Ultimate Press Release Components

With the press release nearly as ancient as Methusalah, it’s easy — far too easy — to bash this relic.

Yet, it’s been estimated that some 2,000 releases are sent a day by the major wire services alone. In fact, as a B2B PR and marketing agency, we frequently send releases on behalf of our clients

What gives?

In fact, press releases with their inverted pyramid format of the big news on top are ideal for our 140 character world. And indeed press release headlines make excellent Twitter bait. Not to mention that the media still find them useful and that they get indexed by the search engines.

Yet so many press releases are pro forma with all the excitement of an IRS manual.

Imagine your press release as a meal. A bland, tasteless dish may fill a physical need for sustenance, but that’s about it. A flavorful and aromatic meal, on the other hand, creates an experience for all the senses, and will be remembered long after the meal is over. When you make your press release flavorful and exciting, it will keep your readers coming back, searching for more.

You have the opportunity to create more than a simple, by-the-book press release. Here are 5 essential press release components that are sure to add flavor and pizzazz to your releases. And get them read!

(For more information on promoting your press release, click here.)

1. Draw Them In With a Riveting Headline

People often underestimate the power of a headline. Yet those few, well-chosen words contain enough power to make or break your B2B press release! Picture scrolling through your news feed. What motivates you to open one story and not another? The headline!

Getting your press release headline right is a vital b2b best practice. The journalist who reviews your release — and ultimately has veto power — needs to be hooked right from the beginning. Will he or she keep reading or mentally check out and move on?

The job of the title is to grab attention and encourage the journalist to read more. –Debbie Leven

That is why this is one of the most important press release components — and deserves serious attention. Choose powerful and emotional words that will stimulate your reader’s appetite to know more. Don’t go with the first headline you think of — mull it over and return to the drawing board several times before landing on a headline that creates the emotion and attraction you’re looking for.

(Click here to find out how to create gripping headlines that people actually want to read.)

2. Craft A Newsworthy First Paragraph

Remember, journalists read numerous pitches and potential news releases every day. Most journalists read the first paragraph, and only skim the rest, so make it count!

Your first paragraph should tell a story that reels them in and persuades them to read on. Why does your story matter? How is this different from every other press release they’ve been inundated with? Answer these questions and serve your reader a fresh and compelling angle.

Keep it succinct and informative – no thesis-length first paragraphs! Avoid using jargon that will weigh down and bore your readers. Feature your main point front and center so that journalists — and readers — won’t have to hunt for it (and possibly give up).

Don’t expect journalists to sift through your news release to find the angle — Lisa Morton

3. Include Attention-Grabbing Quotes

The business nature of a press release can come off as boring and robotic. Facts and data have an undeniable place within a press release — but adding a human touch creates a balance and harmony that enhances your release.

A relevant, believable quote will add reliability and a compelling human element to your press release. Contact a client or partner who can talk enthusiastically about your company. That emotion is what distinguishes a great press release from a bland, “meh” one. Too many quotes sound like they were written by a robot. Make your engaging.

4. Wrap It Up With a Clear Call to Action

The absence of a call to action is a missed opportunity. There’s a reason why the best B2B marketing strategies include a definitive call-to-action. You’ve put in a lot of work to craft a winning press release. Now it’s time to cash in on that strategy by leveraging a call-to-action.

There’s no such thing as a successful marketing campaign unless there is a successful CTA. –Jeremy Smith

A motivating call-to-action will turn your well-earned readers into leads. Give your interested readers a place to go next. Whether it’s to a landing page for a downloadable PDF, or just to your website for more information, calls to action are a crucial part of B2B best practices.

(For more information on how to create calls to action that convert, click here.)

5. Get Your Timing Right

Timing can essentially make or break a press release. If your release comes out at the same time as other major events, journalists and bloggers — and even readers — won’t give it the time of day.

Don’t let your press release fall flat simply because of bad timing. Do your research before you choose a release date. For example, are you launching tech product. Make sure Apple isn’t introducing it’s latest iPhone the very same day. Your announcement will pale next to Apple’s. Reduce foreseeable scheduling conflicts, and you’ve given your release a shot out of the gate.

If possible, choose a time when your press release will be relevant to your audience. An innovative product that is environmentally friendly may gain more traction if released around Earth Day.

(Click here to find out more about creating a killer press release.)

Use these five press release components and your press release will get the attention it deserves. It will be read and, if truly engaging, savored.