Learning how to write a press release is both art and science. For example, you’ll need a newsworthy angle, but you also need to make it easy for journalists and media outlets to cover with correct formatting and distribution. Keep reading to find out how to write a press release, including tools that make it easier, and get tips to amplify the story of your small business.
1. Choose the Best Way to Write Your Press Release
Writing your announcement from scratch isn’t the only way to generate a news announcement for your business. While you can write a press release from scratch, or start with a free press release template, like the one below, you can also leverage tools like press release generators and artificial intelligence (AI). In addition, there are low-cost ways to outsource the writing to fast-track your story and distribution.
Using the press release format preferred by the media can increase your chance of landing coverage. For example, career journalist Micheal DeVault explains that “as a former newspaper editor, there is a perfect press release: one I don’t have to touch to print.”
To start, create a press release document with three sections: header, body, and boilerplate. To make it easier, simply download the free press release template below, where the basic formatting is already applied for you.
Press release generators are web forms that help you organize the different parts of a press release. They stop short of using artificial intelligence (AI) to write your story, but they save you time as you won’t have to format your document or worry about where to place each element.
Click Funnels has a free press release wizard that walks you through the process. Once your details are in, hit “Generate Press Release” and your announcement will be generated. From there, you can start over, edit your release, or download it as a PDF document for submission to press release distribution services.
Artificial intelligence (AI)-generated content is a game changer, especially for those who want to write their own content but aren’t fully confident they know what to include. For example, you can use AI tools to develop a draft for your press release or generate headlines, lead, and supporting paragraphs.
We entered basic information into a form on PressHook’s AI writer and got what we considered a publishable press release in less than three minutes. You can create up to three press releases for free without signing up. Learn more or get more options in our list of the best AI press release generators.
Keep in mind that with this method, you’ll want to edit the AI-generated copy following the steps below. Otherwise, it may not include standout verbiage like a compelling headline or have the boilerplate and other information that journalists need to cover your announcement. For example, you’ll likely want to add a link to your press kit.
Because a press release requires specific formatting and an objective (vs sales-ey) writing style, outsourcing can be the best way to write your press release. It will save you time and hassle, and help you avoid common press release mistakes. And working with a public relations (PR) expert could be the key to landing additional coverage for your story since they know what journalists are looking for.
Plus, it doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, one of the best press release writing services is Fiverr. It’s a freelancer marketplace where you can hire a PR expert to work to write a press release for as little as $5 to $10. Several PR experts offer low-cost writing and distribution as a bundled package for as little as $50.
At the high end of the pricing spectrum, eReleases costs more than most other options for combined press release writing and distribution. But with that comes a multi-layer editorial process, publicity experts writing your announcement, and guaranteed distribution and placements to thousands of media outlets and journalists. It all hinges on your budget and how far you want your news to travel.
2. Develop a Media-worthy Angle for Your Audience
Publishing press releases offers a way for you to build brand presence and shape and control the story of your business with content published on media outlets. With the right angle, your business could also benefit from additional free publicity when journalists opt to cover your story and share it with their audiences.
This requires finding a truly newsworthy angle for a story about your business. It could come naturally—for example, businesses often write press releases to cover major announcements like:
For journalists to cover your news, it must be meaningful to their audiences. Therefore, your story should not only address the audience’s interests and concerns but must also be timely, impactful, and valuable or helpful to the journalist’s readers. All these should be considered when looking for the best angle for your press release.
Wondering if your story or announcement is newsworthy? Take a look at the different types of press releases to find out which best suits your announcement.
Define Your Audience
Your target audience will influence nearly every aspect of creating a press release, from the angle and headline to the lead paragraph, body, and boilerplate. This is important not only for engaging your target audience in general, but also for getting journalists who write for similar audiences interested in covering your story.
Defining an audience, or ideal reader type, for your press release is similar to outlining what makes a perfect customer for your business. For example, you can use our ideal customer profile (ICP) template to create a representation of one or more audience types to target with your press release.
As you build your reader profile, consider things like:
Gaining a clear picture of your audience makes writing a press release easier and allows you to hone your headline to grab the attention of your target reader. You can also use this information to create personalized pitches when sending your press release directly to journalists.
3. Craft Concise, Compelling Headlines
Part of what makes a good press release is an attention-grabbing headline. It’s crucial to make this interesting and engaging, as the headline could be the only content journalists consider when deciding whether or not to cover your news.
This could be one of the more challenging aspects of how to write a press release. In 60 characters or less, your main headline must tell readers why your story is relevant, noteworthy, and beneficial to your intended audience.
