How to Write a Press Release: A Detailed Guide

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Write a Press Release

Your business is brimming with excitement. Your company has exciting news to share with the public. You’re confident this news will build the buzz around your brand and boost your public relations.

But how do you share this news?

You need to know how to write a press release that’s effective and engaging.

Businesses and organizations across the country rely on press releases to share their latest news. Writing one will take practice, research, and a little finesse for it to stand out from the crowd.

If you’re new to the concept of writing press releases, you’ve come to the right place. Learn how you can write an effective press release for exciting news today!

A Press Release Rundown

Before you start learning how to write a press release, you need to understand what they are and why we use them.

The purpose behind a press release is to share a news story. Great news stories worth sharing include business events, a launch, new services, and crisis communication. The list of newsworthy stories goes on, but you get the idea.

The goal of a press release is to maintain or improve your business’s relationship with the public.

Businesses, organizations, and individuals will reach out to the news media to share their stories publicly. The benefit is the press can reach larger broader audiences than your traditional marketing campaigns. People don’t need to subscribe to your newsletter, weekly emails, or social media accounts.

By reaching a broader audience, you can make more people aware of your brand, what your brand does, and (hopefully) gain a few new loyal customers. From there, press releases can help:

  • Guide traffic to your website
  • Coverage on multiple news platforms
  • Show up in Google News
  • Improve your brand’s trust and integrity
  • Boost your SEO rankings

Sounds easy, right?

There is, however, a caveat. If your press release isn’t that exciting or newsworthy, it won’t make it to the media. The news media is a harsh industry.

The good news is you can get news outlets to share your news story by writing an engaging press release.

The Press Release Format Is Changing

What do you imagine when you think of a press release?

Do you picture a one-page document with a title, maybe some contact information, and a few paragraphs detailing your news story?

Maybe you imagine a spammy news story that reads more like a drawn-out advertisement than a press release.

Don’t follow these outdated press release structures.

Always write up-to-date content and must use a unique structure if you really want to submit it on best free press release sites for distribution. The press release format has changed, for the better. Today, the news media needs ready-made stories. Journalists don’t have the time to sludge through mediocre news stories that need reformatting and editing.

You need to take the time to craft a press release both journalists and your audience will find interesting. A well-written press release will get your story on the local news, national news, and—if done right—influencer marketing.

New Press Release Templates

Most press releases follow a formulaic structure, with some variation depending on how you plan to share your press release.

In general, a press release should consist of eleven main sections. You must include every section as they are all necessary for the success of your press release.

  • Brand logo
  • Contact information
  • The date
  • Eye-catching title
  • Engaging lead sentence
  • Short, one-sentence paragraphs
  • By the third paragraph, introduce the main spokesperson or an about section
  • Quotes explaining the reason for the news story 
  • Add interesting relevant facts
  • Add endorsements from unbiased sources to build trust
  • End with the company boilerplate

From there, consider adding additional media relevant to the story. This includes images, video,  or audio recordings. The media you choose will vary based on the news outlets and platforms you plan to send your press release to.

Consider looking at a press release sample as a reference while you write your first few drafts.

Now, let’s dive into the details on how to write a good press release.

How to Write a Press Release

Following the above formula is only one piece of the puzzle. To make your press release shine, you need to understand the details and your purpose for using a press release.

Know the Goal

Goals are the heart and motivation behind every business and organization. These goals help you craft everything from your marketing campaigns to your products and services.

Sure, the main reason behind your press release is to share your brand’s exciting news. But what’s your reason or goal for sharing this news?

A few goals and reasons brands will share press releases is to:

  • Improve brand awareness
  • Media coverage 
  • Proving their expertise in their industry
  • Boost sales
  • Increase traffic to their website

Are you aiming to boost your brand awareness? Include share buttons for social media and add media that’s engaging and shareable.

Once you choose a goal, you need to pair it with the press release elements.  Do you want to gain more leads? Write your press release to persuade readers to visit your website or landing page and sign up for a newsletter or email campaign.

Having a strong goal and purpose behind your press release will make the writing process easier and your press release focused.

Is Your News Newsworthy?

Every press release needs a story, but not all stories are newsworthy. The first question you need to ask yourself is whether your news story is worthy of sharing.

The news you’re covering in your press release needs to be something people will want to read and share. Will they gain value from learning about your news story?

A newsworthy story doesn’t have to be a huge once-in-a-lifetime story. Small relevant events that resonate with your audience and community are just as newsworthy.

The main goal here is to create a new and relevant story.

A few newsworthy ideas include:

  • New industry news and studies
  • A new product or service launch
  • Hosting a local event
  • A website redesign
  • Crisis and community communication

Before you start writing your news press, make sure the topic you’re covering is new and offers value to your audience.

