How to Write a Press Release: Get Media Attention and Increase Your Company’s Credibility
Why is it Important to Create a Press Release?
A press release is a document that is distributed to the media, usually through email. It contains information about the company and its products or services, and it can also include interesting facts, newsworthy events, or other relevant information.
Press releases are usually written in an engaging journalistic style to attract media attention.
The purpose of a press release is to get media coverage for the company. A successful press release will be picked up by one or more media outlets and broadcast on TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines.
A well-written press release will contain information that will be of interest to journalists so they are more likely to pick it up.
For example: if there has been a change in management at the company then this would be something worth mentioning in the press release as it could be of interest to journalists who regularly cover business news.
What Makes Up a Press Release and What Should be Included in One?
A press release is a news story that is distributed to the media and other interested parties. It is a written statement about a new product, service, or event.
A press release should include the following:
- Title of the press release
- Date of publication
- The name of the company, organization, or individual issuing the release
- A clear description of what is being promoted and why it’s relevant
- Contact information for who should be contacted for more information
How to Write an Attention-Grabbing Headline and Make Your Press Releases Count
Headlines are important to nailing your press release. Having the media interested in what you’re releasing is also great advertising for your product. A good headline should advertise who you are promoting, summarise the content, and target it to a specific audience.
Tips for Creating An Effective Press Release That Gets Noticed By The Media
In this section, we will share some tips on how to create an effective press release that gets noticed by the media.
- Make your headline as eye-catching as possible.
- Include the main points of the release in the first paragraph.
- Provide a link to a video or other multimedia content if you have it available.
- Make sure to use keywords and phrases that will help your press release rank higher in search engines and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
- Keep it short and sweet!
How Is It Distributed?
This all depends on what you’re comfortable with. Generally, there are three ways to do this: manually, through a syndication service, or by way of mailing contacts.
Let’s take a closer look at how it is distributed:
We like to use manual distribution for PR. While it takes more time, sending out personalized emails (along with the press release) can increase your chances of getting media coverage.
The internet gives you a lot of information these days. Not just work-related info, but also personal info too. It’s easy to find someone’s email address if you want to or need it.
Here are a few ideas you can try next time you’re sending an email. You can:
- Write an email subject to grab readers’ attention – editors receive lots of press releases every day, so your email needs to be short, snappy, and include enticing selling points like “Interview opportunity with Apple CEO Tim Cook.”
- Address your recipient by name, make it personal.
- Briefly tell them the reason why you’re writing.
- Tie your message to their publication or business. (Why would this piece of news suit their publication?)
- If you want a story on a given topic, try coming up with a few angles. You can also include the interviewees’ names and designations.
For the next point, use your judgment to determine if the angle you want to push is good enough for a story. For example, a SaaS platform launch in SE Asia may capture blog & media interest from different nations. To increase your chances of having your story covered, send out one- to two- sentence pitches with your press release and email.
Via a Syndication Service
Syndication services act on your behalf to distribute press releases. PR Newswire is one example that has an extensive network of contacts with the media. It can be used to schedule or release news on your behalf to thousands of media outlets, including newspapers and magazines.
Via Your Media Contacts List
A press release can be sent out through mailing lists, like ones maintained by your company’s communications team or a hired outside agency.
In these media contact lists, you’ll often find people categorized by what publications they write for and the subjects they specialize in — such as technology, food and drinks, personal finance, entertainment, and so on. This ensures only relevant press releases are sent to them. It’s a great option if you want visibility and needs to grow your contact list.
What to Avoid In A Press Release
Before you start writing a press release, make sure that you have a compelling story to tell. In the introduction, include the problem your product or service is solving and how it solves it.
Also include who your competition is, what makes your company different from them, and why your company deserves attention from the media.
Writing a press release is relatively easy once you get the hang of it. But it can also go very wrong, so take heed of the following:
Not Having A Clear Point Of Focus
It’s hard to say this enough: the press release should only contain one major newsworthy item. You can mention anything you want to in the rest of the release, but it needs to be there so that people know what your story is.
Complementing this piece of information is necessary for the rest of the press release.
If you’re unsure, reach out to a friend and ask them what they think. Ask yourself: “Would I be interested in covering this as a news story?”
Being Too Wordy
Keep your press release around 400 words, and try to cut out the nonsense if it’s too long. Before you publish does it make sense? And remember, keep it simple & clear.
Being wordy is a common mistake that people make when they are writing a press release. There are many reasons why people do this, but the most common is that they want to be sure that their reader gets all the information they need.
The problem with being too wordy is that it makes your press release hard to understand and it takes up more of your readers’ time. This means that you lose the opportunity for them to read other things, which hurts your chances of getting them to share your content.
