How to Write a Press Release
Hiring a professional press release writer can be costly, and if you’re like most small businesses, you’re not looking for an additional expense. Fortunately, writing a press release yourself is possible in a few easy steps. We’re here to help with this guide to everything you need to know to write a press release for your business.
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Why Issue a Press Release?
Now that you know what a press release is, you might be wondering why you should consider writing one for your business. There are several benefits to issuing a press release for your business; here are a few of the ways a press release can benefit your business:
- Easily brand your business.
- Increase foot traffic to your business.
- Effectively increase your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) and enhance your business’s online presence.
- Generate more sales by announcing a new product or service launch.
- Help your business gain momentum for an upcoming product release or business event.
Help your business get ahead of bad press and manage a crisis affecting your business.
Guide to Writing a Press Release
Generally, press releases should be kept short and to the point, but they still need to include enough context to inform the reader. Utilizing a standard press release format increases the likelihood that journalists will take notice and publish your announcement.
To write an effective press release that will promote your business and represent your business's brand, follow these easy steps.
Generally, a press release will follow this format:
1. Start the Press Release with the Date, Location, and Your Logo
Always start your press release with the date. If you are sending out a press release far in advance, be sure to include “EMBARGOED” before your intended release date to let the journalist know not to publish the press release until that date.
Next, list where your business is located by city and state. This gives readers an idea of where they can find your services or products as well as contextual information.
In the top right corner, include your business’s logo. Readers are more likely to identify your logo than your business name printed in a press release. By including your logo at the top of the press release you increase the likelihood of readers paying attention to your announcement.
A logo is a branding and marketing essential for businesses. If you don’t already have a logo for your business, create one for free with our logo maker.
2. Craft an Attention-Grabbing Headline
Your press release’s headline needs to be concise but attention-grabbing. This is the first thing a reader will see, and it can mean the difference between your announcement being published or set aside.
Here is an example of an attention-grabbing headline:
“TRUiC launches a business ideas generator for startups.”
Crafting a headline that gives the reader context without sacrificing brevity can be challenging; here are a few tips for creating the perfect headline for your press release:
- Keep your audience in mind. For example, if you’re sending your press release to local newspapers, it’s a good idea to include the name of your city or town in the headline.
- Demonstrate the impact of your news — but don’t over-exaggerate. If your business is truly accomplishing a “first” or an exceptionally newsworthy event, communicate that but make sure it is genuine.
- Read examples of great headlines. Do your research on headlines that are effective and impactful to get an idea of what your goal should be by reading press releases from your competitors, corporations, or other successful businesses in your industry and beyond.
- Take your time to get it right. When it comes to writing a great headline, practice really does make perfect. Spend adequate time thinking about this aspect of your press release to make sure it is as impactful and engaging as possible.
3. Give More Context With a Strong Introduction
Now that you’ve grabbed your reader’s attention with a powerful headline, you need to follow with an introduction or strong lead that encapsulates the essential news of your press release in a single sentence.
Here is an example of a strong leading sentence:
“Known for its free online business resources, TRUiC has launched an idea generator tool, an instrument that offers business ideas to those seeking to start up a business that will allow them to work from home, a physical store, or online.”
Following an attention-grabbing headline, this introduction sentence gives more context in an easily digestible format while focusing on the hook, a new product launch. To create a well-crafted introduction sentence, keep these things in mind:
- Identify your hook or the most grabbing aspect of your announcement and focus on it. You will have the rest of the release to go into detail; use this section to draw the reader in further.
- Come up with ways to convey information in the fewest amount of words as possible by pursuing examples from other press releases.
- During the editing process, don’t be afraid to keep rewriting until you get it right. Remove any unnecessary words or information to keep your lead concise.
4. Inform Further with Body Content and Quotations
The body content of your press release will give the reader more context about what your release is promoting. This section is generally multiple scannable paragraphs with additional details ordered by level of importance. For example, the body content can detail why you created your product or service, how the reader can benefit from using the product or service, and what makes it stand out from the competition.
One of the best ways to enhance this section and add value to your release is to include a quote about what you’re announcing. The quote you choose for your press release should be from a person that best represents your company, such as the CEO, owner, or an executive.
Here is an example:
“Nagabhushanam ‘Bobby’ Peddi, TRUiC CEO, recently stated: “Every step of the entire process is geared at helping budding entrepreneurs save time and money. This is offered through free tools and reasonably priced service providers. Maintaining a business can be just as difficult as starting it, so we provide a list of private and public resources dedicated to assisting small businesses even after their creation.”
When you include a quotation in your press release, be sure to include the name of the person being quoted and their position. Moreover, the quote should be natural, not forced.
5. Include Your Company’s Boilerplate
Your company’s boilerplate is essentially the “About Us” for your business. This standardized text is generally a short paragraph that gives the reader insight into what your business is about and its history. Having a pre-written boilerplate increases the searchability of your previous press releases and saves you time when writing releases.
