A good marketing strategy has many moving parts, one of which involves PR and marketing teams working together to make announcements and share company news. The most common way of doing this is by creating press releases. But it’s critical to know how to write a press release that is compelling enough to garner attention.
Of course, just going through the motions of creating press releases for their own sake isn’t going to be effective. It’s important to understand the role they play and to craft them so that they entice the audience and command attention.
The basic idea of a press release is to send out a newsworthy bulletin aimed at journalists and people in your industry to tell them about something your company is doing. For example, it might be about a product launch, a new corporate hire, or a piece of research that you’re releasing. Other press releases could be about new partnerships, company accolades, or even to put out fires if the company becomes involved in some type of controversy.
Marketers should definitely know how to write a press release in order to support their overall marketing strategy.
What is the format of a press release?
No matter what your press release is about, the basic structure will be the same. Think of it like a newspaper story, which uses an inverted pyramid so that the most important information is at the top, followed by the details. You’ll start with an informative headline, and the date and location. Then, the first paragraph is your main announcement (the who, what, when, where, why, how), followed up with supporting information/details and relevant quotes from company leaders. The last section is your company boilerplate. It’s also a good idea to include a media contact somewhere on the release (typically found at the bottom of the article or a panel on the right-hand side) so that interested parties can get in touch for further information or commentary.
Pro tip: Use press release examples from your favorite brand as a guideline.
How long should a press release be?
Your intention is to garner media attention, so the last thing you want to do is bore reporters with a long press release. Grab their attention right up front, and then try to keep the main body copy to just a few paragraphs that contain the pertinent details. If it were to be printed, it shouldn’t go past one page.
A step-by-step guide for how to write a press release
Now that you have the basic framework of the format, let’s get into the specifics of how to write a press release.
Step 1: Determine what the main message of your press release should be
Step 2: Craft a headline and a one-sentence summary
Step 3: Start the article off with a bang
Give the most crucial elements of your announcements in the first paragraph. Be sure to include the “why” so that your readers understand why your release is important and relevant to them at that moment in time.
Step 4: Add some color
Once all of the facts are laid out, you can get into the supporting details (think bullet points and/or statistics), and colorful quotes from your company leaders. Try not to be too sales-y, however. Treat it more like a news story rather than a company advertisement.
Step 5: Finish it off with some final touches
End with your boilerplate information (a brief description of your company), and how to get in touch for more information.
How often should you send out press releases?
The short answer to this question is: as often as necessary. Don’t look for reasons to send out press releases just because you think you need to issue one. Instead, share important news as it happens. Remember, press releases are not a company newsletter with mundane updates – they should be treated as important bulletins to announce that something of note is happening or is about to happen.
Press release examples and templates: should you use them?
You might be wondering — what are the pros and cons to using an example or template for your press releases?
Templates can certainly make life easier when creating press releases since they generally follow the same formula. The purpose of a template is that you can follow it and plug in the specific information so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you start a new press release. If that’s you’re use case, then by all means.
However, be mindful not to fall into the trap of relying so much on a press release template that your releases feel like they are forced and repetitive. Each one should stand on its own and have a natural flow.