Drafting a press release sounds easy enough to do, right? Wrong. You may think that all you need to do is create a headline, opening paragraph, and include a quote or two from an executive. Truth is that to create a relevant press release, you need to have a press release template that guides you through the process.

A press release template is valuable because it:

  1. Outlines what is needed
  2. Guides you through the process
  3. Involves collaboration between stakeholders

Having a deep understanding of what’s needed and how to draft a press release can help your marketing messages pull through too. Your PR and SEO will improve.

In short, many tech startups just slop a press release together not thinking about who may read it or what objectives it can accomplish. Your press releases need to be low on jargon, strong on message, and high on differentiation and positioning.

Following are four tips, press release examples, and a press release template to help you get started.

1. The Press Release Headline is Your Most Important Asset

The Press Release Headline is Your Most Important Asset
The Press Release Headline is Your Most Important Asset

Photo by Matthew Guay on Unsplash

The headline is the bait. It’s the most effective piece of content to use when trying to grab the attention of a journalist. Let’s break down some press release headline examples:

Zoom Acquires Keybase and Announces Goal of Developing the Most Broadly Used Enterprise End-to-End Encryption Offering

The press release headline resonates with the intended audience because of these qualities:

  • Company Name (Zoom) – prominent in the headline
  • Active Voice – says immediately what the Company is announcing
  • Unique information – “Goal of Developing the Most Broadly Used Enterprise End-to-End Encryption Offering”

ModCloth Breaks Up With Black Friday

Here’s another example of a strong press release headline because it makes the reader want to know more about the “breakup.” Specifically:

  • Company Name (Modcloth) – prominent in the headline
  • Active Voice – says “breaking up”
  • Unique information – Why would Modcloth break up with Black Friday? I would think that would be one of their busiest days? Let’s find out, is what the reader is thinking about.

To get another 20 strong press release headline examples, check out what our friends at CoSchedule shared.

2. How To Make the Lead Paragraph Tell Your Story

How To Make the Lead Paragraph Tell Your Story
How To Make the Lead Paragraph Tell Your Story

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Every press release template will have these identical elements:

  • Your location (ie. OAKLAND, SAN FRANCISCO, SAN JOSE, etc.)
  • The date that it will be released – MONTH, DATE, YEAR – in that format

What doesn’t have to be the same?

Too many startups want to be creative with their lead paragraph and use it to tell a story like they would if writing an article. But, that misses the point of what a press release is mostly used to achieve – secure media coverage. The lead paragraph basically expresses the following:

  • What is your company name (including a link to your company homepage)?
  • What does your company do that is different than the competition?
  • What are you announcing?

Let’s go back to the Zoom example. In the lead paragraph, you can see the bolded areas that cover all of these three points that support the headline.

Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZM) and Keybase today announced that Zoom has acquired Keybase, a secure messaging and file-sharing service. The acquisition of this exceptional team of security and encryption engineers will accelerate Zoom’s plan to build end-to-end encryption that can reach current Zoom scalability.

You can see in the example above that the lead paragraph includes all of the three pieces needed to have a newsworthy headline. I say this because, as mentioned above, the point of a press release, in most cases, is to generate news.

Now, one must keep in mind that there are many different kinds of announcements and one size won’t fit all. A partnership announcement like the one above will have different content than a product update announcement or a new hire press release.

However, every press release template will have similar attributes including:

  • Headline
  • Subheadline, in some cases, to further the point of a headline, add more color
  • Lead paragraph, as noted above, and…

3. Quotes from Executives

Quotes from Executives
Quotes from Executives

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

The lead paragraph example above is from a public company, but in this exercise, we’re focusing on private companies. Private companies are less constrained with what they can say in a press release. When private, a company can make “forward-looking statements” or make market assumptions that will have no effect on the company or stock market. A good quote will include:

  • Enthusiasm – Sometimes executives will use alliteration or cliches or even metaphors to make a point in a quote. This allows the content of a press release to be relatable, more easily understood to its intended audiences.
  • Focus – Distill down marketing messaging into talking points that help accelerate the adoption of a company narrative.

To see great press release quote examples, follow this link.

4. Last and Not Least, Write a Press Release Boilerplate

Last and Not Least, Write a Press Release Boilerplate
Last and Not Least, Write a Press Release Boilerplate

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

In every press release template, you will see a “boilerplate,” which is, what it says, content that can be used over and over in different contexts. So, if you included a boilerplate, a short paragraph about your company, in a press release announcing a product, you would use it in a different press release, even though both releases are focused on dissimilar subjects. Boilerplates can be broken down as such those compiled by Newswire in the image below.

Does this press release template help you pass the test?

Drafting a newsworthy release that is succinct can be a challenge for the most experienced writer. Start out with your objective, marketing messaging, and fill in the holes.

  • Journalists are looking for newsworthy items
  • Search engines are indexing content that has keyword phrases and sub-keyword phrases
  • Readers of your press release may be from various stakeholder groups
  • Linking back to content on your website from your press release will also help SEO
  • Include a logo, product images, videos, if applicable
  • Add in a call to action (CTA) and links to your company’s website and social media profiles

Your press release is a big deal. It is an official announcement from your company. Keep it simple, on message, and newsworthy. Using this press release template will help ensure that you will have the best press release ever.

The article originally appeared on 2pinz.