approach when offering a quote for your press release.
In fact, you should have someone else offer the quote for you.
If you do this, you’ll be able to get more people to read your press release because they will be more likely to come across it in the first place.
4. Provide Valuable Background Information
Why is this newsworthy?
How will it benefit the reader?
This is one of the most important parts of a press release, because it’s not always immediately clear why the information you’re presenting is relevant.
Use this space to provide valuable background information on the subject for your press release.
It’s easy to think that everyone is as familiar with your industry as you are. But this is rarely the case, and for many journalists and editors, it will be their first time hearing about the service or product that you’re offering.
This means that they may not know the ins and outs of what you do, and what makes it unique.
To make sure that people understand your press release, you should provide them with contextual information about how your products or services fit into their lives.
For example, if you sell software that optimizes social media campaigns, this may not mean much to someone who isn’t involved in digital marketing or advertising.
However, if you describe how it helps businesses achieve more revenue by expanding their bottom line, then this is suddenly clearly understandable.
5. Summarize The “Boilerplate” For Your Press Release
The boilerplate is a block of text that can be used repeatedly, just as an about page might be. It’s the summary of who you are and what you do. It usually goes at the end of a press release.
Here’s an example of a boilerplate from the popular marketing company, Hubspot:
HubSpot is the world’s leading inbound marketing and sales platform.
Over 14,000 customers in more than 90 countries use HubSpot’s software, services, and support to transform the way they attract, engage, and delight customers.
The reason to include a boilerplate is simple: it gives journalists something to pull from when they’re writing a story and need more information than you’ve included in the press release.
It saves them time, makes their job easier, and helps get your name in front of more people.
What Are Press Release Templates?
Press release distribution is a common practice used by businesses and public relations pros to get the word out about a new product, service, or company news.
While press releases were once distributed solely through email lists, there are now dozens of digital platforms that make it easy for small businesses to distribute their press releases to their target audiences.
Press release templates can help you create a professional press release for your business.
These templates generally include blank spaces for all of the important information that should be included in a press release.
Press release templates are available on multiple websites, but it’s important to download ones from reputable sources since they will often include all the necessary formatting.
Press Release Examples
Here are some of the best press release examples to inspire your PR strategies.
A few years ago, Google abandoned the dated term “press release” in favor of a model that mirrors how people actually consume information online: press + blog.
Google now writes and distributes news items for journalists and its own blog.
The company has even moved away from the word “announcement,” which is used to use for product launches, in favor of “news.”
Microsoft has an entire section of its site dedicated to its news releases and announcements.
In addition to press releases, it also posts videos of product demos, industry analyses and related content on its Microsoft News Center.
It’s designed to be a resource journalist can rely on when they need information about Microsoft.
Tesla uses press releases as they were intended — as a way to get news out to journalists.
The company publishes them on its website and distributes them via email.
Its newsroom is more of a library where you search for the right release by topic or date instead of having all the latest news readily available at your fingertips.
Tips for Publishing Press Releases
If you’re a business owner, you already know how important it is to promote your company.
After all, the more people who know about your products and services, the more sales you’ll make.
Publishing press releases is one of the most effective ways to get the word out about your business.
If you’re still unsure about whether or not press release marketing is for you, here are some of the many benefits of publishing press releases:
Press releases give your company credibility and provide third-party verification of your successes and expertise.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Publishing press releases can help boost the SEO of your website by sending new traffic to it and creating new inbound links.
Press releases can provide information to consumers that they need to make purchasing decisions, such as a new product announcement or upcoming sale event.
Improved Media Relations
Reporters often use press releases as sources for stories, so if they see that you regularly publish high-quality press releases, they’ll be more likely to work with you in the future.
Increased visibility for your company’s website. Publishing press releases on sites such as PRLog can help drive visitors to your site, which will help increase brand recognition and boost sales.
Here are some of our top tips for how to write a press release:
1. Optimize The Headline!
The headline is the first thing journalists and influencers will see, so it needs to grab their attention.
