Knowing how to write a press release will help you stay away from writing bad press releases. Bad press releases will ruin your relationship with the media and make your company look less than credible. The key to writing a good press release is knowing what to write, who to distribute it to and knowing the proper format. In this article, we will be discussing how to write a press release with seven essential tips that you need to know. Press releases are a good way to establish a favorable relationship with the media, and will encourage your audience to read more. Here are the seven tips that you need to know.
While press releases are an essential part of online marketing and digital communication, they’re tough to write, and few people understand their structure.
This is why companies and marketers often hire experts and journalists to write press releases for them. (Smart idea.)
But, how do you know what makes up a good press release, if you’re totally new to what a successfully written press release looks like? You need to be able to evaluate if your PR is going to be successful.
While press releases can feel foreign, they all contain certain elements. These elements should be present in all your press releases.
In the words of Robert Wyne, a prominent Forbes contributor, press releases “are formulaic, by nature, but so are poetry, tweets, columns and other written communications. Everyone has constraints. Chefs work within an 8-inch pan to create an omelet, and the great ones know how to pick the best ingredients and mix them to create a savory sensation. Writers can season their sentences within the confines of a release.”
When you know what to include in your press release and how to structure it, your PR material will be more official, credible, and useful for readers. Read our guide and be inspired on how to craft well-written press releases.
11 Steps to Writing a Press Release (Samples Included)
No matter if you run a digital marketing company or a record label management company — press releases are critical.
Ideal for telling the media, Google, and your readers that something new and exciting has taken place within your company, press releases can be used to announce new hires, partnerships, product launches, and more.
If you’ve never written a press release, don’t worry. Here are ten foundational tips to guide you through the process. Don’t have time to craft one? We can help.Learn what a good press release looks like and how to write one with @JuliaEMcCoy's 11-step press release writing guide. 📰 #pressrelease Click To Tweet
1. Use the Correct Release Language
If you’re ready for your press release to go out to the public right now, use the words “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” at the top of the press release. If you need to hold the release until a certain date, however (this is commonly the case in product launches), put HOLD RELEASE UNTIL before your specified date.
This is an important piece of your press release article because it tells readers and journalists when you want to see your article on the web or in print. It also gives you control over when the press release hits the media, which can have a massive impact on the success of your press release efforts.Remember: Write 'FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE' if you want your #pressrelease to go out to the public ASAP; 'HOLD RELEASE UNTIL + date ' if you want to hold it until a certain date. 📝 Read more PR writing tips here. Click To Tweet
2. Use Your Company Logo and Colors
You know that branding is critical pretty much everywhere else on the web, so why not in a press release?
To make your PR more recognizable and impactful, use your company’s logos and colors in the headline section. Check out how the football team The Miami Dolphins did it in this recent press release:
Notice they also included their contact information at the top of the PR rather than the bottom. That’s totally acceptable – it’s just up to you to decide what you like better!Branding is critical even on your press release. Use your company's logo and colors in the headline section! 🏷️ Read more about @JuliaEMcCoy's 11 steps to writing a good press release. Click To Tweet
3. Include Keywords in Your Press Release Headlines
Headlines should include the keywords you’ve chosen to target in your press release. This makes them easier for search engines to find and rank, and helps ensure that your readers and the media understand the subject of the press release. Remember that you don’t want to go overboard with the keywords — just include them naturally throughout.
Check out how GameStop does this in a press release published January 22, 2017. In this case, you could safely assume the keywords the company is targeting include “Nintendo Switch systems”:
Beyond that, all words in your headline should be in Title Case, meaning that all the words in your headline should have capitalization except for prepositions and words that are shorter than 4 letters. You can see an example of this in the headline above.
