We understand that this question may pop up from time to time, especially in a world where social media is a constant and immediate source of content for the media outlets. They don’t rely that much on formal announcements to craft their stories any more. But that’s precisely why press releases are still very important pieces of communication – because they are official.
That’s right – it’s a magic little word that adds a whole new status to this medium. It means that the information comes directly from the source, and therefore is meant to be authentic and trustworthy. It grants the message an additional edge in actually influencing the audience’s perception of the organization in question. So, whenever any organization wants to make a formal announcement regarding anything that’s relevant, a press release is still the way to go. In a world of increasing noise, press releases are the focused, reality-checked pieces of content that can be trusted (at least in theory).
There’s also a powerful aspect of press releases that many people forget: they help organizations build relationships with media-savvy people. This is incredibly helpful whenever you need your message to be out there in the spotlight. So, yeah, you see where we’re going with this. Press releases are still incredibly important, and so they shall remain for the longest time.
Let’s add some quick bullet points here on why you should learn how to create a press release – in the best way possible. Apart from the obvious fact that it creates awareness for your company, brand and message, press releases have the following benefits:
- Made for the right audience – that is, media professionals
- Highly authoritative, because it comes from the official source
- May build or improve your relationships with the media
- Give you some degree of control over your digital presence
- Can boost your SEO! (More on that later)
- Their main cost is associated with the writing, which means they’re cost-effective
And, just like any other communication piece, guess what? A press release needs to stand out.
Yep. Consider a small problem that comes with the whole “too much information” scenario that we currently live in. Just being official isn’t enough – it needs to be catchy, attractive and interesting. Otherwise, it might not even be picked up by the media at all.
That’s a crucial aspect of this content format. Because apart from being the “real deal” – as specified above – press releases are created for a specialized/segmented audience. Which audience would that be? The media, of course. Journalists, reporters, public relations professionals – in short, communications-oriented people.
They’re the ones who need to pick it up, precisely because they will replicate it, write about it, comment on it. In short, they’ll add visibility to the message. So we’re going to give some interesting tips on how to write a good press release. Not an ordinary one, but one that will actually stand out. Sounds like a deal?
Here are our main tips for writing a press release. You’re welcome.
- Are you gonna add some goals to that?
- When should I create a press release?
- Press release types – yep, they exist
- Create a truly incredible headline
- Provide specific – and necessary information
- Start with the lead
- Work the body
- Maybe add a powerful quote
- The famous boilerplate
- All relevant press contacts
- Remember to keep it short
- Follow established standards
- Some other really good tips
- Knowing how to write a press release can also help your SEO
1. Yep, goals are also a thing with press releases
Just like they are with everyday life. With goals, everything is more focused. You need specific objectives to give your press release more purpose. We’re thinking about broad goals here – the actual announcement, digital presence, social media buzz/following, brand awareness – but feel free to go for the more specific ones too (traffic, rankings, conversions, etc.). In either case, it’s a good idea to keep them in mind – in the end, specific goals might dictate how to write a press release.
2. "WHEN to write a press release" is just as important as "how to write a good press release"
It’s important to consider what exactly you’re broadcasting with your press release – and why exactly it’s newsworthy. Is it an important event to do with your business? Are there other news stories related to it going around? Are there viral social media posts – or news pieces – that you could maybe integrate into your own press release (the popular “newsjacking” technique)? And, last but not least, does this story have an emotional, engaging angle you can use? This one’s important precisely because it’s what will determine its success – or lack of. Emotive stories in press releases, just like in every piece of content, are much more effective. Those are important questions to reflect upon before considering how to write a news release.
3. Before creating your press release, let's be clear about some of its different types
What exactly does a press release cover, and why? Different press releases have different needs. Let’s go over a few – the most important ones at least. But please keep in mind that there are many other types and situations out there.
- Products: directed at the launch of new products, providing specific details about their purpose, specs, characteristics, etc.
- Hirings: for announcing new, relevant personnel joining the ranks of a company or organization. It should include information about this person’s background, their job and what they will be doing in the company.
- Special announcements: whenever something out of the ordinary or urgent happens and it’s important to get the message out as soon as possible. Changes in the company, new and exciting findings (when related to research or science, for example), partnerships, emergency-related announcements, etc.
