How To Write A Press Release Effectively
A press release is a short and captivating new story created by the public relations department of an organization and sent to select media persons. The reason for doing that is to pique their interest and curiosity. You can also call “press release,” a “news release,” or “media release,” it is the same thing.
Press releases are formal pitches, regarding new development in your business products or otherwise. Their aim of writing a press release is to promote your brand through publicity by journalists or media outlets.
What Are The Benefits Of Press Release?
No matter how large of a reach your business has, it cannot compete with the scope of media outlets. Sending press releases to journalists can get you more extensive marketing if the media outlet follows up and publishes your story.
If a media outlet uses your press release in a blog or article, it will link your company’s websites. These links, known as backlinks, have the potential to improve your search engine rankings.
A press release is also an excellent way to build a positive brand image. If your company is doing impactful work, coverage due to the press release can improve the perception of your business in comparison to your competitors.
When Should You Send Out A Press Release?
A press release can be sent out whenever you want to share a development about your business that you think should get coverage.
These developments should be:
- Impactful: How are people going to be affected by this development and information relating to it?
- Urgent: Is there an immediate need for coverage of the development
- Is the information or development about something or someone that is widely known?
If your development satisfies at least two of the above criteria, sending out a press release will be a good idea.
Key Ingredients To Write Your Successful Press Release
The most important part of a press release is the heading. Journalists and media persons are very busy and will only open an email if the title sounds interesting. Thus, headlines should be luring.
The next most important thing is the hook, the first paragraph, which should summarize your purpose of writing the press release. It should concisely answer the “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “why questions.
Your press release should also not be longer than two pages; you just need to provide enough information to the journalist to pique their interest. It should provide enough information for the news outlet to write their articles about the information in the press release.
Your press release should ideally follow this typical format:
- Location: Where is your company and where is the development happening
Formulating a press release that highlights company news can lead to business growth, but the release should grab attention.
Let’s look at the individual components of the format.
A Luring Headline
A successful press release has a lot to do with an appealing headline. Your headline should be exciting to get the attention of media people.
Your headline should be short and sweet. It should have action verbs, explicit language, and should not exceed a line.
Let’s take a look at some bad examples of press release headlines from the PR coach
Cheap granite worktops affordable quartz countertops low-cost kitchen work surfaces
This does not work: While your headline should have keywords for SEO, it should have other action words to make it more interesting. This headline consists only of keywords.
A unique new business
This does not work: There is no information provided about the new business or what it is the purpose of the company. Why would anyone read a press release with such a boring title?
Headlines should lure the media persons into reading your press release. They should not be poorly put together just for the sake of SEO. One keyword in a short and tantalizing headline is all you need.
Craft Your Hook
The first paragraph of your press release should hook the reporters into reading the entire thing.
It should be short, no more than 50-60 words, and should summarize the purpose as concisely as possible by answering “who,” “what,” “When,” “Where,” and “why” of your new product launch, development, or any update that you deem is newsworthy.
Take a look at the press release of Donate Life
to give you an idea of what a good intro should be like
Have a look at the first paragraph of DonateLife America’s press release. It answers all five questions.
- Who: The company that is involved, “DonateLife America.”
- What: “present its innovative commitments for initiatives designed to increase donor registration.”
- When: “Today”
- Where: “White House Organ Summit”
- Why: “Promote the National Donate Life Registry, educate people about living donations, and help end waiting lists.”
Once you have a tempting lead paragraph, the next step is to move on to the meat of your press release.
The body should then highlight the critical information and give details of essential facts. Information should be provided in the order of importance, with the least necessary information offered at the end. You can follow the inverted pyramid
style to write your press release.
Make sure your release is not longer than a page. Do not put in redundant information.
The body of the press release should ideally have a quote by key stakeholders in your company who are being directly impacted by the announcement. A quote highlights the importance of your development.
By the time readers reach the last paragraph, they have all the information they need to get going. So your concluding section should have creative details that strengthen your press release.
Write Your Boilerplate
A boilerplate is a copy that summarizes what your organization is and its purpose.