For best results, keep your headline to fewer than 160 characters. Longer than that and readers will find it too long. You’ll also risk having your headline truncated by Google.PR headline writing tips: ✒️ 1) Use keywords, ✒️ 2) Write in title case, and ✒️ 3) Keep them short up to 160 characters. Read more PR writing tips in @JuliaEMcCoy's PR guide. Click To Tweet
4. Write a Summary Paragraph
The summary paragraph should be short, no more than 5 sentences and should be written to give the reader an overview of your press release.
This is a critical little paragraph since it helps readers understand immediately whether they should interact with the press release or move on to find something that suits their needs more closely. It can also help busy journalists understand what your press release covers and pick it up if they see fit.
Here’s an example of what a good summary paragraph looks like, from a recent Vail Resorts press release:
Also notice how this press release provides two bullet points at the top, designed to give the press some fast facts about the acquisition. That’s a great trick!
To make your summary paragraph interesting and compelling to readers, use it to include the most relevant and exciting information, and lay out the key points of the press release.
When you provide value early on, your readers can decide whether to stay or go.'The summary paragraph is a short -- with no more than 5 sentences -- paragraph providing an overview of the press release. Be sure to use the most relevant and exciting information that will keep your readers reading.' - @JuliaEMcCoy… Click To Tweet
5. Include the City, State, Month, Day, and Year
While press releases are meant for wide audiences, it’s also important to tie them into your geographical location.
This means that including your local information is critical. As you compose the press release, add the city, state, month, day, and year of its publication.
Here’s another example of what that looks like, called out in the same Vail press release:
This will put your press release into context and orient the reader about the date and time of your article. What’s more, current city and publication date information helps readers recognize the press release as recent and relevant.'Local information is critical. Add the city, state, month, day, and year of the press release's publication to let your readers recognize the PR is recent and relevant.' - @JuliaEMcCoy on her 11 steps to writing a #pressrelease Click To Tweet
6. Craft Your First Paragraph
The first paragraph, also known as the “lead” of the press release should contain the gist of your press release.
There are 6 elements that should be present here:
- Who. Who is the press release about? Who is your company or the main players involved in this document?
- What. What is the topic of the press release? Why should readers care?
- Why. Why are you sending out the press release? How does it affect your customers or readers?
- When. When is the subject of the press release (the product release or new hire, for example) taking place?
- Where. Where is your company located? If there’s an event people need to know about, where is it taking place?
- How. How does the subject of your press release provide value? How does it help your readers?
Including this information will better orient the reader and help them understand your press release’s purpose.
Check out how NASA includes all these elements in a press release issued February 20, 2017:
🛎️ Your #pressrelease should always answer the five Ws and one H - who, what, why, when, where, and how. 🛎️ Know more about these elements in @JuliaEMcCoy's post about PR writing. Click To Tweet
7. Develop the Body of the Press Release
The body of your press release should expand the content of the first paragraph. Each paragraph should be no more than 3 or 4 sentences. Break up the body accordingly, but make sure that each paragraph is cohesive and flows well from the preceding paragraph.
This paragraph is where you will explain your new product, your discovery or any advances that your company has made. You should also include quotes, if they are available. This will give your readers an objective view of your press release and, if you quote experts, should make your press release stand out as credible.'The #pressrelease body expands the content of the first paragraph. Each paragraph shouldn't be more than 3 or 4 sentences, cohesive and flows well from the preceding paragraph.' - @JuliaEMcCoy on her 11 steps to PR writing. Click To Tweet
8. Wrap It Up with a Compelling Last Paragraph
Consider your last paragraph a space for your closing remarks. If you are launching a new product, place the product’s availability here. You can also put the product’s trademark and any pertinent information that you may have that doesn’t fit into the body.
To put it another way: this paragraph should give your reader all the information he or she needs to understand the “next steps,” regardless of whether that’s where to find your upcoming event or how to contact your new HR manager.
