Google “How to write a press release” and you’ll get tons of results addressing the question. It’s a hot topic!
But, you won’t find anything like this post.
After reading it, you’ll have the knowledge and skill to write a press release that gets your company the media attention it deserves.
We’ll talk about:
- What should your press release include?
- How should you format it?
- How do you end your press release?
- And, more
Let’s talk about how to write a press release that gets results.
How to Write a Press Release
Step 1: Identify Your Target Audience
Before you start typing your press release, it’s important to pinpoint your target audience.
Ask yourself, who are the people you want to address? Pick a perspective that interests your target audience.
For instance, you can’t interest a simple newspaper reader with the same message that interests a magazine reader.
Even better, you should create multiple versions of your press release to appeal to different segments of your audience.
Here is something important: Your potential readers aren’t the only ones that you should be focusing on.
You need to target the right journalists in order to make a press release work for your business.
Step 2: Structure Your Press Release
In order to make your press release appeal to your target audience, you need to structure it the right way.
You don’t have too many options when it comes to structuring a press release though; it’s the standard structure you should be following.
This will help a prospective journalist find relevant information in your press release easily and decide whether it’s worthwhile.
Structuring your press release in the standard format shows that you know what you are doing, which increases your chances of getting published.
So, what should your press release include?
The first thing that your target audience sees in your press release is its headline.
And, if your headline is not good enough, they won’t bother reading the rest of it.
So, you need to make sure your headline doesn’t only grab the attention of a reader but also makes them read more.
The simple formula is to keep your headline short, simple, and to the point.
Give your readers a teaser of what they will get in the rest of your press release.
Make it newsworthy and interesting. Realize that it’ll only take your readers a few seconds to decide whether they want to read the rest of it or not.
It’s important to keep your press release headline short because humans have a pretty short attention span.
Moreover, avoid clickbait in your headline; it can only hurt your trust with the journalists and will eventually attract the wrong kind of audience.
How Long Should a Press Release Headline Be?
The length of your press release headline should be 10 words at the most.
You should be able to grab readers’ attention and lure them into reading the rest of your press release in this word count.
Write the Lead
The next important part of a press release is your lead. You want to provide some important information to the reader without losing their attention.
You’ll essentially need to answer the five W’s in this portion.
- What the news is about
- Who is involved
- Where did it happen
- Where did it happen
- Why it’s important
Again, you want to keep your lead short and interesting while answering all of those questions effectively.
But, remember, you just have to pique their curiosity; don’t give them the farm yet.
What Tense Should a Press Release Be Written In?
Even though a press release might be about something that’s happened in the past, its title or headline should be in the present tense.
However, you should use the appropriate tense for the rest of it.
For instance, if your press release is talking about something that’s happened 2 weeks ago, it should talk about it like it happened 2 weeks ago.
Prove Your Trustworthiness
Now, if your press release is providing any information from an outside source, you want to cite it.
This way, you’ll position yourself as a trustworthy source of information.
It’s also important to make sure that the source you are citing is legitimate; steer away from fake news.
Provide the Essentials
Next, you want your press release to include all the basic details that journalists would want to know.
In short, tell them why your press release is newsworthy.
Make sure to not go into too many details; you don’t want to write a book’s chapter. Just the things that can get a reporter excited about publishing your press release.
Pro tip: Focusing on how your products can help people will get reporters interested in your press release.
Reporters are always looking for the stuff that can help their audience.
Provide Additional Data If Needed
If you think there is something else you should be adding to your press release, now would be the right time.
But, remember, most of the time, less is actually more, especially when it comes to writing press releases.
Your press release doesn’t have to be all text either. Including an image or two will help its visual appeal, and the right photograph will speak a thousand words.
Including quotes in your press release is always a good idea because they bring a different perspective and add diversity.
Provide Contact Details
You also want to include your contact details so that journalists can easily get in touch if they wanted to.
This is because journalists might have some questions to ask about the news or story.
Forgetting about this step can decrease your chances of getting published.
How to End a Press Release
If a journalist has read your press release this far, they might be interested to know about you more.
So, in the end, you want to present yourself and your business in an interesting and fun manner; like a business card on steroids.
Following the above steps will make your press release too attractive to ignore.
But, before you move on to the next step, make sure you’ve checked every box.
- Does your press release have all the elements we’ve discussed above?
- Is it newsworthy?
- Is it under 400 words?
- Is your headline catchy and interesting?
If so, you’ve got yourself a perfect press release to send out to the reporters.
Step 3: Deliver Your Press Release in the Right Format
An effective press release with the wrong format is like great food in lousy packaging.
After all, a majority of us humans are stimulated by great visuals.
The point is: The presentation of your press release counts, too!
So, what formats are commonly used and which one should you go with?
PDF: Sending a press release in a PDF file has been pretty popular in the past, but it has some drawbacks.
For one, a PDF file makes it tough for journalists to copy the content of your press release.
Although it can be the standard format sometimes, it’s not the ideal way to distribute a press release.
Plain Text: Plain text press releases are simple but they can be too vanilla. You want to make your press release interesting and worth sharing; something that’s tough to accomplish with plain text.
Interactive Press Release: The interactive press release format is the newest one on the market, which is why some journalists might be a little resistant to them.
Interactive press releases are the most user-friendly. They are easy to copy and download and difficult to forget.
Pro tip: While writing your press release, it’s important to keep in mind that the digital landscape is always evolving. Stuff that used to work in the past might not be effective now or in the future.
Step 4: Common Press Release Mistakes
The Story isn’t Newsworthy
- Is your press release story really newsworthy?
- Will it interest anyone outside your company?
- Is it interesting or new?
If so, your press release might be ready to catch relevant eyeballs.
If not, you might want to keep looking for an interesting and newsworthy story.
Remember: You should reserve your press releases for the most newsworthy and timely stories or announcements about your company.
Many PR pros tend to feel the need for consistent press releases, but it’s not the right way to approach this strategy.
It Beats Around the Bush
Getting to the core of your story right off the bat is actually the right thing to do.
You don’t want to beat around the bush and repel your readers. Many won’t even have the time to read through the whole thing.
So, communicate the bone of your story in the first few lines of your press release.
Avoid writing long press releases with self-promotional adjectives; it’s a huge turnoff.
Inauthentic Press Release Quotes
Quoting other people in your press release is a good idea, but you don’t want your quotes to sound unauthentic.
So, make sure if you include any quotes, they are real and sound authentic.
This was all about how to write a press release the right way.
By now, you should have a good idea about writing a press release that gets reporters’ attention and can go viral.
Here is a quick recap:
- Identify the audience for your press release
- Structure it right
- Deliver it in the right format
- Avoid common mistakes
We understand that writing can be a real chore sometimes, especially when you are suffering from the blank-page syndrome.
So, if you ever think of outsourcing your press releases to the pros, the Legiit freelance marketplace is your answer.
We host a lot of great press release writers that you can trust. Consider getting in touch with them here the next time you encounter writer’s block.