Press releases may not be the flashiest piece of marketing your company ever creates, but they are a valuable and essential component of public relations strategy. Whether you’re looking to learn how to write a press release for an event, product launch, or any other newsworthy topic, the following advice will help you to create a successful one.
Tips for writing a press release
It can be easy to fall into the trap of monotonous templates. If you want your press releases to succeed, you must create the release based on the story you’re telling, and look for ways to spice it up.
LaneTerralever’s PR manager Shetha Alaskar reinforced that the way you choose to package information is incredibly important for its success. “Having language and images that show the potential of a story to come alive for the audience can really make the difference in terms of earned media coverage.”
In addition to how you package your release, research and select the most relevant journalists and outlets to share it with, prior to writing. The more relevant the journalist, the more likely they are to show interest in your announcement.
Once you’re ready to start writing your press release, Alaskar said you should ask yourself: “What makes this newsworthy?” Whether the hook is a great visual, a growing trend, or a big change, you’ll need to view it from the perspective of the journalists and outlets you’re pitching.
Also, consider if a digital press release is your best option. While it is certainly easy, sometimes taking a more invested route and sending a release through the mail or hand-delivering it to an organization’s office can help it stand out from the rest.
Press release format
Generally, press releases will include the same information pieces, like the 5 w’s: who, what, when, where, why. But just because your releases will cover the same categories, it doesn’t mean you should be working from the same template each time.
“I think it’s a balance,” Alaskar said. “Devoting time to creating standards that are uniform and help keep things consistent can be great for quality control and efficiency. But that should free you up to think of creative ways to add the personal touch, which is still beneficial.”
Press release must-haves
Starting from top to bottom, the following should be considered when creating a press release.
- Contact information. The impact of a press release will be greatly diminished if interested journalists don’t know who to contact for inquiries and coordination.
- Captivating headline. The people you’re sending press releases to are busy and likely inundated with numerous other releases. If your headline doesn’t grab their attention, there’s no promise they’ll dive into the body copy to learn more.
- All the details. If you caught attention with the headline, now’s the time to fill in the gaps and details in the body copy. Be sure to start with the date and city where the press release originates, and then dive into the lead where the reason for the release should be concisely laid out. You’ll want to keep your body copy fairly short, with your release keeping to about one page, two max. This is where you can add the majority of the 5 w’s. Warning: Check and double-check your facts. “Inaccurate timing and locations actually do happen in press releases and can be a disaster, especially for broadcast crews,” said Alaskar.
- About. Journalists are not going to follow up if there’s no background on the organization or company that’s the focus of the release. Clearly describe what your company does and consider including a link to a relevant homepage.
In addition to the must-haves above, Alaskar said her advice for what to never leave off a press release is perspective. “Don’t get caught up in a laundry list of details; always make sure you’re including the voice of the client.”
Importance of a good press release
Besides bringing awareness to the specific event or topic you’re highlighting, a good press release can also help benefit a company’s marketing plan. Releases written with SEO-informed headlines can be quickly found online by your audience and help boost the company’s online image.
“Taking charge of your own narrative is crucial,” explained Alaskar. “I liken PR basics like regular press releases to business basics like operations – they’re essential.”