- Awards and recognition: either to people related to/employed by the organization, or in the event of an award to the company itself. Examples: most innovative enterprise, top manager, etc. Some details about the award and the recipient are always welcome here.
- Crisis situations: because press releases aren’t just about the happy moments and achievements. Sometimes issues might arise and official statements will be required – probably even more so than in other circumstances.
4. The almighty headline: it's how every truly great press release starts out
If we had to choose the one thing about how to create a press release then – you’ve guessed it – it would be the headline. Just like other content pieces out there, the headline is critical in catching the eye of the reader and inviting them to read further. A powerful title has to entice the potential reader to want to find out more. And keep in mind this is no ordinary reader – it’s a press/communications professional. Which means you should double your efforts to write a special and truly captivating headline, because it’s very likely to be a tad harder to make them notice it.
5. Necessary information is necessary
Where is your company located? Where is the reported event taking place exactly (if applicable)? Who is the person responsible for any further clarification regarding this specific matter, and what are their contact details? This kind of information would be placed here, right below the headline. Not only is it pretty relevant to the topic at hand, but it also helps to put it into context.
6. The lead – what a very appropriate name, don't you think?
This part should be a summary of the entire content of your press release in one strong, focused sentence. This one also ranks among the most important items, because it’s where people will look for the most critical information. Work well on the tone, angle, wording – everything that will make it attractive. And always consider: why should anyone care? This helps to make it more interesting. Also consider adding a strong hook – something to lead the audience to the next step.
7. The body – where it all comes together
You can’t reflect on how to write a good press release without giving special attention to the body, where all the information is provided in more detail. Here is where you have more room to explain everything – the whole story, in essence. Also, it’s where you have more freedom to create a few paragraphs. But always keep in mind that the information needs to be clearly presented, and it should be scannable – at least to some degree. Remember that these professionals receive a lot of pitches every single day, which means they will likely not read this in its entirety.
8. Insert catchy, interesting and/or powerful quote here
Whatever your press release is about, we’re certain there’s someone of relative importance attached to it inside your organization. Especially if it’s a new product launch or discovery. Get this professional to say something about the occasion – preferably something engaging, compelling and memorable.
Why are quotes so important in press releases? Well, for one, they clarify the subject and make it easier to understand. Other than that, you’re basically providing any journalist who will cover this story with material they can easily use – and that very likely will be used – as part of their content piece.
9. The boilerplate – it's not a press release without one
The boilerplate copy is a staple item in every press release. It’s basically where you add a description of the organization involved. It should be short and explain what the company in question is all about. Information present here will include the name of the enterprise, its size, what it does and its mission statement, for instance. The founding date would also be a plus.
Here goes a generic (and obviously not real) example:
Fictitious Corporation has customers at a gazillion different places across the entire country. Operating since 1900, Fictitious has helped people find whatever product they’re looking for over many different segments. For further information, go to [include Fictitious Corporation’s pressroom address here]. Remember to check out our social media channels at [social media channel 1] and [social media channel 2].
10. Press contacts – leave your message after the beep
Although this one comes at the bottom, it’s also a very important step when considering how to create a press release. This is where the contact information for the person who will actually respond to any inquiries should be. A PR executive, media manager, communications professional – regardless of the job or position, all contact data for future questioning should be here.
11. By all means, keep it short. Unlike this article here
Yes, reader, sorry about the long article, but we really want to drive our point home and help you understand how to write a great press release. Not a simple one – a great one!
Anyway: always remember that journalists and other media professionals usually have long days with a lot of work to do, and deal with many – and we do mean many – press releases on a regular basis. With that in mind, don’t turn your press release into a novel. It will likely only be scanned quickly for the main information.
And do your best to keep it at a good level of readability. That is, try to make it as fun as possible to read – within limitations, of course. The more pleasant it is to read, the better chances it will have of reaching a bigger audience – as is the case with many other content pieces out there.
Also, keep in mind that – as we’ve mentioned before – press releases are important in building relationships with said professionals. If these pieces aren’t to the point and concise, they won’t help very much with that. Got it?
12. Not to say you shouldn't be creative, but standards are there to be followed
And by standards, we mean the official ones. Try to follow the guidelines of international press organizations such as the Associated Press and its stylebook – which can be found right here: https://www.apstylebook.com/
Why should you do that? Well, because journalists do it. And by doing it too, you’re going to make their lives simpler and your information easier to read – and use as well. They’ll like it, trust us on that.
