What Makes a Good Press Release & 11 Ways to Make Yours Stand Out
Several key components go into what makes a good press release, from an eye-catching headline and a compelling story to a call to action (CTA), high-quality media, and a top-notch distribution strategy. Follow along for the full breakdown of the essential elements that will make your press release more effective.
Part of what makes a good press release is effective distribution. Get your press release to the right people, in the right places, at the right time using a distribution service that offers multilayer targeting, like Newswire.
Here are 11 characteristics of what makes a great press release:
1. Correct Press Release Formatting
All press releases should follow a fairly strict format, regardless of your industry or topic. Using the format preferred by the media makes it more likely for journalists and media outlets to take notice of your story. Correct press release formatting includes a headline, a dateline, a press release body, and a boilerplate.
To ensure you include all the right components, follow our guide on the correct press release format, which also has a free downloadable template. In the guide, you’ll find easy-to-follow instructions to effectively outline all the elements you’ll need for a successful press release.
2. A Relevant, Attention-grabbing Headline
Hundreds of press releases are sent daily, not to mention thousands of news stories in every industry. To stand out, your headline has to immediately resonate and assert its relevance—in short, it should promptly tell journalists that your story is worth sharing. Your headline is the first thing they’ll notice, so it should instantly catch their attention and interest and convince them to read further.
Put yourself in your target audience’s shoes and consider what they will care about when they scan headlines. What’s important is that your headline is straightforward, concise, relevant to your target audience and that it conveys your story’s idea. Below is an example of a press release headline that commands attention while still being concise.
3. Content That Offers Value to Its Audience
For your story to resonate with your target audience, it must reflect a clear understanding of what matters to them. This can be achieved in a number of ways, but most important of all is to write about topics they already care about. Then, offer valuable and useful information to add to that discourse through your press release.
For example, if you were opening a sustainable grocery store, you might write about how more consumers are increasingly opting for earth-friendly lifestyles. Then, back your story up with news and statistics. Additionally, make sure your tone fits with your target audience (e.g., professional for a law firm or laid back for a lifestyle brand).
You can identify your target audience for a press release similar to how you would for sales and marketing campaigns. If you need help, use our customer persona template to define your ideal audience’s characteristics, which you can then use to help craft an effective press release story.
4. A Good Press Release Answers Who, What, When, Where & Why
Another contributing factor to writing an effective press release is adequately covering the who, what, when, where, and why of your news. The baseline of what makes a good press release is that it has all the essential and relevant information journalists need to cover your story, ideally in the first paragraph. While you don’t need to include an exhaustive amount of detail, you do need to cover the gist of each of these elements.
The InventHelp press release below announcing their new product is an excellent example of this. It sufficiently covers all of those questions in a concise and straightforward way.
5. Includes Verified & Quotable Sources
Journalists often have specific needs when crafting their news stories. To cover your press release, for example, they don’t only need a story that directly concerns the audience—it should also have proof and verifiable, quotable sources. A great way to do this is by providing data. Journalists thrive on stories with statistics, charts, and graphs they can analyze and share with their own spin.
If data just isn’t relevant to your story, consider quotes from reputable people, such as experts, celebrities, or authorities to add weight and credibility to your story. An angle like “Leading Psychologist Offers 5 Tips That Can Increase Newlyweds’ Chances of Enjoying an Enduring Marriage” can be just as insightful as a groundbreaking study.
6. Uses Informative, Factual Writing
Press releases can get your business publicity, which is great for building brand awareness. However, if your press release reads like an advertisement, it’s unlikely that journalists will be interested in covering it.
To ensure your press release reads like a proper news story, stick to the relevant facts when writing your story and keep your tone informative rather than persuasive. Avoiding an advertorial tone is just one of many press release best practices you can follow to increase your chances of getting additional media coverage.
7. Has Compelling Calls to Action (CTAs)
Part of what makes a good press release is its ability to incite one or more specific actions you want the reader to take after reading it. This could be clicking a link to your website to learn more about your business, or something more specific, such as signing up for an account or registering to attend an upcoming event.
Whatever your desired action is, it’s essential that your press release includes a call to action (CTA) that leads toward it. CTAs are typically included in the boilerplate in the form of a hyperlink, but they can also be within the press release’s body.
