Businesses and brands want to get recognized compared to consumers who want to get their news quickly
They’re looking for headlines on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets.
A press release can control the narrative of your brand. While a press release is mostly about a new product it can also be about changes in your company’s structure that helps you stand out in the mind of a journalist.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
What is a press release / news release?
A press release is an official statement that an organization writes to give to news media outlets. There are various names for this such as press releases, press statements, news releases, and media releases. It all means the same thing.
The heading should have action verbs while the first paragraph should answer the “who,” “what,” “where,” and “why.” The press release should not be complex as it will be read by consumers. So use understandable language.
Most press releases are about a page long, two pages maximum. Of course, companies want to provide as much information so that news outlets have enough material to publish on their sites.
An important thing to remember is that a press release is in the public domain. This means that both your stakeholders and customers can see this.
So instead of thinking that a press release is a way to gain coverage, think of it as a piece of marketing. While there’s no structured formula for what a press release should include, here are a few types to help you know what to focus on in your press release and determine the contents to help you broadcast your news in the best way possible:
This type of press lease is valuable to get the word out about anything new of what your company can offer to consumers. This should emphasize the company’s specs. Price, availability, and other details that are valuable for the consumers
Sample Press Release Format
When formatting a press release, have it in a straightforward way for a journalist so they can imagine how it will look on their news site.
Here are the basics to include in any press release:
- Contact information is located in the top left corner
- “For immediate release” phrase should be at the top right corner
- A headline that quickly explains the announcement
- Your business location in the first sentence
- A quick bio about the company at the end of the press release
- Contact information and ‘For Immediate Release’ at the top
- Title and italicized subheading to summarize the news
- News location and news in the opening line
- Two to three paragraphs to add context and additional details
- Bulleted facts and/or figures
- Company description at the bottom
- Three-pound symbols (###) at the end to signify the end of the release
You might want to include three-pound symbols (###) or a different signifier to indicate that the release has ended for the journalist. Before, this helped journalists to search for more information when there is no more news. And this tradition is still adopted and respected today.
The body of your press release should include:
- The first paragraph should state the announcement while providing context about your company and what it does
- The next couple of paragraphs should have quotes from a spokesperson or business executive to explain the reason for the announcement
- Last paragraph should be an “About Us” section so it explains what is your company and what you offer
Here is an example from Catbrella Inc. This is an ad agency that gained Twitter followers after two years of paid social media efforts and announces this achievement in a press release.
Having a press release can help businesses grow. However, it is important to do it correctly. Here is how to write a press release step by step.
How to Write a Press Release
You have an announcement in mind and how it’s time to share it with your community, industry, and followers.
Just like writing a blog post title, it’s important to set up the press release for success with the headline. Having one line capture the reader’s attention is scary, but it’s important to consider the wording carefully to have it be captivating.
Here are some tips to make your headline stand out.
- Use action verbs
- Be specific
- Keep it short
Most importantly have it be interesting. Journalist and reporters receive dozens, hundreds, or release each day. So invest the time ad energy to write a compelling headline.
On the other head, consumers see news stories all the time on their timelines. So having an interesting headline should be enough to reel them in.
For your press release to be newsworthy, you need to give the readers something to care about.
A good way to ensure this is by using a reverse pyramid formula. This writing method goes from the most important ideation to the least important.
- While the first paragraph should explain who, what where the second paragraph should explain the why.
Journalists and reports don’t have much time to look at every detail in a press release. They need the facts to help them tell your story.
There shouldn’t be any new or crucial information after these sections since readers can miss this
Once you’ve set the scene, it’s time to use quotes so that the reporters can use them as context around your announcement and help paint a picture of your news effects on the industry, customer base, and landscape.
These quotes should be from key stakeholders in your company including those from the executive team, project leads, and/or people who are directly impacted by the announcement.
Quoting key figures and authorities demonstrate the importance of the development. The chosen quote shapes the narrative and emphasis the core of the announcement.
Don’t quote everyone in your company. Pick one or two critical spokespeople and use the quotes as a focal point.
By the time the readers have reached the last paragraph, they should already have the key details regarding the press release.
So in the last paragraph, provide information to strategy the narrative like the ways your company has developed the project. Or if applicable, talk about the future implication of your announcement.
Another way to add value is to use newsjacking. This is a process that takes advantage of current events in a way to promote your company and/or product. This makes it more valuable for the journalist and reader.
Twitter is full of press releases or pitches that don’t clearly explain what the company does or what the announcement is about.
So it’s important to describe your company in clear, plain language. Be sure to include links to your company’s website.
If you are receiving data, include a reference link for the data source. Make sure every name in the release has an associated title and the company’s name as well.
Ask a colleague to read the release without context and have them relay the information back to you. Make sure they know the who, what, and why. If not, it’s time to edit and rewrite.
Press Release Examples
People think that press releases have to use buzzwords and branded terms. However, reporters are not a fan of that.
Instead of stunting your next press release with industry jargon, brainstorm some creative and different approaches for your next announcement.
Have data, graphics, video, or slides to share? Have a creative angle that helps carry your content to increase the likelihood of sharing.
With these few tips, here are some creative press release examples below:
Type of press release: Acquisition
The first thing that stands out is the headline. It tells the story without being too long. It covers the who (Microsoft and Activision), what is happening (an acquisition), and why it matters (to bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone).
Within the press release, you will see quotes from leaders from both organizations to help explain the benefit of this acquisition and how both industries move forward.
Near the bottom of the press release, there is the additional context surrounding each company’s market share and how this acquisition will impact the industry.
Writing about organizational changes can be boring. So one way to generate interest is to include visual elements to add some dimension.
In this press release, a capital firm Flourish shares photos of new hires at the top. This immediately draws in readers. Within the release, it dives into the reason behind the expansion and key areas they are focusing on while moving forward. Then there is a quick bio for each new hire in a featured image. This can build excitement for the brand’s future.
The key takeaway: don’t be afford to use visual elements in your press release since it can draw in readers.
Type of press release: Event
Even though this is the shortest press lease out of all the examples, SuperCom shows that less is more.
In this release, SuperCom, a security solution company, announced its participation in an upcoming conference. When announcing events, they included important details such as date and location. Since they have the key details, everything else in the release is a bonus.
One thing that could elevate the release is a quote on who can benefit from attending the event and why as a way to reel in potential attendees.
Tips for Publishing Press Releases
Writing a press release is half the battle. Once you’re finished with production, it’s time to focus on distribution.
Of course, traditional distribution will be used, but don’t forget about websites/blogs as well as social media and emails.
To get the distribution to the maxim people as possible, here are some tips:
Instead of sending out your press release to every journal, focus on a few who has experience in covering your specific industry and company. Send them a personalized message and connect with them. Demonstrate how the press release you wrote connects to what they write.
How To Stand Out In The News
To keep your PR strategy feeling fresh, focus on creating content. However, traditional press releases still are valuable when executed well.
Instead of getting using releases as a tactic, give them a modern makeover so that they are more useful in your marketing strategy.
Think about inbound methods to transform your marketing strategies so that are more personalized and approachable to build relationships between your company and consumers. This same principle applies to your PR strategy: to create content to create your story and use outreach to get the media family with your brand.