Your boilerplate should be easy to read and understand. Do not use any fancy jargon in it. It should include a link to your company’s website homepage. It should be short and straightforward and contain what the business aspires to be.
The boilerplate should be included at the end of every press release to make it easy for readers to contact you or find more information about the company.
Now that we have run you through writing your press release, let’s take a look at the types of press releases and some examples of it.
Types of Press Releases
There are a few types of press releases that you should be familiar with. Deciding on what type of press release you need will help you create its content in a better way.
Press Release for a New Product Launch
Product launch releases are self-explanatory. They are sent out to create a hype for a new release. Let’s take a look at this example of a press release from Marathon Brewing
The headline is clear and concise, and it will attract journalists to find out more about the new beer.
Your press release should mention where the news is taking place even before the introductory paragraph. In this case, the location is Boston.
Notice how the lead does not contain any fluff or any redundant information. It gets right to the point and mentions the purpose, i.e., a new product launch. The journalists are then made aware of the features of the new beer and the purpose of releasing the beer that makes it impressive.
The body starts by highlighting the essential purpose of the launch. The release adds importance to the launch by using a quote from the developer of the beer describing why the launch is impactful and the need to be fulfilled by the launch.
The rest of the body continues with less important information in order of importance. It is thus following the inverted pyramid style.
Press Release for New Hires
A press release for a new hire is not earth-shattering news, but it is a vital PR strategy. It can keep your organization on the map with journalists.
They’re an important tool for giving exposure to your company on business sections of newspapers or news outlets. An important point to note here is that you should choose an appropriate journalist. Sending a press release for a new hire to a journalist of a global news agency will not get you coverage. So, target local journalists.
Take a look at this press release from eBay:
This example is a great press release for a new hire. The headline is short and concise and mentions the name of the company.
The lead paragraph will pique the interest of journalists. It highlights Jamie Lanonne’s experience, including his job at Walmart eCommerce.
The release then further elaborates on his expertise in the body area, going in-depth about his career. It also contains quotes from stakeholders and why they thought he is a good hire.
It then includes a quote by Jamie Lanonne himself about why he is excited to join eBay and his plans for the future.
Study these examples to understand what a proper press release should be like. Apart from these two, press releases are also sent out for other purposes such as:
- Announcing a new partnership and highlighting why it is essential for the company’s future and the benefits of the partnership in the industry.
- If your company or someone in your company wins a notable award
Tips For Making an Impact With Your Press Releases
Know Why You’re Writing A Press Release
Before writing a press release, write the purpose and goal behind writing one. Are you writing because you need better rankings on SEO.
Are you writing the release for better advertisement leading to an increase in your social media following? Do you want to increase the following of your brand before embarking on a crowdfunding campaign?
You need to identify your goal before sending out the release because your goals will define your strategy.
Think Like A Journalist
They are going to be the ones reading your press release, so they need to find it interesting from the get-go. The information you provide should be relevant and concise; they should not have to read your text three times to understand your message.
A great way to do that will be to get a friend or colleague to read the news release and tell you whether the information was easy to understand and follow, or whether the headline was catchy.
Reach Out To Right People At The Right Time
You can follow all the right steps and end up writing the most tantalizing and captivating news release, but if you don’t send it to the right journalists or news outlets, all your efforts will go into vain.
Realize that not all journalists cover the same type of stories, some are only covering current affairs, some only covering food, some covering sports. You should not send your story to all the journalists because not all of them will have the audience that you want to read your news.
Identify the top and leading journalists in your industry and send out the press release to them only.
Send out your press release a day before your product or development goes live. Journalists are very busy and will need time to formulate a story before they publish it.
Share Your Success
If your press release is successful and gets published and advertised by the media, don’t shy away from sharing your success. Write stories from the articles written by the media about you to keep the excitement alive.
Now that you understand what a press release is, why they are important, and how to write one, you are ready to write your own.
Remember, your press releases should have the most luring and captivating headline you can think of in a one-liner. The first paragraph should lay out salient points and answer critical questions. Just don’t forget to add a boilerplate and you’d be good to go!