How to Write a Press Release

 

There’s plenty of articles out there describing how to write the perfect press release. Here’s one, two, three, four of them. In this post, I’ve compiled tips I’ve read along with my own workflow to present a really simple way to write an effective and engaging press release. Here goes.

Start with Why

As with anything content related, identify the point. Why should your audience care about this? Is it truly newsworthy? Who do you want to know about this? Which of your personas are you targeting? Once you know that stuff, the rest is pretty easy.

Layout Your Content

I hate the foreboding feeling that a blank document brings. In my perfect weird nerdy world, I would just open a blank document and begin writing perfectly phrased stuff that made sense and was on point. But the world doesn’t work according to my nerdy rules. So I open a document, and start laying out where I want to put my future amazing copy.

Remember that your press release should be no more than one page long.

Elements to Layout

  1. Headline (duh) – This needs to be catchy, intriguing to your target audience, and sum up the benefit to that market. Don’t overlook the power of a great headline!
  2. Byline – Include the date, location and the overall point of the release (why it matters, who should care)
  3. First paragraph – Summarizing the newsy thing. Make sure the crucial information you want people to know is in here, and presented in a high level way that is easy to read, but grabs attention. If you want your audience to read anything at all, it’s what’s in this paragraph. Focus on it.
  4. Second paragraph – Highlight the direct benefit(s) to your target audience of this product/news update.
  5. Third paragraph – All about research backing up the claims in the second paragraph.
  6. Fourth paragraph – Provide additional product or news item details that are cool, and include a quote from someone related to the product/news item. Quoteables go a long way, and certain distribution channels like PRWeb allow you to highlight a quote in the release.
  7. Fifth paragraph – Summarize the entire release, closing with a reminder of the main benefit to this target audience.
  8. Contact info – End with an “About XYZ Company” paragraph, summarizing your entire company offering, as well as a contact name, phone number, email address and call to action.

What’s That, A Call to Action?

Yes, a call to action. If the release is product release related, the call to action could be a push to download the latest version or download the app if it’s a brand new product. If it’s news related, like a merger or acquisition, the call to action could be something as simple as pushing people to your website. Whatever your goal is – have one, and implement a relevant call to action to support it.

Distribution

The easiest way to handle mass distribution is to publish your release with a service like PRWeb or PR Newswire, who will push out your release for a fee. They each have targeting options and provide handy links to your social media accounts, which is nice. The other distribution option is of course the old school way… pitching editors and other newsy types. Who has time for that?

But seriously, a combination of both methods is ideal. Mass distribution has its place, and is so handy, but nothing beats a personal pitch to an influencer or editor you know is a great fit for publicizing your event/product. Don’t underestimate the power of personable relationships, and real-world networking, to get things done. If you don’t already know a few main influencers in your industry, start making a list and getting to know them. It will pay off in the long run.

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