How To Write a Press Release in 11 Steps
Press releases are an important part of any digital marketing strategy. Writing news releases can be an opportunity to disseminate important information, increase your branding and even improve your SEO. Here, you’ll find important steps on how to write a press release successfully.
What is a Press Release?
A press release is typically defined as an important story or statement that is sent to members of the news media. The press release covers the who, what, why, when, where and how of the information. Press releases are composed of specific structural elements, including a heading, intro, body, boilerplate and more.
What is a Press Release Used For?
In business, press releases are typically used to announce partnerships, events, structural changes, new hires, new products or anything else considered newsworthy. The goal of a press release is to have the information in the release to be distributed to a target audience in the most objective way possible.
From announcing new products, events or new hires to introducing a partnership with a community organization, press releases are an ideal way to share with the world the good things your company is doing.
How Do You Write a Press Release?
Following the template of an already existing press release example is an easy way to create a press release, but the problem is that press release samples can sometimes be hard to come by that match your specific needs. Press releases have a specific structure that needs to be met, which is why many companies outsource them to experts. You can simplify the process and cut costs if you learn the basic elements of how to write a press release on your own.
There is a basic formula that every press release follows, which gives constraints on your writing that help structure the information. While the formula should be followed, the creativity and taste come with word choice, sentence structure and credible information. So without further ado, here are some key steps on how to write a press release.
1. Choose the Correct Language
The first step to consider when learning how to make a press release is the specific language that you use. Some press releases are rushed and announce information that needs to get out right away. In this case, the words “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” should be placed at the top of the release. You can also write a press release early for a future event, just make sure to designate the date and instead use the words “HOLD RELEASE UNTIL” at the top of the document.
You want to control when your press release hits the media and the public, and this is the best way to do that. Choosing a specified publish date for your news release allows you to tell journalists and readers when you are ready for the information to print or be released. When you share a press release can greatly affect the success of your content marketing campaign.
2. Stay Consistent With Company Colors and Logo
You’ve worked so hard to create a brand and logo that customers associate with your products, and making a press release is one of the key times you should use it. Branding is critical when considering steps to writing a press release, and your company’s colors and logo should always be present in the headline section. For example, check out this press release example from the Utah Jazz:
The organization starts the press release with their logo and colors, ensuring that readers know exactly who is sharing the information. For bigger brands, this is one of the easiest ways to catch people’s attention and make sure they read the release. Similar to a headline, your logo and colors may be the deciding factor of if interested parties actually read the press release or not.
3. Keywords, Keywords, Keywords
Before you write your press release, you should have keywords chosen to try and expand your reach organically. Keywords are vital to making your release accessible and ranking higher with search engines. They can also help the media and readers better understand the subject and content of the press release.
Don’t overdo it; keywords should be placed naturally throughout the content rather than stuffed in unnatural places. For many online press release distribution platforms, they only allow a select number of targeted keywords and/or links out of your release. Be sure to choose them wisely.
Press Release Title Tips
When it comes to the press release headline, you should be using Title Case. This means that any word in your headline that has four or more letters should be capitalized, unless it is a preposition (for, on, after). Also, you should try to use one of your main keywords within this headline. See the picture below from Dick’s Sporting Goods for a good example of using a keyword as well as title case in your press release:
Press release headlines should be under 160 characters with spaces, so readers can quickly skim what the announcement is about and determine if they want to read.
4. Include a Strong Summary Paragraph
The first paragraph in a press release is the summary paragraph. This paragraph has a few important functions and guidelines:
- No longer than five sentences
- Give the reader a summary of the information in the press release
- Draw the readers attention to read the release
- Attract the attention of journalists skimming through many press releases
- Include bullet points at the top to draw additional attention
- Add the most exciting and relevant information along with the key points
When readers find value in a press release immediately after they start reading, they are likely to continue. This is your chance to grab their attention and ensure higher press release visibility.
5. Important Information to Include
Within the meat of your press release, you need to have some very specific details that help narrow down who the information should matter to. In many cases, this boils down to a local demographic. Press releases can be spread throughout the world, but they should always be tied to a specific location. That means every press release needs the month, day, year, city and state. Local information is necessary to give the readers the date and time of your release and put the information in context.
See the press release example below from Sephora:
6. Writing the First Paragraph of Your Press Release
As with any piece of content, the first paragraph works as the lead of the press release and should include six elements: who, what, why, when, where and how.
- Who: who are the main players, who is the company and who is the release about?
- What: what’s your topic and why do readers care about it?
- Why: why did you choose this time to send out a press release and how will it affect the readers?