Your call to action will vary depending on the purpose for writing your announcement. Learn more in our article summarizing different types of press releases.
8. Provides Contact Details for Journalists
Journalists and media editors have tight deadlines and often juggle several stories a day. The easier you make it for journalists to get what they need, the higher your chances are of gaining additional publicity.
In addition to the contact information listed at the top of your story, include a specific contact in your boilerplate for members of the press. This makes it easier for journalists to get in touch, in turn increasing the odds that they will cover your story. For more guidance on how to land press coverage, read our tips for how to get your story on the news.
9. Includes Relevant, High-quality Images
Visually engaging press releases are more attractive and interesting to readers. In fact, press releases with images are seven times more likely to get picked up by journalists compared to those without. Including images in your press release is a brilliant idea, but they should be relevant to your story, of high quality, and follow copyright guidelines.
For an affordable press release distribution service that includes images, EIN Presswire is a great choice. You can embed one image and one video in your press release for free, with distribution, including targeted sends as well as AP newswire and hundreds of other guaranteed placements starting from $99.95.
10. Is Brief & Concise
A typical press release is just 300 to 500 words, and in that span should include an engaging intro, your story, a call to action, and a boilerplate. While a good press release doesn’t need to be too in-depth, it should include all the relevant details to capture a journalist’s attention and possibly lead to an interview, where you can share more details. Focus on the key facts, big-picture ideas, and intriguing snippets that will make journalists want to know more.
This type of ultra-condensed writing can be tricky, so it can sometimes be easier to start with more, then cut back. Write whatever comes to mind for your initial draft, then go back and remove any repetitive, unrelated, or unnecessary statements. In addition, check out effective press release examples online.
Need to include more than 500 words to tell your story? You can send a release of up to 700 words with our top-recommended press release service, EIN Presswire, for $99.95.
11. Has an Effective Distribution Strategy
Effective distribution is one of the key components of what makes a good press release. To ensure your press release is successful, create a distribution strategy that gets your press release to many relevant journalists and media outlets, and does so at the right time. As you build your strategy, follow our press release distribution tips to boost your reach.
For local businesses, distribution could be as simple as sending your press release along with an email pitch to media outlets in your local community. However, for those in more niche industries, this might mean targeting specific journalists, publications, and even bloggers and influencers who share content in your subject area.
Since distributing your press release manually can be time-consuming, we recommend using one of the best press release distribution services available to do the work for you. A service like Newswire gets your press release across hundreds of media outlets at an affordable price, and offers multilayered targeting and proofing to set your announcement up for success.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What should a good press release include?
A good press release includes a headline, a dateline, a press release body, and a boilerplate in the correct formatting, such as an AP style press release. It should be concisely written, relevant to the target audience, and include a call to action (CTA) and contact information for journalists. Finally, what can turn a compelling story into a great press release is effective distribution, including direct emails and pitches as well as targeted and general newswire placements.
What is a press kit & do I need one?
A press kit, also known as a media kit, provides key information about your business. You may need one if you give interested journalists the information they need to craft a story. Press kits are generally available on a business’ website, but they may also be distributed in other ways, such as alongside a press release. Learn more about press kits, including how to create a media kit for your business using our free template.
How do you write a press release?
As daunting as it may initially seem, writing a good press release doesn’t have to be complicated. Download our free press release template and follow the step-by-step instructions for how to write a press release. Start by updating the header with your business logo, contact information, and release date. Next, write a catchy headline and subheadline, write the body of your press release, and add your boilerplate and a call to action.
A press release can have a powerful impact in helping your brand build awareness and gain new customers—but only if it’s done right. What makes a good press release, ultimately, is a compelling story told in a way that brings value to your readers.
Make sure your efforts don’t go to waste by ensuring your press release gets the visibility it needs to land free publicity. To do this, use a top press release distribution service like Newswire. Its multilayer targeting and editorial process ensures the quality of your press release and helps it reach a higher number of targeted journalists.
You Might Also Like…
- For more tips, check out our guide on press release best practices.
- Get some inspiration using these press release examples.
- Learn how to send a press release to get maximum coverage.