Press releases are an important aspect of a company’s communication strategy.
The press release is still very much alive and well, whether organizations send them to the media, post them on their website, break them up into social media postings, or utilize them to establish a consistent message across the company.
Here is my step-by-step approach to creating an effective press release, updated with fresh material.
What is the definition of a press release?
While press releases are used by businesses to promote their products and services, they are not advertisements.
Journalists are fast to recognize companies who make something out to be news in order to gain free publicity.
Short, factual news articles are provided or offered to the media in order to persuade editors, journalists, and broadcasters to include the story in their publications or programs.
They can also be altered for company magazines, newsletters, ezines, and emailers and published on the creator’s website (typically on the news and/or media page).
How to Write a Press Release: A Step-by-Step Guide
To produce an excellent press release, follow these ten steps:
- Make sure your story is newsworthy.
- Choose the appropriate media sector to target.
- Respond to the six W questions.
- To structure the press release, use the inverted pyramid.
- Make a headline that is interesting to read.
- In the third person, write
- In the first paragraph, summarize the story.
- Set the scene for the story.
- Per Press release, limit yourself to one story.
- Make a powerful quote.
1: Make certain you have a noteworthy tale to tell.
You must have something novel and significant to communicate.
You can’t simply write about the merits of a product or service in an ad or brochure if your customer simply wants to advertise it because it’s not selling well.
You’ll need to come up with a newsworthy angle. Answering the below questions will help you find the newsworthy angle for your story.
Is this a current story?
Is it something that recently happened or something that is about to happen? Today and tomorrow are considered recent, but never yesterday. Keep an eye out for hooks in breaking/current news items.
What is the distinctive perspective of your organization on this issue?
Is there anything else you can contribute to broadening our horizons?
What does it have to do with what will happen in the future?
Does the story have RELEVANCE for the readers, viewers, or listeners?
A story is more noteworthy if it affects a large number of people. It must be relevant, important, and fascinating to the target audience of the magazine or program.
Who does your tale have an impact on?
What effect does it have on their lives?
What advantages does it provide?
What about this story is UNUSUAL or UNIQUE?
A good story is one that hasn’t been told or seen before.
What is the story’s unique feature?
What is the typical scenario?
What makes this circumstance unique?
Is there any TROUBLE or TRAGEDY that could add TENSION to the situation?
Whether you like it or not, bad news sells papers. (Or increases the number of clicks and views.)
Journalists adore stories with conflict, suspense, and tragedy at their core.
If you’re in charge of a company’s or an individual’s reputation, though, you won’t want to be putting out news releases about their problems. Given the media’s need for drama, position your tale as a way for your product, service, person, or organization to help decrease or overcome difficulties.
In what ways does your story go against the grain?
Could it assist people in overcoming adversity?
What problem are you assisting in the reduction or alleviation of?
HUMAN INTERESTS – WHERE ARE THEY?
People make news for other people. Try to focus your story on people rather than items or services. Including a celebrity in the event helps to pique media interest, especially if a photo call is included.
Who is involved in this?
Is there anything heroic or outstanding they’ve done?
Why are they interested in or affiliated with your company?
Would you want to run it if you were an editor?
Assume a printer maker wanted to advertise a certain model of home printer. It’s not brand new, and it looks a lot like a lot of other models on the market. You might make it newsworthy by claiming that the company has sold a record number of units or that fresh research has revealed that it has cut the cost of home printing by 33%. (Of course, the facts must be accurate!)
2: Select the appropriate media sector
A press release, like any other piece of successful content, should be crafted with a specific audience in mind.
You don’t write directly for that target demographic with press releases, however. You write them for the editor/journalist/broadcaster, and you tailor them to the publication’s/readership/viewers/listeners. program’s
Although the majority of each customized press release will be similar, you will write a distinct headline, opening paragraph, and potentially a quote for each media outlet.
If you were writing about a new pasta sauce, for example, you may discuss the profit possibilities for ‘The Grocer,’ the origin of the natural ingredients for ‘Men’s Health,’ and the flavor and convenience for ‘My Family.’ You may even give a regional twist for weekly papers by referencing a local fitness teacher or foodie.