Choose an Angle

One of the hardest parts of writing an effective press release is choosing the right angle. The news angle or hook refers to the perspective of the press release.

Base the angle on your target audience and the news outlets you plan to use. The angle, or hook, should catch your readers’ eye and be something they care about.

The angle you use will change depending on the audience you’re targeting through different platforms. The angle of a news story in your local newspaper, for example, will differ greatly from the press release you use in a magazine.

Draft two or more versions of your press release with different angles. This way you can target different (and broader) audiences on different platforms.

Your press release shouldn’t only target your audience and potential readers. The angle you choose should match with the tone of the news outlets and platforms you plan to use.

Craft a Killer Headline

The first part of your press release anyone will see is your headline. Your audience will decide whether or not to continue with your story based on the headline.

Your headline needs to be catchy, relevant, and short. Shorter headlines are easier to read and more appealing in today’s fast-paced world.

The next element of a good headline is to use an active voice. You want your headline to motivate your readers to read the rest of your article. Avoid using obvious or uninspiring statements, your audience will find these boring.

Make sure your headline focuses on the main points of your press release. Journalists and other media platforms receive hundreds of press releases each day. A catchy headline will stand out and ensure your story gets out.

Nail the Lead

The first sentence or paragraph in your press release is the lead. This introduction uses about 25 words to share the main point of your whole story.

A good lead includes at least five of these six main points: who, why, what, where, how, and when of your story. Yes, the five points you choose need to fit in that 25-word limit.

By keeping your lead focused and concise, your lead will be effective.

The Next Paragraphs

Paragraphs two and three should aim to develop the rest of your news story. Include key facts and useful information that fill in the necessary details of the story.

Your press release needs to make the journalist’s job easier. Include only the necessary information the journalist will need to elaborate on the rest of your story. Avoid skipping information or leaving factual gaps.

Make your body paragraphs successful by:

  • Avoiding repetition
  • Use a natural flow so each paragraph connects to the next logically
  • Don’t echo information
  • Deliver compelling details in a quick manner

Yes, this can sound overwhelming. Start by making a list of the details needed for your story and nix any that aren’t relevant or important.

From there, write your paragraphs. Try writing them longer and shortening them as you edit. Remember, writing like this takes patience and practice.

Add Your Quotes

Quotes are an excellent way to introduce your spokesperson or the face of your business. The spokesperson is usually someone on the senior business team or one of the founders.

When you choose a spokesperson, make sure they’re honest, trustworthy, and willing to show your brand in the best way possible. Their quotes should communicate the “why” behind your press release.

Test the quotes to make sure they sound natural and offer relevant information that aligns with the purpose of the press release.

Introduce the spokesperson by using their full name and their position in the company before starting the quotes. Stick to two or three paragraphs of quotes. Make sure to use quotation marks at the beginning of the quote and the end.

Prove Your Sources

Keep your press release honest and credible by citing any external sources. These external sources need to be relevant, legitimate, and honest as well.

You can add your sources by including anchor links where necessary in the press release. Print versions may require sources at the end of the press release.

Proving your sources will build your brand’s credibility and integrity in your industry.

Be Reachable

Include contact details so journalists can learn about and contact you if needed. A journalist may wish to contact you to learn more about your brand or your story. If you skip the contact details, they may skip your story.

Contact details should include a name, email address, and phone number.

The Boilerplate

The final section is the boilerplate. This section shares who you and your business are with the journalists and audience. The boilerplate is often the same copy added to every press release you write.

Distribute Your Press Release

The final key to a successful press release is to distribute it to the right places by using a PR distribution service. A distribution service helps you send your press release to targeted audiences. This audience includes journalists, bloggers, and social networks to share your press release.

Reaching more news outlets will result in greater views and improved brand awareness.

Mistakes to Avoid : Write a Press Release

There are a few major mistakes to avoid. These include:

  • Exaggerating claims and false promises
  • Self-aggrandizing
  • A sales pitch
  • Lists of technical information, products, or services
  • Overfilling with hype and acronyms
  • A report
  • Simple facts
  • A praised version of the founder’s CV/biography
  • A boring story that’s not newsworthy

Learning and practicing your press release writing skills will help you avoid making these detrimental mistakes. Knowing what to avoid will ensure people will share and read your press release.

Boost Your Press Release Game

Writing an effective and engaging press release is possible and easier than you think.

By following this guide, you’ll learn how to write a press release people will want to read. You’ll enjoy improved brand awareness, greater website traffic, and eventually more sales.

Do you enjoy learning how to make your business more successful? Check out our latest business articles to stay up-to-date on the latest business trends to make your business a success!

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