When writing a headline, think of a few different versions and how they’re going to look in an RSS reader.
You want something snappy that tells readers exactly what they’re getting into. There’s no need to get too fancy with this portion of the press release.
2. The Press Release Body Copy Is Key
The body copy should deliver all the relevant information and clearly explain why your announcement matters.
Take advantage of this section to demonstrate what the news means for your company, advise readers on next steps, and share your point of view in an authentic way.
If you have quotes from key stakeholders, include them in the body copy. The quote can convey more than what you’re announcing, so use it as an opportunity to convey how your company feels about the news and the larger industry impact of your announcement.
3. Be Crafty And Reach Out To Specific Journalists
So, your startup created a press release. But now what?
Many companies make the mistake of sending the same generic press release to every journalist they can find. This is the wrong approach.
A better way of going about it is to find specific journalists that cover your industry and then reach out to them individually with your press release.
This will let you tailor what you send to each journalist, increasing your chances of having them actually read and respond to your pitch.
The first step is to find a list of journalists that cover your topic or industry, either online or by searching through newspapers and magazines.
You can also ask other people in your industry who they tend to write about, or if they know any writers who cover their business as well.
Then, look at some of their work and see if it would be a good fit for what you have to offer.
If so, reach out with a query letter that offers an exclusive story idea or interview opportunity.
4. Release To Top Journalists The Day Before
If you’re going to send your press release to top journalists, do it the day before.
You might be thinking that you need to get the release out “as soon as possible.” But remember, the media has a lot on its plate.
So if you want to make sure that your release is read and given attention, it’s best if you send it just before the reporters are about to write their articles for print or online.
You can make your press release more engaging by adding multimedia content. For example, you can incorporate images, audio, and video in your press release.
Doing so will help engage more readers and generate more interest in your product or service.
Here are some tips:
Don’t use stock photos. Use original photos taken with a professional camera. If you’re not a photographer, hire one to take photos of your product.
Add a video clip of your product in action. It’s best if the video shows people using your product or talking about it.
5. Avoid Publishing Your Release On The Hour
When you publish your press release online, it is important to know when to hit that publish button.
You do not want to publish your press release at the hour mark. This means no publishing it at 9:00, 10:00, 11:00 and so on.
Many people are checking their email in the morning at the hour mark and then again around lunchtime.
This is also true for many of the larger PR sites such as PRWeb.
This means that you will want to publish your press release a few minutes before or after an hour mark.
I would recommend publishing it 2-3 minutes after or before the hour mark. This will ensure that you get the most traffic possible on your release.
6. Share Media Coverage
Whether you have one media hit or many, sharing your media coverage online is a great way to build credibility and promote your brand.
The more places you share your media coverage, the better.
You want to make sure you are reaching as many potential customers as possible.
Consider sharing on social media, in email marketing, on paid advertising, and on your website.
Once you have a piece of coverage to share, you can use it for months to come. If it’s a news outlet like Forbes or Entrepreneur where content is continually added, you can share it several times over the course of a year.
If you’re just starting out with press relations and don’t have any coverage yet, don’t worry.
It may take some time to build up media relationships and get your first hit, but there are other ways to get publicity for your business in the meantime.
How To Write A Press Release – Wrapping Up
If you want to get your business or brand in the news, writing a press release is a good way to do it. It’s also something that’s easy to learn how to do — and free!
I hope this guide on how to write a press release has helped demystify the process of writing a press release.
Just a few more tips to make sure your press release is absolutely awesome:
You’re almost there. Just remember to:
- Write the press release in third person unless you’re announcing something personal.
- Use real company or product names, and include a link to your homepage.
- Include a call to action that invites readers to click on the link to your homepage.)
- Make sure all your information is current (dates, names, etc.), and that it doesn’t contain any typographical errors.
If you follow these tips and the others from this guide to writing press releases, you’re likely to see positive results, but remember that the most important part of any press release is the story it tells.
So good luck and happy pitching!