Writing an effective press release may not be the greatest struggle you face as a writer, but it does take a lot of strategic thinking and planning. Putting out your own word to the world requires great attention and you need to do it in the most correct way possible. In this article, we will be focusing on how to write an effective press release and their many aspects.
What is a Press Release?
Press Release or News Release, or Press Statement, or a Media Release; all essentially mean the same thing. It is an official announcement that is issued by any organization to the media houses. This is a good old-fashioned way to bring attention to what’s happening in the business and thereby, leveraging from the gathered publicity and buzz.
While marketing and media keep evolving, the fact that people still read news and the headlines are known to cause a stir among the audience, is proof enough to say that Press Release is not out of fashion. The biggest brands, including Apple, Target, etc use this old form of communication to their best motive.
It is a one or two page long document which summarizes the breaking news you want to share with the public. It does not beat around the bush much and directly comes to the point. The press release emulates a news article format with a reverse pyramid scheme, meaning the most important information is given first, followed by the secondary information, and so on.
As we progress through this article with examples, the meaning and the writing style of Press Release will become more clear and in no time, you would be writing an unrejected piece of news statement.
The purpose of your press release can be anywhere between getting media coverage, building brand reputation, managing a crisis, building backlinks, or simply just marketing.
When should I Write a Press Release?
The motive is clear here; you have a piece of news and you want to share it. But the bigger question here is, what is worthy of being called news?
As your audience comes across a large magnitude of content every day, you need to make sure that the news piece stands away from the general crowd. This means, the headline, as well as the body of the press release, should be presented in such a way that it grabs attention, stays with the person who reads it and creates a ripple effect in the audience.
This is why it is short and precise!
Here are some newsworthy things:
- Rebranding: Press Release presents an important role during rebranding as it allows for a smooth transition and lets your customer and stakeholder know what to look for. You should clearly mention the changes, the reason, and when they go into effect.
- Product Launches: The product launch press release is perfect to get the word out about the new invention or solution that your organization is offering. Make sure to include everything about the product so your customers can make a decision.
- Mergers & Acquisitions: Any major change in the organization which leads to a merger should be newsworthy. This will inform your current and future stakeholder about the organizational path.
- Partnership: Similar to announcing mergers & acquisitions, you should also announce a new partnership. The press release should highlight each company, the benefits of the partnership, etc.
- Awards: Putting your business excellence and achievement out in the news is not bragging. It affirms the position of your organization as well as the trust of the customers.
- Welcoming new executives/Hiring: Any new executive that is becoming the face of the company is a newsworthy piece. You should include a picture, brief biography, and other relevant information.
- Grand Opening: Whether it is a new office, or you’re opening a new brand in a new city, all these announcements can make a very good press release. Make sure to add all the relevant information like date of the announcement, celebration, offers (if any), etc.
Information and Content that your Press Release should Include
There is a need to present all the relevant information in the press release to make sure that nothing misses your target audience. Here what you should always include:
- Headline: It is as important as the body of the article. Make sure you spend extra time to make it interesting, relevant, and to the point.
- Contact Information: Where and how can the media get in touch with you or any other relevant person.
- Add the Location, including the city, state, country. If the news is happening elsewhere (opening a branch) include that also.
- Body of the Article: This will include the information in an inverted pyramid which we discuss later.
- Boilerplate: A brief description of your organization, work, products, etc.
Press Release Format
The Press Release is a very brief and to-the-point piece of content that does not need much in terms of information. You have to present what people want to know without playing any games.
The format is as simple as you would think it should be.
- The Headline of the article
- Contact Information and “For Immediate Release” at the Top
- Summary Bullet Points – for news editors and people to have a brief idea about the press release.
- Next, add the State and City in the first line, allowing the audience to instantly know where it is happening.
- 2-3 Paragraphs with all the details you want, along with a quote in the middle from a person of authority.
- Boilerplate Content
Now that you know enough about Press Release, let’s see how we can write an effective and perfect one!
How to write a press release?
- Start from the top
Before you start writing the press release, it is essential to summarise it in a few bullet points. To do so, you have to be clear on the angle of the story, and who it will impact. The perspective should be crystal clear and as mentioned, it should be short and precise.
The press release is commonly divided into the type of news they’re presenting. This includes whether or not your news has an impact on local communities or way of life. It could also present another side to ongoing conflict, or can just be progressing or informing people about the solutions to a certain problem. Your press release can even be dramatic and titillate the emotional nerve of the audience.
