Does your business desperately need media coverage to highlight a new product line or get some recognition for an initiative?
Press releases are the key to getting the attention of your local newspapers, magazines, or television stations. Before you can start sending out releases to journalists, there are some things you should know about writing these concise documents.
Keep reading below to learn how to write a press release. We’ll discuss when you should consider writing one, what parts it needs to have, how to make it stand out among the competition, and finally how to make the entire drafting process easier for you or your staff.
When To Consider Writing a Press Release?
While press releases are still effective in getting publicity for your business, it can be challenging to know when they should be used. They shouldn’t be used for everything and you don’t want to send out too many.
Here are some typical reasons to write a press release:
- Businesses can send out a press release to announce a new product or service
- Something newsworthy happened at your company, like someone being promoted or your staff winning an award
- Many companies optimize press releases for SEO to help boost rankings
- If your business needs to make an official comment about an issue or trend
- To gain media coverage for upcoming events
As you can see above, there are multiple reasons to use press releases. Many newspapers or magazines will publish your press releases as-is. Any media coverage you receive will help spread the word about your key products or events.
News reports on your business can also be used as social proof on your website.
The Anatomy of a Press Release
Did you know that press releases have been used for over a century? They have changed a bit over the years but the core formatting has remained the same. In this section, we’re going to discuss the anatomy of a press release.
The two most important elements of your press release are the subject line and headline. Most releases are sent via email so you want to grab a news organization’s attention. Above the headline, you should include your contact information and an official logo from your company.
Next, you will include what’s known as a dateline with your location and the date. Then, you can go straight into the release itself.
Your press release body should include a few tightly written paragraphs that answer the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where, and why). It’s more effective to keep your press release to one page.
At the very end of the release, you will include a one-paragraph boilerplate about your company. Include relevant details about your business, your mission statement, and even keywords. The best boilerplates have a call-to-action and a link back to your company’s website.
Some press releases include digital media like photographs or short videos. If you want a media outlet to publish these items with your release, you should attach them as documents (as long as they aren’t too large to bog down their email server). It’s also a good idea to write a caption or brief description with attribution.
Tips on How To Write a Press Release
Now that you understand the basic format of a press release, let’s go over how to write a professional press release.
Always keep your audience in mind when writing a release. In this case, your audience is a reporter or editor. They are very busy and receive hundreds of press releases a day. It’s your job to send them something newsworthy that isn’t wasting their time.
Follow these press release writing tips:
- Don’t write a press release unless your information is “newsworthy,” meaning it would be interesting to a news outlet
- Not everything that happens in your company needs to be made into a press release
- Write your press release like a reporter, keep it short, tight, and providing the necessary facts
- Include quotes from your leadership or relevant staff members
- Incorporate SEO keywords into your press release
- Try tailoring your press release to different publications
- Follow-up with reporters or editors, but don’t pressure them into running your release
- Journalists expect press releases to be in AP-style so it’s a good idea to pick up a manual
The most important thing to remember is that most reporters or editors will start off by skimming your press release to see if it’s something they’re interested in.
That means all of the most important information should be in the first couple of sentences. Then, if they are interested, they’ll read everything. This principle is known as the “inverted pyramid,” which is used in news writing.
Need Help? Find a Press Release Template
The idea of writing a press release can be intimidating if you’ve never done it before or if you have no experience in public relations. Not all businesses have the resources to hire a PR professional or agency. If this sounds like your business, you can get your hands on press release templates to get started.
These templates are formatted with everything you need. All you have to do is fill in your information over the placeholder text. The documents are also sized for a standard sheet of paper (8.5″ x 11″), font (Times New Roman or Arial), and margins.
Many of these templates are available for a free download! See more information here about crafting your press release and how to get your hands on effective templates.
Obtain Media Coverage for Your Business
We hope you understand more about how to write a press release after reading this blog. A well-crafted release can get your business the attention it needs from local or national media. You can use media coverage as social proof and, at the end of the day, it will get you more sales.
Are you looking for other business articles to give you a competitive edge? Check out the rest of our site to learn about blogging, selecting the right business software, and how to do direct mailing effectively.