When you or your company needs to get the word out on something important, writing and submitting a press release is a great way to do just that. But if you’ve never written or issued a media release, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Fortunately, press releases are fairly standard and straightforward to create. And when it comes to sharing them with the right audience, there are now many options for getting your press release where it will have the greatest impact.
Before You Start Writing Your Press Release
To get your news in front of the people who need to hear about it, you’ll need to craft an announcement that states the facts in an interesting way. Press releases do this with a compelling headline, a brief summary, and a release that shares the most essential and interesting details.
Before you compose your media release, you’ll want to gather the right information and then organize it.
When you have all the facts and know exactly what you need to share, the writing process will be that much easier—and it will also allow you to focus on making your release as compelling as possible.
A press release is a marketing tool, but it’s not promotional and it should always prioritize a journalistic approach. That means you’ll want to focus on the who, what, where, when, why, and how of your newsworthy development.
Keep in mind that your goal isn’t to generate excitement or hype. Instead, you’re simply reporting on the facts of a development. If you choose the right facts and focus on why they’re important, your audience will respond without much convincing on your part.
In other words, you’re not trying to get people excited; you’re reporting on news that will give your reader a reason to be interested.
What You Need To Write A Press Release
A good way to start a press release is to build a simple outline with answers to the following questions:
Who made it happen and who will be most interested or affected?
When and where did it happen?
How did it occur?
Why does it matter?
If possible, you should also collect a statement from one or two people who were directly involved with the development. Quotes are useful for supporting the key points of the press release and they create a more current and creditable quality. Make sure you always accurately credit the person who provided the statement wherever the quote appears.
Once you’ve got these facts defined, all you have to do is organize them to create your press release, as well as a summary, headline, and boilerplate.
When You’re Ready To Start Writing Your Press Release
Most press releases are divided into three main components, which are an introductory paragraph, a main body, and a conclusion.
To write your introductory paragraph, start with the most compelling and noteworthy details. This will typically consist of what happened and why it matters.
The main goal of this introductory paragraph is to give your reader a reason to read about the details, but even if they skim the remaining text of your press release, you want to make sure they understand your news and why it deserves attention.
The most compelling press releases are going to focus on the target audience. To make your introductory paragraph interesting, you’ll want to lead with what happened and why it matters, but you’ll also want to allude to who will be most affected and should be paying attention.
If, for example, your company has launched a new app, you’ll want to mention who the app has been designed for and what it will enable them to do. You can save the details of all the app’s features and how it was developed for the body of the press release, but you want to lead with a strong hook of what happened and why someone should care.
The main body of the press release is your chance to tell the story of what happened. Tell your reader when, where, and how behind your piece of news.
The main body is also your opportunity to expand on the information from your introductory paragraph and include any quotes you’ve gathered.
Ultimately, you want your reader to come away feeling informed, with a positive impression of your company or brand, and also interested to learn more or what’s next. Once you’ve shared all the details of your development, end with a brief conclusion that tells the reader where they can go or whom they can contact for additional details.
The Press Release Boilerplate, Headline, And Summary
Once your press release is written, include a short boilerplate or bio after its conclusion. This consists of a couple of statements that explain who is issuing the press release. The boilerplate is an opportunity to explain what the issuing party does and what makes them credible.
Finally, a press release will need a headline and a summary. Headlines can be challenging since they must grab the attention of the reader but they must be objective and concise. To accomplish this, think about the most important hook from your introductory paragraph, then sum up that information in a simple statement.
A well-crafted press release headline will answer the questions of what happened and why it matters, ideally in ten words or less.
Building off of the headline is the press release summary. Consisting of two or three statements, the summary is a chance to add a little more context to your headline and give the reader an overview of your release’s content.
Depending on where your press release is published and how it’s displayed, a reader may only see the headline and the summary, so make sure these two elements are structured to generate interest while also giving an accurate overview of what’s in the release.
How And Where To Submit Your Press Release
Once you have your press release, summary, headline, and boilerplate, and you’ve also completed a thorough quality check, your next task is to get it in front of an audience.
Traditional press release distribution methods involve contacting individual media outlets and requesting they publish or report on your release. This can be a suitable option for local news and small media publishers within your niche.
If you decide to pursue this option, you’ll want to prepare a brief pitch to preface your press release to encourage the editor to share your news or report on it. Although some press releases do catch the attention of editors and journalists when directly submitted, it’s often faster and more effective to publish your press release through a PR distributor or newswire.
Online press release distributors are partnered with media and news syndicate networks. Once your press release is submitted, the distributor will publish the release for circulation on media and news sites within their network. News curation services, like GoogleNews, can subsequently feature your press release based on how users search.
Before you choose and submit to a PR distributor, keep in mind that each press release distribution service will have its own submission standards. Be prepared to make adjustments based on some publishing criteria.
Although some free press release distributors do exist, they may require you to sign up for other services and even then will offer very limited or lower-quality distribution.
The majority of reputable press release distributors will charge a fee for distribution or require you to open an account to access their services.
The cost of press release distribution typically depends on the potential reach, size, and prestige of the media syndicates and sites in its network. It’s useful to do a little research and compare the cost with the potential value and caliber of the distribution service.
Discount press release distribution may not deliver the reach or reflect the quality you require while high-prestige media distribution may not be a justifiable investment if your goal is to reach a specific audience, so make sure to consider the results you’re looking for and choose a distributor with care.
Remember to also utilize your press release outside of media distribution by making it available on your website or blog, sharing it through your social media posts, and spreading the word through your mailing list.