If you find yourself in this situation, there are some things you can do about it. First, try cutting out any unnecessary words or phrases to shorten up your release without losing any important details. Second, if you still have too much text after editing out, try removing items that are too general.
Expressing Opinions or Sounding Too Promotional
Having a delicate balance between the selling and comfort factors is something that can be difficult to do. Once you find that balance though, you’ll be all set.
To avoid sounding too promotional, avoid using words like ‘world’s best, ‘top of the class, or ‘groundbreaking’.
A common problem for content writers is sounding too promotional. This can be a tricky balance to achieve, but you’ll be in good stead once you find this balance.
The subtle sell can be tricky to achieve, but you’ll be in good stead once you find this balance. The key is to not sound too promotional – it’s all about balancing the needs of the reader with the needs of your business.
Unless you can back these up or are a leading business in your industry, such phrases could work against you by reducing your credibility.
Using Too Many Quotes
We recommend using no more than two quality quotes. What defines a “quality” quote, then? This brings us to the next point.
Quotes are a great way to add color and personality to your writing, but it’s important not to overdo it. Quotes should be used sparingly to preserve the voice of the writer and avoid sounding like a textbook.
Boring, clunky, or manufactured quotes
Choosing quotes can be tough. However, The Guardian says that writers should release insight on their company and not just information. Press releases are supposed to summarize what has been seen, but they should also provide commentary on the story. They should tell the reader what they can take away from it and what this means for them.
Let’s take a closer look at what makes a poorly written quote:
- A lazy quote does not provide any new information or does not have any meaningful impact.
- A clunky quote may use too many sentences, be hard to understand or make unrealistic claims.
- Manufactured quotes pose the same issue as sounding too promotional.
How To Craft A Press Release In 14 Steps
Now that we’ve given you the basics, use this step-by-step guide to make your press release come alive.
1. Understand the AP Style guidelines
The Associated Press is an internationally renowned news agency. Their style guide can help your press release content to be in line with the AP’s standards, which will, in turn, make editing for accuracy & consistency easier. AP doesn’t give any advice on how to layout a PR, though.
So we’ve put together some general guidelines you can follow:
Use a common font
Stick to one font for your press release. Times New Roman or Arial are a great starting point.
Style your font
You can bold or italics text to stylize your font. Try it with headings, too!
- Header: 14 pt
- Subheader: 12 pt
- Body: 12 pt
- Image captions: 10 pt
Write in third person
Third-person writing is the best way to make your brand come across as professional and approachable. You can do this for mentions of your brand or quotes from a spokesperson.
2. Choose Your Format
But there are different ways of doing a press release, and you’ll want to decide between them before getting to the actual writing. Here are some of the most common ways:
In pdf format
Once you’ve created a list via the email distribution and uploaded it to your website, you can also upload a pdf in the same place too.
In interactive format
Interactive PRs are becoming more popular because you can share or click to visit related pages easily.
This is especially helpful for shorter press releases that are near the top of the page because it manages to keep them in one neat section. However, editors and journalists usually like to copy text and download images. So it is a good idea to upload your “in email” press release on your website too. That way you can track your backlinks and mentions easier as well.
3. Pick A Newsworthy Angle
Choosing a newsworthy angle can be hard, but with help from your ideas you can come up with one that will interest readers. Ask yourself why the story is newsworthy and what makes it more interesting than other stories on the same topic.
This is an important angle that should go into the opening sentence.
4. Add Your Release Date
Now onto the writing. Let’s clarify if the information in the press release can be made public right now or needs to be censored until a specific date.
It should look like this (delete accordingly):
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE or EMBARGOED UNTIL [DATE AND TIME + TIMEZONE]
5. Leave Filler Text For Your Headline and Summary
Leave some space on your release page so you can fill in the headline and summary later.
6. Write A Strong Opening Paragraph
The most important info should be at the top of your release. To identify what those key details are, use the inverted pyramid:
Think of this in terms of how news articles are structured.
The next paragraph should make it clear what your press release is about. Your headline should summarise the most important information, and the opening paragraph should answer the five Ws and one H (who, what, when, where, why).
- Who: The name of the company releasing the information.
- What: The piece of information you’re disseminating. What’s the press release about?
- When: The date of this event, whether a campaign launch or new hire.
- Where: Where can your readers find out more? You can choose to include a location or links to more information here.
- Why: Why this information matters, and why it’s a story worth being told.
- How: How the information adds value to the company, its users, or the industry.
7. Body Paragraphs
This section is about the content and structure of a body paragraph. A body paragraph should have a topic sentence, supporting details, and a closing sentence.
