How to write a press release?

How to write a press release?

In today’s times, more than 90% of journalists rely on an online press release for new stories. Multiple times, brands have admitted that they are able to reach a larger and more focused audience with the help of a press release. With the advent of the age of social media, millions of people rely on online news to keep up with the current happenings around the world. In this current scenario, optimizing a press release is more important than ever to create the right kind of impact. 

A press release is an official and formal piece of writing that a company or an individual may release to journalists in today’s scenario any other form of media to deploy a specific piece of information. In a world that survives on innovative marketing, it is important that your press release is in line with the objectives of marketing and communication of the company/individual. 

Objectives of an effective press release

There are various occasions on which a company or individual can send out a press release. Some of the events include winning an award, organizing a new event, launching a new product or service, merging or collaborating with a new company, and rebranding. Of course, the list is not limited to these events. For any such occasion, the following can be the direct/indirect objectives of a press release: 

  • Deploy vital information to stakeholders and customers (including audience and prospective customers)
  • Increase engagement with the audience that also includes reaching out to potential customers
  • Setting up a brand image by positioning the news item
  • Improving or mending public relations by the company

Press Release Format

Over the years, you can develop your own specific press release format. However, every press release format has the following common elements: 

  • Headline: Answering the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the press release
  • Subheading: Further elaborating on the headline, introducing the subject of the press release
  • Paragraphs: Contains detailed explanations relating to the ‘how’, ‘when’ and ‘where’ of the press release as well. You could write one or two paragraphs depending on the content of the press release.
  • Bullet points: Summarizing the important information including facts, figures and highlights of the release
  • Boilerplate: A brief description or bio of the company/brand/person releasing the information into the media
  • Contact information: Provides relevant details about the methods of contact and contact information of the concerned people

Making sure that you include the above-mentioned information in your press release ensures that you get the desired press and media attention. Here is an example of a press release that contains all the vital points of the format:

Writing an effective press release

Even though each company or individual can follow a different format when it comes to press releases, it is vital to keep the following tips in mind while writing press releases so that they can make the most impact on the audience and benefit your company/persona: 

Establish your goals: Before you even begin the process of writing an effective press release, it is vital that you set some definite objectives for the same. You could consider answering the following questions in the objectives:

  • Who is the press release for?
  • What are you trying to accomplish through it? Dissemination of information about the company? Introducing a product in the market and increasing sales through awareness? Or Sharing information and findings of a research. 
  • Will it only go out on social media channels or will also be printed in physical form in media channels like newspapers?

All these objectives will help you in building a successful strategy and you will be able to write an effective press release. 

Headline: This is the first thing anyone would read in your press release. Your headline should be catchy enough to make the reader feel the need to read the complete information. At the same time, it should maintain some mystery and not give out all the relevant information. Even though all you have to do is write one line, it requires high skills to write a crisp and catchy heading that almost literally forces the readers to go through the entire copy. However, make sure it is not just a fad. That is to say that if your press release is not worth the excitement it creates, it will only disappoint your audience. 

Here’s what interesting and irresistible headline and subheading look like! Wouldn’t you want to read what this press release says? You could use more action words in the headline too. 

Length: Most of the press releases are short, crisp, and to the point. It is vital that your press release does not exceed the length of one page, or at the maximum, two pages if absolutely necessary. While keeping the length in mind, also consider sending out all the necessary and relevant information without missing out on any point that may need further clarification. 

Use Bullet points and quotations: In order to make the press release more interactive and easy to read, use bullet points to summarize the important facts and figures of the information being disseminated. Although it is not a common practice to include famous quotes or sayings in the press release, it can make for an interesting reference for media people who will share the release further. 

You can include such quotes by relevant people in the company as shown in the press release above. 

Boilerplate: Writing a boilerplate is writing the vision, mission, targets, goals, and the working of the company, all in a couple of sentences. While writing boilerplate, make sure that it is a standard introduction to the company which can be used at any later stage as well. It can be an important piece of marketing material which will also position your brand or company in the market, especially if you are launching a new product. 

Proofread & Copyediting: Even experts are bound to make mistakes in writing. Even if you consider yourself knowledgeable and well-versed in writing such copies for the press, proofread your writing at least 3 times before it goes out to the press to make sure there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. You wouldn’t want to put yourself in an embarrassing situation like this, right? Also, get a second pair of eyes to look at the press release because sometimes one person going through the same content tends to ignore or overlook the common mistakes. 

Know when to send a press release: There are times when you can release a press release in a way that it gathers the maximum attention of journalists and readers alike. Send it on weekdays at timings when not many people prefer to send out such information. This way, your release will not be lost in the crowd of information people/journalists receive on a daily basis. This time can differ for each industry. 

Know what will get the attention of your target audience: As per your objectives of writing a press release, include something in the headline that will be of relevance and interest to your audience. For example, in the image below, in addition to announcing the update on funding, Liquid.com also got the attention of journalists who would like to cover stories on unicorns and tech unicorns in a very smart manner. 

Reflect the brand: Last but not least, a press release is just like any other piece of marketing material and should reflect your brand. Include your brand logo and tagline. You could also include keywords or phrases and taglines related to your products and services. The colour theme could also be relevant to the brand by using brand colours and themes. 

Conclusion

There are experts who specialize in writing press releases but it is not a difficult task if you follow all the steps mentioned above. One very important element in writing an effective press release is that it meets its objectives, whatever they may be. From setting the objectives to final proofreading and sending it out at the correct time, all steps have their own importance. So make a checklist and get started!

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Pooja Bhargava

Head of Operations at italics
Pooja is the head of operations at italics, a content marketing agency based in India. She manages content development and marketing for clients belonging to a wide range of industries. She is more than 8 years of experience in SEO content writing, copywriting, thought leadership and article writing. She is also a certified psychologist and an expert in analysing consumer behaviour to generate winning content

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