How to Write a Good Press Release that Journalists Will Notice
Press releases sometimes seem like an outdated form of business communication but they are still an important part of your overall PR strategy. We are going to share with you why that is and how to write a good release that will get noticed.
What Is a press release, anyway?
A press release, or news release, is a document that shares business updates and other newsworthy information from a company or brand. Press releases let you connect with journalists, while also building SEO traffic just like other types of content. If you pay to have the release distributed by a newswire like Businesswire or PR Newswire, they are distributed more broadly and picked up by national websites. Journalists often reference press announcements when they write articles on newsworthy topics.
Why write a press release?
With constant social media sharing available, you might wonder why a press release is relevant any more. Here are three crucial reasons why press releases should still be part of your content strategy.
- Press releases are searchable
Most of us turn to Google whenever we have a question. In the vast sea of information available online, it can be hard to know where things come from. At least when you find a press release, you know where it started! And, ensuring that the press release remains searchable online can also serve to tip a journalist off long after the release was issued.
- Press releases tell your story
A well-written press release should lay out your firm’s news or perspective. This is a prime opportunity to showcase your point of view.
- Press releases are meant to be shared
Guiding a journalist and sharing your news are the two main goals of a press release. Information in a release can be shared and reproduced without any copyright barriers.
When should you create a press release?
The main reason to write and distribute a press release is to promote a newsworthy finding or event. But, how do you know when something is newsworthy?
Consider these factors:
- Impact: Will the larger community be affected by this development?
- Urgency: Is the news timely?
- Recognition: Are any of the parties involved well-known?
Format of a press release
Successful press releases usually follow a formula that tells a cogent story, answering the basic questions – who, what, when, why and how.
Here is a standard format for a press release:
- Attention-grabbing headline: Just like other types of content, a press release needs a catchy, attention-grabbing headline that summarizes the story and will entice a journalist to read on.
- Time and place: Press releases must include a dateline that tells the reader when and where the news originated, that is, where your company is headquartered.
- The lede: The first sentence should be forceful in capturing the essence of your story and why it’s newsworthy.
- Body: The body is the main content of your press release. It should include at least one quote but typically no more than two, as well as proof points to support the lede. Depending on the material, using bullets and subheads can be helpful in keeping the reader engaged.
- Boilerplate: Your company boilerplate is positioned at the end of a press release summarizing key background details about your company.
- Press contact: Always include the contact details under the boilerplate. This is the person journalists can contact in order to get more information.
Write a good press release in 7 steps
Follow these steps to craft a persuasive press release.
- Make it newsy
The main purpose of a press release is to share newsworthy information that journalists want to write about or to advance a story they already know about. If you are struggling to find news, consider these approaches:
- Share Exclusive Data: Has your company done any exclusive research recently? Share the data and results with the media.
- Try Jumping on the News: Newsjacking is when a company rides the news of the day adding their own perspective or take on the story. For example, you can offer expert commentary on a controversial new ad, or a new technology.
- Create a Compelling Connection: While press releases are traditionally fact-based, they do not have to be boring. Use action words to tell your story as well as data and dollars, which will more likely lead to journalist interest.
- Craft your headline
The first thing any reader will see is your headline. Be direct, use verbs, and make a bold (but true!) statement.
- Write your lede
Your lede paragraph summarizes the essence of your release.
- Build your story
Think of the body as an inverted pyramid. You need to include the most important information at the top, then supporting points including the wider context, data, bullets, quotes, and other information.
- Craft relevant quotes
Quote one or two of the highest ranking executives in the firm and make sure they say more than how excited they are to see this development occur. Try to include a unique opinion or perspective on the news. Avoid restating facts in quotes which can be better stated in the body paragraphs.
- Add your boiler
The boilerplate is a short, standardized paragraph that includes key facts about your company. You can include historic details, such as a founding date, or marketing goals.
- Include a media contact
Make sure to finish with the name and contact information for a media contact so reporters can follow up if they have questions. This should include their name, title, email address, and phone number.
Trust your press releases to Rally Point
Now you understand why press releases remain a PR mainstay. That said, there are thousands of press releases issued each day, so it’s important to work with experts like Rally Point to make yours land with a bang.
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