How to Write a Press Release That’ll Get Your Story Covered
A press release is essential for your outreach strategy as a business owner, marketer or public relations specialist. Similar to how you create a website for promoting your brand overall, you can create a press release to get coverage for special announcements or business updates. This can be a product launch or new partnership.
It’s possible for you to do this yourself. Writing your own press release can save you money as well as make sure that the information you want to share about your business is being expressed accurately.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to write a press release that gets the attention you deserve, the best practices to follow, and some top examples for your inspiration.
What is a press release?
A press release is a written announcement that gives an update about your brand regarding the latest information you want to share with your greater community.
It’s usually pitched to a journalist requesting that they cover the story in their publication. Therefore, it’s written in third person. Because these writers are busy and the market is highly competitive, a press release is usually no longer than one page and follows a somewhat uniform set of guidelines that we’ll explain below.
How to write a press release
The following components are necessary to include during the process of creating an eye-catching press release that checks all the boxes:
Your company logo
Date and location
01. Your company logo
At the very top of your press release, you should draw immediate attention to your business. This is done in the form of your logo, and it allows the reader to immediately know who is reaching out to them.
If you don’t have a logo, it won’t take you long to create one. Using this intuitive logo maker, you’ll just need to answer a few simple questions, and then let the machine work its magic and generate tons of professional icons for you to choose from.
02. Bold headline
This is the absolute most important piece of content that your press release contains. Surely you know a thing or two about this from experience reading online content or judging a book by its title yourself, yet we must emphasize how important the title really is.
The headline might be all that your readers see, so spend a lot of your time on making sure that it’s captivating and gets your point across. In other words, within this small section you should answer the question “why should anyone care what I have to say?”
Complimenting your headline, your subtitle provides a bit more of the details about your press release. It’s used as a hook to grab the attention of your readers and lure them into the rest of your story. It should be short, around 10-20 words.
04. Release date
The information you’re sharing is exciting and pertinent because it’s time sensitive. The press lives for receiving news and being the first to share it. This is why it’s crucial for you to include the release date and time. If that time is now, you can write “for immediate release.”
05. Date and location
Begin the body paragraph with these key details that give a background of your story. The date and location let the reader know the relevancy of your press release. Immediately follow this element with a hyphen and then the content of your intro paragraph.
06. Intro paragraph
At the start of your main section of text, you’ll want to write your most important information first. Unlike traditional stories, the climax should occur at the very beginning in order to grasp immediate attention.
Answer the five W’s in one sentence: ‘Who?’ ‘What?’ ‘Where?’ ‘When?’ and ‘Why?’ For example, “Pal’s Organic Pet Food Company (who) donated $5M (what) to pet adoption centers in Chicago (where) last Sunday (when) to help these furry friends find warm homes for the Winter (why).”
Then, in the next and last sentence of this section briefly explain what you’ll cover in the following paragraphs (the “Body Text” section).
07. Body text
After the climax mentioned in the introductory paragraph, include the rest of your content in the order of importance. Assuming that your reader won’t make it to the end of the page, make sure that they actually get to the parts you want them to read as early on as possible.
Give more background information on your story described in the intro paragraph here. In other words, elaborate on the 5 W’s. Do so in one or two paragraphs, including supporting details within.
In this section, it’s optional to add links to any relevant media or other information when necessary in order to provide background information that’s simply too long or not possible to express in a few words.
08. Relevant quotes
Quotes are information that are direct from the source. So, it’s important to include with each quote exactly who wrote them, whether that’s the CEO, CMO or someone else.
Journalists sometimes copy quotes word-for-word into their articles. Use this as your opportunity to get your point across exactly the way that you want to say it. It’s worthwhile as readers will be especially interested in hearing your point of view on the topic.
A boilerplate is a standard ‘about me’ summary of a business which provides helpful background information for those that may be unfamiliar with what they do. In doing so, it gives the readers a bit more information on the “Who” and the “What” from the 5 W’s mentioned in the introduction. It should be done in just a few sentences. If you find that in yours you want to say more, you can add a link to your press kit.
The boilerplate is typically put at the end of the release, and can include links to your business’s website and social channels. This allows you to use your press release as an opportunity to get people talking about your business overall (not just this story), as well as drive traffic to your site.
10. Contact information
If someone comes across your release on a press site or wire and wants to learn more about you and your story, don’t make it difficult for them to do so. Clearly place your name, email, and phone number at the bottom of your press release, with a space between this and the boilerplate. This will ensure that getting in touch with you is an easy feat.