- When: when is the new hire, the product release or the other event taking place?
- Where: where is the event being held or where is your company?
- How: does your release help your readers and provide a valuable experience, and how?
If readers can pick out these elements from the first paragraph of a press release, they are better able to understand the overall message of the release. The press release example from Sephora above also does a good job in the first paragraph to address these six important elements.
If you can succinctly answer these six questions, you’re well on your way to learning how to write a press release.
7. The Body of the Press Release
The content in the press release’s first paragraph should be expanded throughout the body of the release. Limit paragraphs to three or four sentences and make sure they are cohesive. Although there should be a clean break between information in each paragraph, the previous one should flow seamlessly into the next.
The body of the press release is your chance to share the exciting things that are happening – advances the organization has made, a new discovery, a new hire or a new product. If you have quotes, this is the time to use them. They lend credibility to your press release and give readers an objective view from an expert.
Remember, though, to not be too wordy in the body. This is still a news release and people are really only interested in the facts. Getting too flowery or explain-y in this portion of the press release can turn off readers. For a more detailed explanation of the newsworthy item, consider crafting a supplementary blog on your site that expounds on any of the additional details your devoted readers would like to know about.
8. Your Concluding Paragraph
In all reality, when learning how to write a press release you can approach it just like any other type of content. Your goal is to catch the attention of the reader from the beginning, provide relevant, credible, interesting information in the body and then wrap it all up with a compelling conclusion. Your conclusion is what would be your closing remarks if you were giving a speech. This is also the place to put any necessary information that didn’t fit in the body of the release.
The concluding paragraph of your press release gives your reader continuity to the next step. It could be something as simple as contacting a new supervisor or trying out a new product. It’s a great place to put expert opinions and quotes that motivate the reader to learn more about what you are announcing.
The following example of a press release title and concluding paragraph from McDonald’s shows why the company is hosting the All American Games:
9. Boilerplate Information About the Company
The boilerplate of the press release should be a brief summary of information about the company. Include achievements and merits here but it shouldn’t sound as if you are trying to promote or sell the company. This information allows journalists to put content into context for the readers. It also makes your company sound more professional and recognizable.
Essentially this is your elevator pitch that makes you recognizable and unique and allows you to briefly sum up who the company is and what it stands for.
10. Contact Information
Since making a press release is a way to attract customers and media attention, the press release should have information about how to contact you. Always ensure that your contact information is up to date and current. Include at least a few of the following things:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Link to company’s social profiles
- Link to company’s website
This press release example from Target shows you how a larger company may choose to share their contact information when writing a press release:
If readers can’t get a hold of you after reading a press release, then you’ve wasted your time. This may be one of the most simple, yet important steps of how to do a press release.
11. Finish it Up
Every press release should wind up with the symbols ### or the word END. This informs readers that the release is completed and there is nothing more to read. This is a simple part of how to write a press release, but not one you want to forget.
Additional Tips for How to Write a Press Release
Now you have the formula and the structure of press releases, but the key to figuring out how to write a press release comes in the actual creation, distribution and optimization. If you want to stand out above the rest and draw the attention of the media and your reader, we have a few tips to help:
Press Release Writing Tips
- Write to the reader, but in third person.
- Always use a professional voice but try to place yourself in the reader’s shoes.
- Optimal releases are between 400-500 words and no longer than one page.
- Get right to the point and avoid inefficient communication and jargon.
- Limit adjectives as they are often difficult to read and distracting.
- Write objectively and remember you are giving information rather than selling something.
- Always proofread and edit; a simple typo can cancel any credibility you have.
Press Release Distribution Tips
- As well as syndicating for SEO purposes, try contacting local media outlets to share your release for better traction and return on investment.
- After sending out your release, always follow up with the outlet by email or phone to offer a personal touch and help a journalist remember you.
- Use a distribution service like Cision (PRWeb) to get maximum exposure.
Press Release Optimization Tips
- Don’t stuff keywords as it makes the content seems dense and spammy, which quickly turns readers off.
- Use relevant keywords sparingly and naturally so readers can easily find your content when searching.
- Use images or videos to enhance a press release but remember that the overall focus should be on the text.
Now You Know How to Do a Press Release!
When you’re first starting out, figuring out how to write press releases can seem overwhelming. The fact that they are so important to your company may seem intimidating to the average writer. The reality is that if you follow the formula above and allow for a little bit of creativity and detail to be added to your sentences, you may find that writing your own press releases is fun and simple.
If you need to write a press release but don’t want to have to do it yourself, let us take care of it for you! Check out our press release writing services.
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