The topic sentence should be the main point of the paragraph and it should be written interestingly so that the reader is encouraged to read on. The supporting details are what back up your claim in the topic sentence. The closing sentence is where you sum up what was said in the paragraph.
8. Add Relevant Quotes
It sounds like you’re putting together a press release! Be sure to include at most two quotes, and ideally from only two different people. It’s important to get quotes from people at the company or industry who seem credible and in a position to speak about the subject. A standard press release will usually start with a catchy opening paragraph followed by a quote. You can always add more quotes depending on the needs of your PR campaign.
9. Add Images
You can add images or they can be left out, but research shows that press releases are more likely to be read if this is done.
If you are launching a product, including high-resolution images in your body copy makes for better reading and provides a stronger vision of what you offer. Please include a link to downloadable assets (try using a URL shortener tool like bit.ly) at the bottom of your press release.
10. Craft A Compelling Headline and Summary
Typically, press releases are written in chronological order. But to draw readers in, these two elements should be included at the end of your draft. Having to write a press release can be time-consuming, especially when you’re trying to sum up all of the most important points in one clean and concise headliner.
Your first paragraph should set the tone of your story, but don’t worry about going into detail. Your summary is a little different, it’s meant to be a brief overview of the whole article and leave people on a cliffhanger that will compel them to read more.
You can write your headline just by capitalizing the first letter of your sentence. We recommend using a title case, meaning that most words have a capital letter at the start. Here’s a toolbar that’ll help you get your headlines looking good.
Boilerplate is a type of text that is often used by press releases and other types of marketing materials. It can also be found in agreements, contracts, and proposals. The content of boilerplate text varies depending on the context it is being used for. In general, the boilerplate text provides basic information about a company or organization that is not specific to the situation at hand.
Boilerplate text can be found in many different types of documents. A lot of press releases will include boilerplate text about the company issuing the release and contact information for further inquiries. Contracts and agreements may include boilerplate language to cover all possible eventualities and make sure that all parties are on an equal footing when agreeing. Proposals may also contain boilerplate language to provide basic information.
12. Close Your Press Release
Below your boilerplate, indicate that your press release has ended with the “###” notation.
13. Press Contact Details
In a new section, add in the necessary contact details so that journalists and editors can contact you easily.
Try using this format:
Name (bolded) Name of company or PR agency Email address (Country code) contact number.
14. Review Your Copy
After you’re done writing your press release, then go back and review it by going through the below steps again.
In particular, check for the following:
- Is it objectively written?
- Is it newsworthy and succinct?
- Does it contain the key details?
- Quotes, images, details on event or launch (time, date, and location), etc.
- Are there typos or stylization errors?
- This happens more often than you’d expect, especially when it comes to people’s names.
- You should also check for stylization errors. For instance, it’s “AirPods” and not “Air pods.”
Finally, get a second opinion from someone more experienced—this is a crucial step in identifying anything you may have missed.
Once everything’s in order, your press release is ready for distribution.
Tracking The Performance Of Your Press Release
A natural next step is looking into your press release analytics.
Press release analytics are an important part of your marketing strategy. They give you the insights you need to understand what is working and what isn’t.
You can use a press release analytics tool to track the performance of your press releases. This will help you get more visibility on your marketing efforts and find out what is working best for you.
The analytics will show you how many people have seen your press release, how many people have shared it, and how many of those shares led to conversions. Distribution services offer basic reports that you can use to measure things like click-through rates, conversion rates, backlinks, and downloads when you release a press release in pdf form.
Webmaster tools like Ahrefs can be a great help if you don’t want to spend too much on such tools. When you use them, it’s easy to keep track of backlinks and mentions.
How To Track Backlinks
Here’s a screenshot of how to set up your first project with Ahrefs Webmaster Tools. Then you’ll go to Site Explorer, enter the URL of the page on which your press release is hosted and you’ll be able to see all the backlinks that the site is getting.
To see a detailed breakdown, click on the left panel then go to Backlinks > Backlink profile. Here, you can see live backlinks as well as recent and historical ones. If you’re in a hurry or not sure if it’s worth signing up for a free account, try our free backlink checker tool instead. This tool will find the top 100 backlinks for your page.
How To Track Mentions
If you want to be updated about the mentions of keywords, quotes, or your latest products, you should sign up for Ahrefs Alerts. You can do so by entering the necessary info below. Those alerts will appear in your email inbox at a frequency of your choosing.
A lot of people might just think that Ahrefs Alerts is just like Google Alerts. While they are similar, our study reveals that there are some differences to take note of.
Lots of people misunderstand what a press release is and what to use it for. You don’t want to make the same errors and make sure you read this article for more information. The basics of creating a press release should also never be overlooked
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