Best practices for writing a press release
In addition to the structure provided above, follow these helpful tips to make sure that your press release doesn’t go unnoticed:
Act like a journalist
Keep it brief
Write in an organized manner
Provide exceptional value
Answer all of the possible questions
Give it a final check
Share the results
01. Act like a journalist
If you want journalists to cover your story, you’ll need to write in a manner that they are used to. Think of this as tailoring your resume to fit a specific job. This is the perfect opportunity for you to craft your press release to flow with a particular journalist’s writing style. In other words, speak their language.
In general, you should also write your press release in the style of an article. This is the way that journalists think, read and write. It will make their lives much easier when it comes to reframing your story in their own tone.
02. Keep it brief
It’s important that we reiterate this point. Conciseness is key to getting your press release noticed in this world of short attention spans and extremely busy people. Your press release should be no more than 300-400 words, with a maximum of one page of content. Write and rewrite it, each time cutting out the fluff and making sure that you don’t repeat any information.
03. Write in an organized manner
Use the inverted pyramid method, writing the most important information first. Then, proceed with the rest of the details based on their order of importance. This is why your boilerplate comes last, as you’ll first want to dive into the story and draw attention to it before explaining who you are.
Also, you should write in the same format as every other press release, leaving no surprise sections that will only confuse your readers. Follow the guidelines above in the ‘How to write a press release’ section, placing particular emphasis on putting the headline and release date first.
04. Provide exceptional value
Ask yourself why your audience should and would care about the information you’re sharing. This reason should include something along the lines of how valuable it will be for them to know this.
On top of just knowing who they are and why they would care, you’ll want to write in a way that targets their interests and personalities. For example, there is a big difference in the word choices used by charitable organizations versus video game developers.
05. Answer all of the possible questions
Try your best to brainstorm ahead of time the questions that might arise based on the information you’re sharing in the headline. The text in your body paragraph should provide all the possible answers. In doing so, you’re making your readers’ lives as easy as possible so that they won’t need to contact you for further information or to clarify any confusion.
06. Give it a final check
Before you send your press release out, read over it to check that everything looks the way you want it to. There is nothing less professional than grammatical errors. Make sure the links work and that your story makes sense. Then, ask a friend or colleague to give it a runthrough to get a second opinion. Refine, and refine again until you’re completely satisfied with your work.
07. Share the results
Just because you’ve pressed the ‘send’ button doesn’t mean that your work is done. If publications and blogs feature your story, you’ll also want to share the news yourself. This is great promotion for your brand that should be added to your press kit and website, as well as content for your social media accounts.
Press Release examples
The following examples of press releases will give you some real world insight to inspire you to create great pieces that will surely spark the interest of your audience.
February 3, 2019
This is a classic example of a press release using the traditional format. First, notice how the headline and the subtitle carefully reflect different pieces of information. Furthermore, the location and date are mentioned ahead of the body text and three brief paragraphs sum up the news story.
A relevant video clip is embedded to show the advertisement, the company name is linked multiple times, and a quote is included at the bottom. The only elements you don’t see are the contact details and boilerplate. As this example is directly from the company’s website, it’s not necessary to include that information. Yet, if you browse this Wix press release on the wire, you’ll find these two elements at the bottom.
October 28, 2019
The headline mentions the big news: an exciting product release by the company, Apple. Following that, they strategically place the top feature in the subtitle, “active noise cancellation for immersive sound.” Also, notice how not only is the business’s website linked, but the product page too.
Images show many different perspectives on the product, from the technological features to how it looks in use and the way that it connects with the iPhone. To conclude, the boilerplate provides a powerful historical background of the business in a concise fashion.
October 30, 2019
This press release meets the necessary guidelines in a standard way. You can see this by the use of a product video. The company is evidently aware that content is more digestible in short clip form.
It also follows two of the tips we mentioned - ‘act like a journalist’ and ‘answer all of the possible questions’ - by using bolded headlines. This allows for the information about the new revealed feature to be broken up into easily readable, organized sections.
March 20, 2019
In this example, the subtitle mentions the product while the headline describes its features. This is actually the opposite of the traditional press release format, but it surely works to grab readers’ attention.
Furthermore, there are multiple quotes from two different people in order to show various voices of authority regarding the mentioned topic of sustainability and Starbucks.
You’ll also notice the inverted pyramid format is put to use here from the headline to the subtitle to the italicised paragraph below that.
By Jennifer Kaplan
Small Business Expert & Writer