How to Write an Effective Press Release
The press release remains a productive and cost-effective public relations strategy to generate awareness and more sales leads for your company. Below are some tips on how to write a release that captures journalists’ attention.
1) Identify newsworthy information about your business
- Before you begin, ask yourself if anyone outside my company cares about this announcement and is it relevant to my target audience?
- The announcement doesn’t always have to be Earth shattering. Solid Q1 growth results or a new product or service is front page material, but a new hire or partnership could make its way into the business briefs, which is good too.
2) Format the release properly
- Use company letterhead or place your logo at the top of a Word document.
- Below the logo, add “For Immediate Release” on the left side of the page.
- On the right, provide your contact info (name, phone number and email address) for the journalist’s reference.
- The beginning of the first paragraph should have the dateline (city and state where your company is located). The date that you’re sending the press release can go here too or right below “For Immediate Release.”
3) Come up with a headline that catches the reporter’s attention
- Journalists receive hundreds of press releases every day. You want yours to stand out from the crowd.
- Make your headline informative, yet short and to the point.
- Use action verbs.
- A sub-headline is optional.
4) Get straight to the point
- Since reporters are so busy and receive so many releases, you need to outline the details that you’re announcing in the first paragraph.
- Answer the five Ws (who, what, where, when, why) as concisely as possible.
5) Provide supporting information in the next few paragraphs
- Each paragraph after the first should include progressively less important information. In other words, follow the inverted pyramid formula.
- Back up any claims you made, add background, support the significance of your news.
- Include a call to action – use bold or italics, list the full URL.
- Include at least one quote from someone at the company to boost the credibility of your release.
- Conclude with a brief company boilerplate (or About) paragraph at the bottom of the release. This will be the same in each release you write.
6) Make sure the press release is well written and error free
- A press release is often the first impression you give about your company. Even a single mistake can dissuade a reporter from taking you seriously.
- Thoroughly review the release for spelling, grammar, punctuation, formatting and accuracy. Then, have other people proofread it to make sure it’s ready for distribution.
- Do not rely on spell check.
- Ideally, the press release should be one page. Two pages is acceptable, but don’t go any longer than that. The point of a press release isn’t to give the media everything.
- Each paragraph shouldn’t be more than 3-4 sentences.
- Include 2-3 hyperlinks in the release, providing an easy way to access your website and learn more about your company.
- Utilize bullet and number lists to break up information and data.
- Sprinkle in a few keywords (2 to 4-word phrases that accurately describe what you offer) to help with search engine optimization. Include them in sentences so they fit naturally.
If you need help with your next press release, give us a call. We’re a full-service ad agency with a proven track record of delivering results to local and national businesses of all sizes. We offer a full range of public relations services designed to maximize media coverage reaching your target audiences.
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Contact Peter Frantz at 440-247-4548 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete the form here.