To write a press release, begin by choosing your release goals and metrics. Next, decide the story angle that will capture journalists’ attention. Then, configure your document format settings and begin adding initial elements like your logo, place, date stamp, and release date. Next, write the body of your press release as well as a boilerplate before distributing it to journalists and media outlets.
We’ll walk you through each of these steps while providing tips to help your story get noticed:
1. Find the Most Newsworthy Angle
To develop a newsworthy angle, ask yourself how your press release will benefit the readers you’re targeting. Your press release shouldn’t just be an announcement you are proud of, but one that will appeal to the audiences of the journalists (where you want to publish it). It must be timely or time-sensitive, trendy, cutting-edge or innovative, seasonal, impactful to targeted readers, and award-winning or influencer- or celebrity-endorsed.
Keep in mind that what is most exciting to you as the business may not be deemed exciting—or newsworthy—to the general public. If you’re struggling to determine the best angle, think about why your news matters to others (e.g., what do they gain from it?). Talk to others about your press release and get feedback from people outside of your business.
Wondering if your story or announcement is suitable for a press release? To find out, take a look at the different types of press releases.
2. Add Your Contact Info, Logo & Release Date
Press releases follow a standard structure, similar to how a cover letter does. Part of following this structure is including all of the relevant information that journalists expect to see—because it’s information they need. For example, you need to include your contact information and logo, as well as a date stamp and your desired release date (for time-sensitive press releases). Save yourself time and nail the formatting by downloading our free press release template.
Here’s what information you need to include in your press release:
- Your contact information: Include the full name and title (first line), email address (second line), and phone number (third line) of the person within your company that journalists should contact if they have questions.
- Your logo: Place your logo at the top center of your document above your release date and contact information. If your press release is meant for digital audiences only, add a logo of 200×200 pixels in this space. Or, if it’s meant for print, also include an attached image of your logo.
- Date stamp: Include the date on which you’re writing your press release, the way you would date a letter.
- Intended release date: In addition to your date stamp, you should also include when you want your press release to be published on the left-hand side of your press release. It should either say “for immediate release” in all capital letters or “Embargoed for release until [date].” Embargoed releases tell journalists you don’t want your news announcement published until the specified date.
For more additional insights on how to properly format your press release, get the complete breakdown of press release formatting.
3. Write an Attention-grabbing Headline
Your headline is the first thing a journalist is going to see. So if you want to grab their attention and get them to read your press release, you need to write a great headline or header. Use the headline to tell readers why the announcement is timely, noteworthy, innovative (e.g., an industry breakthrough), and beneficial to the public. Use language that elicits an emotion or intrigue. And as a general rule of thumb, try to keep your header to 70 characters or less.
In addition to your header, you can also include a subheader, which is an optional element of a press release that goes below your header. If you would like to include one, make sure it elaborates on but does not reiterate the headline. Offer more detail about what your press release is about but, at the same time, don’t share too much. Instead, induce intrigue that makes readers want to learn more.
Need help writing an eye-catching headline? Try using a free headline analyzer tool, such as Sharethrough, which will determine the quality of your headline and give you insights to help you write a great headline.
4. Craft a Compelling Message
Next, start writing your press release. You have about 500 words to back your headline and convince a journalist to cover your story. To do this, lead with your story and what makes it compelling, rather than building up to that. Remember that journalists are busy and if you can’t interest them enough to keep reading, then they’re simply not going to.
As you write, develop the newsworthy points from your first paragraph and be objective as if you are writing a news story. Include quotes from one or two key stakeholders to offer a well-rounded piece with different perspectives. Add hyperlinks, images, and data to back up your points and to make your press release more interesting or insightful.
Struggling to write an engaging press release? Writing isn’t for everyone, and if you fail to write a great press release, it’s very unlikely to get any press coverage. So for many, it’s a smart move to leave the writing to the professionals at Newswire, which offers one of the most affordable writing services by press release experts backed by a money-back guarantee for $250.
5. Create Your Boilerplate
Once you’ve written the body of your press release, the next step is to write your boilerplate. This is your “about us” section. It should include a description of what your business does, a brief overview of your mission statement, and any tidbits that make you stand out, including awards and time in the industry.
If you have mentioned more than one company in your body copy (for a merger announcement, for example), write two boilerplates and dedicate one to each.
For a step-by-step, read our guide on how to write a boilerplate for a press release.
6. Distribute Your Press Release
Finally, you need to distribute your press release to journalists and publications so that you can actually get picked up and land press. If you have a contact list, you can send your press release manually to journalists via email.
However, the average small business doesn’t have a press list of journalists, and so most opt to use a press release distribution service. This not only saves you a great deal of time compared to manual outreach efforts, but also helps ensure your press release effectively gets press coverage.
Here are the top press release distribution services for small businesses:
- eReleases: Best for industry-specific targeting
- Newswire: Most affordable way to reach a targeted audience by location
- PR Distribution: Best for getting the peace of mind of guaranteed placements
Learn more about the best press release services, or if you’re looking to submit your press release manually, get the help you need to do so successfully with this free guide to press release distribution.
How a Press Release Works
Journalists depend on compelling stories for their respective publications, and one way they discover stories is through press releases. They may find these press releases in their inboxes (if they subscribe to press release distribution services) or on popular newswire websites. Once they find a story that interests them, journalists may publish the press release as is, or more likely, they will craft their own story based on the press release.
Of course, that is all easier said than done, but once a journalist picks up and publishes your story, your business can get a great deal of (very valuable) publicity. This is why it is usually well worth the effort to craft a compelling document and measure its performance.
Press Release Follow-up Checklist
Once you’ve published your press release, it’s time to follow up to ensure you get the most out of it. This includes tracking where your press release is published, promoting your published press release across digital channels, tracking your press release performance, and cultivating relationships with key journalists who’ve published your release.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a press release?
A press release is an objectively written or produced business news story that is meant to earn the interest of media personnel. The goal is to earn this interest so the story will be disseminated to a relevant target audience within a specified industry or location. It may be an announcement of a merger or acquisition, a book or product launch, an event, a new business opening or hire, or a company crisis. Learn more about the specifics of what is a press release.
When should I send my press release?
It is best to send your press releases during the week. Statistically, Thursdays seem to be the best days to send press releases, with an average 26% open rate. Moreover, the highest open rates are between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Eastern Time, so try to send your press releases during this time of the day, during the work week. Granted, you also need to consider timing in terms of when your news should be published and time it around your ideal publish date.
Does a press release help with SEO?
A press release itself won’t help with search engine optimization (SEO). However, landing press coverage can. Keep in mind that press coverage will typically use nofollow links, which will not help you in terms of SEO and building links. In roundabout ways, press coverage does help with SEO. For example, if your press release really is newsworthy, it can lead to content being created with dofollow links to help your website rank in Google, including interviews and blog posts written by influencers.
How long should my press release be?
As a general rule of thumb, the average press release should be around 500 words or less and ideally no more than one page in length. Remember that journalists typically have very limited time to review a story and limited space with which to publish a story. If you overload them with too many details, instead of weeding out details for a publishable story, they are likely to move on to a press release that is closer to a publishable draft of a story.
The idea of writing a press release can be daunting, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be difficult. Keep in mind that you need to have a newsworthy story, and then you need to be able to quickly communicate that story to pique the interest of journalists within just 500 words.
Once you’ve written your press release, help ensure your efforts are rewarded by using a press release distribution service, which will get your press release out to thousands of journalists and outlets. For an easy and reliable service at an affordable price, choose Newswire.
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