There are 5 W’s you need to remember and work it out before starting with the summary and main body of the article.
- Who is this story about?
- Who is affected?
- What is happening?
- Where is it going on?
- When will it occur?
- Why is it important?
It can either be a future event or a past event which you are relaying to the audience.
Now that you have the base clear, let’s see the second point.
- Eye-catching headline
How often do you skip reading an editorial or a news piece because the headline seems mundane? With the many mediums and platforms for content, it is very crucial to make your one news piece stand apart. Cause’ if the audience never reaches the main article, what’s the use of writing one?
The headline is the soul and essence of the article. Like first-impression matters, likewise, the headline is your first chance to grab the attention of the reader. That one line can make a difference between a successful and unsuccessful press release.
The trick is to keep the headline simple, clear, and short without any fluff or frizz of any kind. You have to make it easy for the people to grasp the headline to its fullest. You can also take help from a SEO company to make strategies on-point, and bring in a word or a term that can captivate the audience.
A compelling headline takes a lot of time and effort, but it is worth it!
- The value of your news
After your headline, you move towards the main article, and you have to work the magic perfectly to make the reporters, analysts, influencers, or followers to be impressed enough to share your press release.
Typically, this involves answering the 5 ‘W’ that we discussed earlier, which includes who, what, why, where, and how of your announcement, launch, or update. The reason why Press Release is advised to be pretty concise is that the reporters are busy people, and they don’t have the time to sift through the many unnecessary details to arrive at the main part. If you want to help them tell your story from an authoritative point, you need to give them exactly the hot topic in the first paragraph itself.
Make sure nothing important or no new development takes place after this main section, as it could be missed. To do so, we follow the reverse pyramid formula.
What stands at the top of the pyramid is the headline and the first paragraph that sums up your story in a few sentences including the 5 ‘W’s. Then comes the secondary information like how it came about, why it is important, relevant quotes to add credibility, and so on.
The last level of the pyramid is known as boilerplate content where you list the time and date of the event (if applicable) or simply put contact information so people know where to direct their questions.
- The power of a Quote
Quotes add a personal touch and the detail that your reader is craving by now. Since Press Release is used for important events, there is always a section of society who wants to see what advice or statement the experts have weighed in.
The quote should be relatable to the news piece and help to paint a picture of how this will affect the industry, customers, any other thing, etc. The quote is ideally taken from a person of authority or key figures like stakeholders, executives, projects leaders, etc. One or two critical spokespeople can be used to shape the narrative and emphasise on the announcement. The quote can either be rooting for the change or announcement or can be a word of positivity for the people or can even have an emotional impact. The type of quote depends upon the type of press release you’re aiming for.
- The final information and background
So far, you have given the reader all the vital information of the announcement that can be sent forward. You may be tempted to provide unnecessary information, but remember that you have to keep it to the point and helpful.
You can use this space to offer further details on the announcements, and some successful narration of your company’s previous products or anything else that can accentuate the trust factor. You can use this space to inform the people why you’re making the change or how it has helped the company in the past.
In the end, you should also include the Point of contact – the person who should be contacted if anyone wants to reach the organization, email address and phone number.
6. Boilerplate Content
You’ve reached the end of the inverted pyramid. The boilerplate content is placed at the end of the press release and describes the company or organization. It is a very brief description which should include the following points.
- The name of your organization
- Your mission statement.
- Founding dates.
- Company size.
- A brief statement on how your organization is working towards the goal mentioned in the PR.
With this, we end the press release and this article. There is a lot of technicality and thinking that goes into writing a successful press release. With the information presented in the article, you can easily draft a compelling piece of news. For more inspiration, you can keep an eye on the press release from the big giant companies and follow into their footstep.
Hope this was helpful enough to make you write a press release that goes through the newsroom without being rejected. If not, you can always give it a try again!
Shekhar Malhotra is the Founder and CEO of King Crescent, a Digital Marketing Agency in New Delhi, India. With his expertise and caliber, he has helped many clients reach their desired ROI along with proper marketing techniques. Owing to his in-depth knowledge of Digital Marketing, he works with an array of clients ranging from the construction industry to the beauty industry and has many successful campaigns to his name. He has also brought forward new ways to market a brand, ditching the age-old practice of monotonous and blind promotion.