In some cases, a last paragraph can even be used to include a relevant influencer quote, like this press release, published on FloridaTrend.com, does:
'Wrap up your press release by telling your reader what to do next. Write about a launching product's availability and trademark, an event's date and venue, or the said person's/business' contact info.' - @JuliaEMcCoy on PR writing. Click To Tweet
9. About the Company (Boilerplate Information)
This is the place where you can write (briefly) about your company. You can put your company’s merits and achievements here, but don’t make it too long, since this will put you at risk of sounding like you’re hard-selling your company.
Boilerplate information is designed to give journalists something with which to offer readers context and can help make your company more recognizable and professional.Your PR's boilerplate information should talk briefly about the company -- its merits and achievements. 🏆 Read more PR writing tips in this guide by @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
10. Add Your Current Contact Information
Once journalists or customers read your press release, they may want to know how to contact you. This is why it’s so critical to include your current contact information in your press release. For best results, include your email address, telephone number and a link to your company’s website and social profiles. Make sure that the information you include is current so people never have any trouble getting ahold of you.'Don't forget to include your current contact information so journalists and readers will know how to reach you. This includes your email address, telephone number, website, and social media profiles.' - @JuliaEMcCoy on PR writing Click To Tweet
11. Tie It Up with a Bow
At the end of your press release, you should include the word END or ###. This will tell your readers that nothing follows. It also tells journalists that the end of the press release has been reached.How do you end a press release? Just type 'END' or '###' to tell that it's the end of the PR and nothing else follows. 👏🏽 Read more in @JuliaEMcCoy's 11 steps to good #pressreleasewriting Click To Tweet
Fast Tips for Better Press Releases
Now that you understand the overall structure of the press release, let’s talk about how to write a great one. Here are a few tips, ranging from your voice to how to put the press release together.
- Write in Third Person. Unless you’re using a direct quote, the phrases “I” and “we” don’t have a place in press releases. A professional voice is critical and will take you far.
- Write to Your Readers. Press releases are meant for readers. Take a walk in their shoes to understand their perspectives and concerns.
- Keep It Brief. Press releases should be one page, or between 400-500 words.
- Don’t Beat Around the Bush. A press release is no place for jargon or inefficient communication. Make your point clearly and remove any words, phrases, and approaches that don’t help clarify your point immediately.
- Keep the Adjectives to a Minimum. Adjectives are distracting and difficult to read. Limit them for clearer and more efficient press releases.
- Keep It Objective. Readers will respond better to a press release that gives the details of a show than they will to one that simply tells everyone how great an upcoming event is. The more objective your press release can be, the better.
- Get Rid of Jargon. Jargon makes your press release difficult to understand and inaccessible for many readers. Cut it out wherever possible.
- Proofread and Edit Carefully. Do your own careful review to avoid costly errors. This will save you from troublesome spelling and grammar mistakes and make your PR look more professional.
- Don’t Syndicate. Once the preferred method of press release distribution, syndication is now dead. While some brands used to spend thousands of dollars each month to distribute their press releases, experts like Tim Grice have since come out to say that there is “no value in press release syndication for SEO purposes.” Instead of taking this approach, share your press release with local media outlets. You’ll enjoy a better ROI and your press release will get more traction.
- Follow-up by Phone or Email. Once you’ve sent your press release out to your local media outlets, follow-up with a phone call or email. This personal touch can help cement your press release on a journalist’s radar and make it easier for them to remember.
- Include Relevant Keywords. These keywords should be searchable and relevant to the topic of your press release.
- Don’t Overstuff. Going overboard on keywords will give your press release a spammy, dense feeling, which you don’t want. Don’t overstuff or you risk turning your readers off.
- Use Multimedia. Multimedia elements like videos or images can be fantastic for enhancing your press release. Use them sparingly, though, so as not to overwhelm the text.
Better Press Releases Start Here
When you know what it takes to write a great press release, it’s easier to do it in house. This gives you greater control over your press releases and makes authoring them on your own simple and fun.