13. Yet another chance to improve your SEO
Yes, your press release may help your SEO as well. Who knew? Here are the main ways:
- Keywords: by adding some special and strategic keywords to your press release – in a natural way, of course – you increase your website’s visibility for them.
- Links: apart from the possibility of adding links to your own website pages, you may get some extremely relevant – and helpful – backlinks from very cool websites to your own company’s website.
- Exposure: of course, we all know what good brand awareness can do to SEO. If your press release is really interesting and able to generate a lot of buzz, your brand may also start getting some good attention from search engines.
- Is it digital? Then go for every SEO tip in the book: page title, meta description, use of headers… make it shine bright like an SEO diamond.
14. Some very important tips for writing a press release
– apart from every other tip we’ve already provided
- Study different examples: before creating your press release, go over a few examples from different companies to get some valuable insights. Start with organizations similar to yours, and also check enterprises that operate in other fields. Press releases are supposed to be in the public domain, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding them.
- Stick to the format: as mentioned, by using established formatting you’ll make it easier for all professionals who come across your press release to work with it and find the information they need. So, in our humble opinion, the format is not the place to be creative – stick to what’s been done before.
- Information hierarchy: always remember to follow the “inverted pyramid” – as communicators and marketers call it – of information. The most important information comes first (what is the press release about, when is this taking place, what is the location of the event or company, etc.), the not-that-important information comes second (useful quotes, additional details, etc.), and the rest comes third (additional information such as the boilerplate, contact information, etc.).
- Focus on valuable information: don’t waste time and space on content that’s not 100% aligned with your message. Be sure to go with verified and truly valuable information. Yes, we know that sometimes not-so-useful information might surface. But do your best to avoid it. Focus is the keyword here.
- Avoid clichés: this one pretty much explains itself. Concentrate on new, interesting, fresh information and content. Don’t go for the beaten track; steer well clear of it. It will definitely help your work.
- Review and proofread it: if you’re not hiring an agency to do your press release – actually, even if you are – do review it down to the smallest details. Not only regarding proofreading (i.e. spelling and grammar), but also every single piece of information that appears in there. Remember, these pieces of content will be around for a long time. The company’s address, the contact information, the boilerplate info, the spacing, the alignment… in short, everything!
- When to send your press release: the easy answer here is early in the week, because stories that are sent at this time usually get more traction (maybe because it’s not close to the weekend?). Editors supposedly receive their assignments early in the week – mainly on Tuesdays – which means you should seriously consider sending your press releases on this particular day. Early Mondays will also do. Another interesting idea is to use an editorial calendar and plan your press release accordingly, including the main media outlets in it and their respective cut-off dates.
- Where to send your press release: it’s not enough to have important tips for writing a press release; it’s also necessary to know where to send them. And the answer is: relevant newspapers (obviously), local newspapers, blogs, influencers (if related to your organization), industry players, publications in your company’s niche, and any other stakeholder that you would consider critical for this kind of information.
- How to distribute your press release: also known in the SEO world as “doing outreach”. Basically, there are three approaches here.
- You choose a specific publication (or journalist) related to your organization and send it to them only.
- You contact selected journalists, bloggers and communication professionals – part of a reduced, but focused group – and allow them to broadcast your message further to their own contacts.
- You hire an agency/service to do this for you. In this particular case, the press release will certainly be massively broadcast among many contacts and picked up by many publications.
15. Conclusion: we still need to know how to create a press release. Maybe more than ever
Although something that’s more restricted to the realm of media professionals, a press release is still an incredibly important piece of communication. So much so that we firmly believe it’s a great idea for business owners to learn how to write a good press release. Especially the owners of smaller businesses, who tend to do a bit of everything, but also the ones from big companies. You never know when the situation will demand it from your organization and what kind of resources you will – or won’t – have to create this kind of content.
Even with the dawn of social media and a true excess of information – where anyone can pick up a story from a tweet, a Facebook post or an Instagram story – press releases continue to be important, precisely because they help communications professionals to craft their best content with focused and relevant information. By getting the word out to qualified professionals, who in turn will inform their respective audiences, press releases are still an immense help to any organization. So get good at writing them!