Thinking of getting some press buzz for your brand this year?
Did you know? Bad press releases can ruin your relationship with the media and make your company look less than credible.
That’s why press release writing isn’t a skill you just “know” — it’s one you build and learn. (A journalism major takes four years to earn in college!)
The key to writing a good press release?
Knowing what to write, who to distribute it to, and using the proper format.
Written correctly and with finesse, press releases can help you establish a favorable relationship with the media, not to mention encourage your audience to engage with your brand further.
How can businesses create a successful, professional press release for publication online?
Let’s deconstruct (and demystify!) the classic press release. ✅
Bad press release writing can ruin your relationship with readers and the media, not to mention your reputation. 👎 GOOD press release writing? A whole different story. 🏆 Learn the how-tos on the @ExpWriters Write Blog: Click To Tweet
How to Write a Press Release: 6 Must-Have Ingredients to Get Your PR Noticed
1. Newsworthy Material
Think about why your product, event, or service matters to the public. If you can’t answer, “What’s in it for them?” then skip the press release altogether.
2. Objective Tone
Write in third person and avoid using “we,” “I,” and “you.” Also avoid emphasis language, hyperbolic claims, and hype flags.
3. Clear and Condensed Information
Get to the point upfront and avoid using jargon. If you must use industry terms, define them in the piece.
4. Valid Contact Info
There’s nothing worse for a media rep to have than the wrong contact information. Use an up-to-date email and phone number within the media contact text.
5. Excellent Grammar and Spelling
Your press release will get crumpled up quickly if there are signs of poor grammar and typos. Proof and re-proof your piece before distributing it.
6. Relevant Quotes from the Sources
Whenever possible get a quote from an industry professional or executive. This gives you credibility and helps emphasize the message.
The Structure of a Published Press Release
How to write a press release is answered with our structure breakdown. (See a live PR example done right from Facebook and TuneCore.)
- Headline — Short and sweet attention grabber, no more than 65 characters
- Sub-headline — Builds on the headline, two sentences max.
- Dateline — The city where the news is originating and the date of the release
- Lead or intro paragraph — Generally answers the who, what, when, where and why questions; in other words, the facts
- Body — Minimum of 300 words, ideally no more than 600 words, provides supporting details, quotes, and call to action
- Boilerplate — Short paragraph with information about the issuing company or organization
- ### — Journalist PR designated sign that signals the end of the press release
Press releases also include a company’s logo and media contact information: at minimum, the name, phone number, and email address for the PR or media relations contact who can answer any questions regarding the material.
7 Tips to Write a Press Release That Gets Picked Up
Now that you’ve got press release formatting down, let’s dive into content. Here’s how to hone and craft your message for your press release so readers read it and news outlets pick it up.
1. Make Your Message Reader-Focused
When writing press releases, you need to know what point you’re trying to get across. Remember, what is newsworthy to you may not be relevant to the press.
Take into account who your readers are and make sure your press release will be something interesting to them. Forget why your news matters to the company and focus on why it matters for your reader or customer. This aligns with the media’s goals: to satisfy readers’ curiosity and fulfill their need for relevant information.
To help you decide whether your topic is newsworthy enough for a PR, check out this worksheet from PBS.
2. Get Inspiration
It’s never wrong to search Google for examples of press releases to use as inspiration for your PR. Look at the structure and format, the tone of voice used, and the information included in the samples you peruse.
Don’t forget to check out press releases that have already been written about your topic, and make sure that your particular press release is somehow innovative. If it’s a repeat of something that has already been published, forget it.
3. Stick to the Right Structure
A basic press release should follow a certain format. For example, the heading should always be bold and centered at the top of the page. The headline should include your keyword for SEO potential, too. Under your headline, you may put a sub-heading (usually in italics) that further develops your headline. Make sure to use your main keywords here, too.
Additionally, pay particular attention to the first paragraph of your press release. Structure it with engagement in mind because usually no one will read beyond the first paragraph. That means you should place all the relevant information right at the top. Follow the traditional structure of the inverted pyramid with the most important information on top and supporting data in the paragraphs to follow.
4. Use Concrete Quotes
Never quote the ambiguous “anonymous” in your press release. Quote someone who is an expert or at least has insightful information about the content of your press release. It’s good to include at least one quote in your article. Don’t quote someone who is overly promotional about your topic — make sure they have good insight, too.
5. Add Standard Company Information
At the end of your press release, add information about you or your company. This is something that journalists will use to get to know you or your brand better. It’s also a good way for them to contextualize your press release and look at you or your company as more credible. Add your achievements here (industry awards, record sales, online features, etc.) as well as contact information so people will know how to reach you if they have further questions.
6. Keep It Interesting
Knowing how to write a press release also means that you understand the value of multimedia. Place pictures, videos and audio in your press release. Not only will this benefit you by letting you be more searchable in Google Images, but it keeps the reader’s interest focused on your topic. Supporting multimedia, such as charts, graphs or actual video and audio will make your page look and feel more interactive. Above all, knowing how to write a press release means you understand how to keep it engaging.
7. Distribute Properly
The first step in reaching your target audience is knowing the “who/what/where” when distributing your PR. Don’t be out of scope with the type of media you’re trying to reach. There’s no way, for example, that a magazine focusing on cars will publish your press release on the latest and greatest in makeup.
It’s important to know who you’re writing for and why. Of course, it’s understandable to want your press release to reach a wider audience, but you have to place that into context. Don’t over-reach your audience or else your press release will just end up in the reporter or journalist’s recycling bin.
Your Next Press Release? Handled.
Knowing how to write a press release is a handy skill for anyone in business.
The keys to remember:
- Never forget the value of excellent content and good grammar. Bad grammar will make you look less credible and it will decrease the chances your press release will be published.
- Mind your structure and audience. There’s nothing reporters or journalists hate more than irrelevant news.
Don’t have the time or skills to write a press release, but need one ASAP?
Express Writers has bonafide press release writers with backgrounds in journalism at your disposal. Hire our team to get a professional, targeted, engaging press release news outlets will pick up.