Some tips for writing effective headlines include:
When learning how to write a press release, take some time to gain inspiration from other news stories similar to yours. This will help you improve your own press release’s headlines and story. Below are several press release headline examples that do an excellent job of showcasing a unique angle:
In addition to your headline, include a subheadline in italics up to 120 characters. This allows you to expand on your angle, identify your audience, and give additional context to the headline to intrigue journalists and readers. Read our list of press release best practices for more tips.
Need help writing an eye-catching headline? Try using a free headline analyzer tool like Sharethrough to score the quality of your headline and get insights on ways to make it stronger.
4. Write Your Lead & Supporting Paragraphs
In novel writing, authors often try to keep the reader guessing right up until the end. It’s the opposite in press release writing. Also referred to as “the lead,” the first paragraph in a press release is a concise summary of your story. It should be about two sentences and give the reader the crux of the announcement while also creating intrigue to keep them reading.
In the continuing paragraphs, discuss the details of your story in more detail, and include quotes from one or two key personalities to offer a well-rounded piece with different perspectives. Add hyperlinks, images, and data to back up your points and to make your announcement more interesting or insightful. In all, try to keep the body section to 500 words or less.
For inspiration on how to write a press release for everything from awards announcements to crisis management, read through our list of press release examples. It includes 20 examples and explains what makes each work effectively to interest the media and its intended audience.
5. Add a Boilerplate
The final step in creating a press release is adding a boilerplate at the bottom. Think of this as an “about us” section. It should include a short description of what your business does, but also expand with details that support your story’s angle.
Items to consider when writing a press release boilerplate are:
If you’re still learning how to write press releases, it’s worth noting the boilerplate offers value to journalists looking to provide additional coverage. For a step-by-step guide and examples to help you fully leverage this section, read more about how to write a boilerplate, and get some examples for inspiration.
6. Distribute Your Press Release
The last step in creating a press release is sharing it. There are several ways to do this, including free and paid distribution.
For example, you can build a media contact list and send press releases to journalists via email for free. You can also contact social media influencers who might want to break your story, send it to trade publications within your industry, and submit it to local media outlets to try to get your story on the local news.
For the most comprehensive outreach, plan to use a paid press release distribution service. This saves a great deal of time compared to manual outreach efforts and helps ensure your story gets media placements. Plus, most include industry targeting and directly send your press release to editors and journalists actively looking for stories to cover.
Here are the top paid distribution services for small businesses:
Looking for more guidance on the best ways to get your press release out to the masses? Read our article detailing how to send a press release effectively.
On a super-tight budget? There are ways to distribute your story for free. Check out our list of free press release distribution services, keeping in mind that placements aren’t guaranteed.
Next Steps: What to Do After Publishing a Press Release
Once you’ve published your story, follow up to ensure you get the most out of it. Follow these post-distribution tips to maximize your press release’s effectiveness:
- Track placements and engagement: Most paid services provide distribution reports, including media outlets where your story was syndicated, views, clicked links, and other engagements. For manual distribution, include trackable links and use listening tools like SproutSocial to find out when and where your brand is mentioned online.
- Share online: To increase reach, share your press release on your website and social media. When sharing on social, use relevant hashtags and audience targeting, and @ mention the media outlet or journalist in your caption.
- Track performance: Measure analytics like views, engagement, traffic sources, search visibility, audience locations, click-through traffic, and social media shares. If you use a distribution service, these analytics will also come with your report. Use this data to better target your future press release distribution strategies.
- Foster ongoing relationships with journalists: Building relationships with journalists who covered your news creates a win-win situation. They can turn to you as a trusted source for future stories, and you get more coverage for your business.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the format for a press release?
Proper press release format includes a header with a release date and contact information followed by a headline in 14pt bold. Below that should be a subheading in 13pt italics, followed by a lead paragraph, supporting paragraphs, and a press release boilerplate. Learn more about all that a proper press release format should include and get a free template for writing your story.
Where can I get help writing my press release?
If you don’t have the time or know-how to write a press release, there are places to turn to for help. eReleases tops our list of the best press release writing services, as a public relations expert will write your release. But businesses on a budget can turn to Fiverr for expert press release writing services for as little as $5 to $10 or get bundled writing and distribution services for around $50.
How long should my press release be?
As a general rule of thumb, the average press release should be no more than one page in length, with around 500 words for the body of the release. If you need more space to tell your story, write a summary press release that links to a longer version of your announcement on your website, along with supporting media assets like images, charts, videos, and so on.
A press release is an objective, formal announcement of something newsworthy about your business. Learning how to write a press release can be challenging. However, mastering the correct format, highlighting a newsworthy angle, generating interest in your brand, and getting your press release into the hands of interested journalists is well worth it.
Once you’ve written your press release, ensure your efforts are rewarded by using a press release distribution service. For the most affordable distribution to thousands of journalists and outlets, choose EIN Presswire, with plans starting under $100.