3: Respond to each of the six W questions.
The six W questions — who, what, where, when, why, and how – should be answered in every press release.
WHO IS WORKING ON/HAS WORKED ON SOMETHING?
Who is impacted/involved in this?
People who are interested in books, literature, writing, the arts, and other related topics.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW/HAVE THEY BEEN?
Sponsoring the Maidstone Book Festival and providing guests the opportunity to win a new BMW 3 Series.
WHERE are they doing it, and when did they do it?
WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO DO IT/DID THEY DO IT?
WHY are they doing it in the first place?
WHAT WILL BE DONE/WHERE WILL IT BE DONE?
What impact will it have on people?
4: Structure the press release using the inverted pyramid
With the answers to the W questions in hand, you can now use the standard inverted pyramid form to organize your press release. As a result, you’ll be able to offer the most crucial information first.
You use templates partly because the media doesn’t have time to delve into why the world needs a new widget or how it was developed (they just want to know if your new widget will be of interest to their readers), and partly because the template makes it simple to cut the story to fit the space available. There’s no need to change anything. Simply start cutting from the bottom paragraph and work your way up.
The media will know what the story is about if the title is short and straightforward.
In one or two phrases, the first para summarizes the entire story.
The second paragraph places the story in context, explaining why it’s significant.
The third paragraph contains specifics, such as who is involved, how it happened, and so on.
A relevant quote is included in the fourth para to add information, credibility, and/or opinion.
The fifth paragraph shows where people may receive additional information, buy products, become involved, and so forth.
5: Come up with a catchy headline.
The headline is vital, as it is in most copywriting. The headlines of press releases not only inform the reader about the news, but they also serve as a sales pitch to the media.
Headlines are used by the media to assess whether or not an article is worth reading.
They’ll probably delete or bin the press release without even reading it if it doesn’t attract their interest. Getting the attention of the media, however, is not the same as getting the attention of the audience.
Make no attempt to be obscure or witty.
The media don’t have time to figure out what you’re talking about (a busy news desk receives hundreds of press releases every day).
Even if they like your clever headline, they won’t be able to/will not utilize it. They want to be able to craft their own story. Allow the media to write their own headlines while you save your innovative ideas for your own publications and channels.
Ideally, your headline should say something like “someone does something worthwhile,” “someone helps overcome a huge challenge,” or “someone solves a major problem.”
6: Use the third person to write.
Because you’re not writing directly to your target audience, your press release should be written in the third person. So instead of “We’ve signed a deal with…”, say “ABC Ltd has signed a $10 million deal with XYZ Ltd.”
You’re also not writing the narrative that might be published in the newspaper. You’re writing it from the perspective of your client/organization.
7: In the first paragraph, summarize the story.
The first paragraph should expand on the title by providing a more detailed explanation of the story.
The trick is to get all of the important details over without saying too much too quickly. A strong first paragraph should be able to stand on its own. Consider it similar to a radio newscast.
8: Set the scene for the story.
The second and third paragraphs go on to describe the ‘why and how’ behind the ‘who and what’ if you think of the first paragraph as ‘who is doing what’ or ‘what’s happened/happening now.’
9: Each press release should only contain one article.
You probably have two or more stories if your press release fills a second A4 page.
Make it a habit to notice when one tale finishes and another begins. Also, don’t intertwine a weaker plot with a strong one. You’re just going to dilute the excellent one.
If you need to include more information, do so in the ‘notes to editors’ section at the conclusion of the release. Alternatively, you may write a second press release.
10: Compose an enticing quote
The quote is the only section of the press release that can’t be changed by the media. So don’t squander them on clichés and reiteration.
There are far too many quotes simply to acknowledge the presence of a CEO, a partner, a sponsor, a client, and so on. There’s nothing wrong with getting endorsements; just make sure they’re relevant.
Include information/details that aren’t found elsewhere in the release.
Explain why a certain product, service, or collaboration is advantageous to people.
Give a new product, service, or collaboration legitimacy.
Express a perspective on a topic that is significant to you (preferably one that is different or contentious).
They don’t sound like they were written by a PR firm or department.
That’s all there is to it. In ten (very simple) steps, you can create the perfect press release.