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Because the structure of a press release is pretty standard, numerous content writers erroneously think that creativity has nothing to do with first-class press release writing skills. While the format of a press release leaves very little room for surprise, its content should make your announcement truly stand out. After all, your main goal is to capture the attention of numerous media channels; to deliver a meaningful, compelling message; and to create buzz around your product release, upcoming event, and any other newsworthy element that you plan to put on full display. Are you worried that your press release writing skills might be a little rusty? Start implementing these 5 amazingly effective tips to craft informative, attention-grabbing press releases, enabling you to get a significant amount of media coverage.
Here’s the scenario:
Your company has decided that it needs to publish four press releases a quarter in order to leverage the Internet marketing, content marketing, and public relations opportunities created from online releases.
The question is:
How do you come up with enough topics to create quality releases each and every quarter?
Actually, there are a bunch of ways. And many of them are right under your nose.
Consider the following strategies as you create press releases for your company throughout the next year of operation. By the end of it, you’ll have figured out which work best for you, your company, and your audience, and you’ll be prepared to increase your content marketing initiatives in the years to come.
It has long been understood that a well-written press release with newsworthy appeal and relevance will get attention. But many businesses continue to write releases that don’t fit the bill, often hindering their image instead.
10 Top Tips To Guide You In Writing a Great Press Release
1. Make it relevant. A news release won’t garner attention if it’s not newsworthy. You have to craft it well. A good rule of thumb: does it read like a news story—is it factual yet engaging, and does it represent you well? If not, go back and re-sketch. Consumers can see the difference between credible news and promotional gun slinging. A sales pitch with lots of superlatives will go nowhere. So skip the hard sell.
2. Always incorporate keywords. You can’t underestimate the importance of search engine optimization. SEO is the fastest way to get your press release into the hands of your target market. You need to know which keywords best convey your service or brand and then incorporate it within the headline, summary, body, and even in the About the company section.
3. Know your audience. Keep your target audience in mind. Speak the language a consumer can understand and relate to. Is your product geared more to a particular audience than another? It’s better to pitch within your market than to be all over the board.
4. A short and sweet headline. When creating a headline, focus on two things: positioning for search (a keyword phrase) and creating a compelling-clickable title. The best headlines do both by conveying the content of the release. Though there is no standard limit on how many words to use in a headline, Google New’s guidelines suggest fewer than 23 words; and to be displayed on Google’s SERP use 67 characters (letters and spaces combined) or less.
5. Never write in the first person, or use the word “you.” Always write in the third person. Businesses who write in the “you” form potentially risk being targeted as spam. Moreover, it’s unprofessional.
6. Embed, embed, embed. Today’s press release is no longer the announcement of yesterday. Now you can include pictures, audio, video, and other multimedia components. They bring context to your content and give the consumer a chance to interact with you. So it just makes sense to become familiar with the new online template of today.
7. Use simple language. Now that everyone has access to your news release—from the everyday layman to industry experts—skip the industry-specific language, unless it’s essential to communicate your message. You could potentially turn away readers if they can’t understand your terminology. Brevity and clear writing is key.
8. Link it. Everything is on the Web today, so make sure you provide a list of clickable links to your brand website, blog, or social media sites. If you can, try to include anchor texts in three different keywords of the body text, with one linking to an internal page other than your homepage. It goes without saying that wherever you send your reader, it needs to enhance your brand or product.
9. Include quotes. Always include one or two quotes in the body text. Quotes give you authority, making you sound credible. Give reference to the person at the end of the quote, instead of in between sentences.
10. Don’t forget contact information. It’s important that people can contact your business. Besides that, many publishers will not accept your submission without contact details. Include media contact person, address, phone, email, and website.
Hopefully, these tips can help you enhance your PR writing. But if writing a news release feels intimidating, let us take on your press writing for you.
A knowledgeable press release writer can create press that will increase your exposure, putting you in a better position to be picked up by reputable media outlets and other well-established sites—such as bloggers, industry experts, or key-note organizations—thereby directing target traffic to your business, brand, or service.
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