Press releases are essential tools for any marketer, allowing a company to get its latest news out fast. They can boost a business’ reputation, improve website ranking, and help manage a crisis, all with little cost.
However, they must be well-written. Journalists are too busy to respond to everything in their inbox and the average person already has a lot of content vying for their attention. To learn more about creating a killer press release, read on.
1. Mimic a news article format
Remember, journalists are strapped for time and may need a few hundred words to fill a blank space. Use the reverse pyramid structure that news articles are written in, which involves putting the most important information at the start, to increase your chances of being read and published.
It’s important to keep it fairly short, with the body copy taking up roughly three paragraphs, and to follow the AP style guide.
2. Show why the press release matters to the publications’ audience
There’s no point in just emailing a press release on say, t-shirts made from recycled ocean plastic, to every news organisation. Sure, the eco-friendly outlets and some mainstream outlets will pick it up, but for other media organisations, it’ll require a bit more work.
If the t-shirts’ profits go to an LGBTQ+ charity or the t-shirts were handmade in Liverpool or they were designed by someone with a disability, then these open up new outlets to pitch to, with just a few tweaks to the press release.
3. Find the ‘now’ angle
If it isn’t new, it’s not news, and that press release won’t make it past a journalist’s first glance. While a valuable marketing tool, press releases aren’t adverts, so they should only be written and sent out if they share something newsworthy, like:
- Product launches
- Research Findings
- New executives, if the company is well known or the hire is a big name
- Crisis management because it’s better to get ahead of a scandal
4. Get some promotional gifts
While not strictly related to writing the press release, this can help boost the company’s profile through the giving away of small branded gifts, like the pens or mugs found at https://www.pens.com/uk/, at events or product launches. If the event is virtual, these promotional giveaways can even be posted to the press release recipient.
5. Vital Information Checklist
After writing the first draft, double-check the press release for these key things:
- The words ‘For Immediate Release’ or ‘Embargoed until [date]’
- A bulleted summary of the press release immediately after the headline
- Location of event/company at the start of body copy
- Quotes from relevant people
- Press contact information
- Background information on the company (a Boilerplate)
Also check for spelling, grammar, and any sentences or paragraphs that are unfinished.
6. Where to send press releases
As mentioned above, newspapers are arguably the most important outlet to send press releases to because other media organizations scour newspapers and their websites for content inspiration.
However, they can also be sent directly to relevant industry publications, bloggers, and business contacts, as well as released via the company website, blog, and social media.
Hopefully, this has given you the basics to write press releases. If you stick to these tips, you should be able to tackle whatever topic comes your way.