Here is an example of a boilerplate section:
“About TRUiC: Founded by a team of entrepreneurs, TRUiC aims to make entrepreneurship more accessible to all Americans determined to start a business. Since 2008, the team with experience from different backgrounds have tapped into their unique perspectives to create a plethora of understandable guides. These cover everything from finding ideas, planning, creating, and accessing free legal forms. Free guides are accessible to everyone for all essential business services, including insurance, taxes, and accounting. Besides finding all these services for free, businesses can also access professional services that TRUiC has carefully vetted.”
A standardized boilerplate makes searchability When writing your company’s boilerplate, there are a few things you should make sure to include:
- Your mission statement. Your business’s mission statement provides the reader with an overview of your company’s values and intentions.
- A business description. Determine the details about your company that showcase relevant information about your business such as what services or products your business offers, when the company was founded.
- Keywords. Adding targeted keywords to your boilerplate can signal to search engine algorithms that your business is associated with certain keywords, boosting your SEO.
- Calls-to-Action (CTAs). This is optional but can prove to be effective if you want to direct readers to a specific website, social media account, or other destination.
- An example of a press release CTA: “TRUiC also has information on starting nonprofits and charitable institutions on their How to Start a Nonprofit article."
6. List Your Press Contact
Finally, you need to include your company’s press contact information. Your press contact is whomever you have designated to receive press inquiries, serving as a point of contact for journalists and media outlets. Be sure to include the name, phone number, and physical address when listing your press contact:
“Name (Press Agent)
If you don’t already have a press contact or a PR team, a member of your staff can serve as a press contact. Your press contact should be someone you trust to represent your company’s values accurately. To select the right press contact, here are a few tips:
- Look for someone on your marketing team. Marketers typically have a good idea of communicating with the public or media outlets in an effective, professional, and agreeable manner, so this is a good place to start.
- Look at members of your team that have strong communication skills. Team members who are articulate and personable with strong communication skills can make great press contacts because they can effectively convey important information about your company.
- Consider an owner or executive. People in higher positions in the company not only know how to represent their company well but have a stake in the success of press relations.
Distributing Your Press Release
Half of an effective press release is the timing it’s distributed. There are two ways you can distribute your press releases: you can send them out yourself or hire a press release distribution service.
If you don’t have the time to dedicate to distributing your press release or you’re not sure where to start, consider using a press release distribution service. Not only are these services capable of identifying the right destinations and contacts to send your press release to that will be the most impactful, they also may offer press release writing services. For many small business owners, time is a resource that can’t be wasted. By using a press release distribution service, you save time and save your energy to focus on your growing business.
If you plan to send your press release out yourself, you need the time and resources to commit to finding the right destinations. Your aim is to find interested journalists and media outlets that are likely to publish your press release or additional content about it. A good place to start is looking at local print publications such as newspapers, local TV stations, local radio stations, and popular local websites.
Once you have a few destinations in mind, you need to find the right contacts for each outlet, such as journalists, radio shows, and news segments that cover events within your industry. Finding the right contact to send your press releases to can mean the difference between your news gaining traffic and it being passed up. Here are some helpful tips to distribute a press release yourself:
- If you aren’t getting responses via email, try going offline and submitting your press release in person or by mail.
- Send a follow up if your press release is published to sustain the momentum and give viewers more context.
- Don’t send your press release in a PDF. This format makes it far more difficult for journalists to copy and paste the information for publishing which decreases the likelihood of them sharing your press release.
What Is a Press Release?
A press release is an official statement by a business given to the press for public knowledge. Press releases are typically short and to the point, providing only the information necessary to communicate with the public about a product launch, business update, or other information pertaining to your business.
The key to an effective press release is to present information in the most objective way possible to appeal to readers and bring attention to your business. Next, you’ll distribute your press release to news outlets and journalists. However, that doesn’t mean they will use them. Your press release needs to be engaging and newsworthy to gain momentum.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you end a press release?
The sign-off of your press release should be your press or media contact and how to reach them. Generally, it’s a good idea to include a phone number, name, and physical address for your press contact.
How is a press release structured?
Typically, press releases include six sections structured in the following format:
- Date, location, and logo
- Body content
- Press contact
Where do you send press releases?
Press releases are sent to a number of journalists and media outlets. You can either contact interested parties to send your press releases or hire a press release distribution service that will disperse your release for you.
Should I send a press release in Word or PDF?
When you send a press release for your business, the best formats are either a Word Document or pasted directly into the email body. Sending a press release in a PDF format makes it much more difficult for journalists to copy the content and use it, which lessens the likelihood of them sharing your news.
Do press releases work?
Press releases are one of the most powerful tools small businesses have to build their brand and enhance their credibility. By issuing a press release, your business can gain foot traffic, grow its online presence, and boost SEO.