How to Write a Press Release That Works With Great Templates and Examples
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Knowing how to write a press release can be an excellent addition to a marketer’s skillset. It’s not an easy task, though. If you are used to creating other inbound-type pieces for the web, you might think that press releases are challenging to write.
They come with their own sets of formatting rules, language, and audience, but that’s the beauty of this medium; you just need to familiarize yourself with the basics, and then you’re free to get creative.
In a time when the majority of U.S. adults prefer to go online to get their news, a press release can be a powerful tool. Knowing how to play your PR cards right will lead you to get the attention of journalists, the media, and — eventually — your clients and customers.
Whether it’s about your new product line, a company event, or a new award you received, a news release helps you tell the story the way you want.
In this post, you’ll learn how to write and format press releases in a way that gets you media coverage and attention from customers. You will find a list of press release examples that you can apply to specific brand scenarios. Finally, you’ll also gain an in-depth understanding of how to use certain press release features to your advantage.
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What is a Press Release?
Its purpose is to collect all relevant details from the story in one source. A well-written press release can garner valuable media attention, yet leave the company the option to shape the story the way they want.
Press releases can be found on the business’s website under Press Releases, Press, Media, Media Center, or similar links. Some companies prefer to maintain an account on a PR site and release their news there.
Regularly optimizing press releases as part of your content marketing efforts can benefit your overall strategy. Their added perk as a marketing tool is that they can generate demand organically, thanks to interest from reporters.
Press Release Types
You can announce different types of news using this medium. The below-mentioned examples, while they do follow the established press release formatting guidelines, also stand out of the crowd within their categories.
Scroll to learn more about the different types of press releases.
1. Product Launches and Updates
We know from studies on customer psychology that trying to sell a new product requires the delicate handling of a whole set of objections. We also know that one of the most important brain triggers is the “first and last” effect, meaning that a product launch press release (which would be the first message in the campaign) should be a crucial element in your strategy.
The first thing that you notice about this BUX press release is the vivid visuals on the top of the page. If you’re a journalist who’s familiar with social media stories, then it’s immediately clear what the announcement is about.
Another thing to note is that this press release is only 250 words, which makes the copy easy to digest without having to wade through unnecessary fluff.
It’s also an interesting choice to highlight a long quote in the middle, but it makes sense to the story — which is about a new-age feature (stories) appearing on a mobile investment platform. This is not common practice, at all.
The quote, coming straight from the founder, explains the decision in depth. The distinctive formatting is a subtle way of shaping the story according to the company’s best interests.
The next best thing to note is this press release’s shareability. Want to copy the link, the text, or download the whole page as a document? This newsroom has you covered.
Pro tip: Is your new product something that your customers aren’t used to? Highlight a quote from your CEO to make your intentions clear through a personal voice.
It doesn’t matter whether your event is open or closed to the public. You can utilize a press release either way.
If it’s closed, then your main priority is to inform the public of its occurrence and what you are planning to accomplish (e.g. fundraiser events, political assemblies, etc). A press release about a private event can still help in highlighting your organization’s progress toward its mission.
If your event is open to the public (e.g. grand opening, exhibition, family event, etc.) then your main goal is to get as many people there as possible. You can do this via engaging copy and photography.
The biggest draw to an art show is the art itself. This Jimmy Nelson press release is using that to its full advantage. The main image is busy, but it comes alive and grabs your attention.
Additionally, with all the information presented on the page, this press release could qualify as a full press kit. There’s an in-depth description of the event, a summary, downloadable images, a PDF file, and clear contact information.
Despite the release itself being on the lengthy side and the video throwing an error message, it’s still an outstanding example of an event-type press release done well.
Pro tip: If your event has a highly visual aspect, make sure to play it up in your press release. Even if that’s not the case, you can still make the most of your release by providing all necessary information on one page, as if it was a full press kit.
3. Branding Changes
When there is a major change happening at your company, a press release is a good place to start informing the public. The two most notable branding updates could be a rebranding campaign or the introduction of a new partnership agreement.
In the example below, you’ll review what a rebranding press release looks like.
When you are introducing a rebranding campaign, the first thing people will want to know is what it looks like now, and this Business Wire press release delivers. It also provides additional images to help the reader visualize the new experience.
Once you move past evaluating the new branding for yourself, the press release gives you the rest of the story in detail. They do a great job explaining the reason for the change, and then list the rebranded elements one by one with an explanation for each.
They also prompt for more than just reading and acknowledging the news. If you don’t count the boilerplate, you will find three call-to-actions within the body of this press release:
- Tweet this
- Preview Burger King’s new visual identity
- Visit www.BK.com
Additionally, by providing an RSS feed in the sidebar, this press release caters to journalists who prefer to organize their sources via a news aggregator.
Pro tip: Keep the buzz going by implementing 1–3 call-to-actions in your release. If you are undergoing a rebrand, make sure to include up to ten images of your new brand identity and explain why you’re changing.
4. Leadership Changes
A change in leadership is a similar concept to a branding change. When the head of a company changes, it can bring about new decisions in the organizational direction, too. This is an advancement that journalists and some consumers like to know about.
When the news is about a change in top-level staff, you’ll want to put a face to the name right away. In this case, Ticketmaster appointed three new chiefs and made sure to include all of their photos on the cover.
It’s also important to note that most leadership change press releases commonly have an inclusion of the new leads’ previous achievements. They might include a quote from them, as well.
In cases where the previous head is leaving on good terms, they will add an outgoing quote from them that puts the leadership change in a good light.
Pro tip: If it’s more than one change in executive-level staff, try to include all of their headshots on the same banner. This will give them all equal footing during the announcement campaign. Make sure to also add quotes from either the new appointees themselves, another executive, or the outgoing leadership.
5. Award announcements
When a company receives recognition for something, a new communication opportunity emerges. What’s most important in an award announcement press release is to define how it impacts the end-user.
When a company receives an award, it’s a signal to the consumer that this brand is trustworthy. This can be the tipping point for users who are ready to convert.
The CoSchedule award-themed press release makes sure to list all the awards received that make the platform stand out in the SaaS scene, and its short length is ideal if you don’t want to seem too boastful. Just stick to the facts to keep it humble.
Pro tip: Use high-impact keywords, such as “high performer”, “14th consecutive quarter”, and “best”, to add depth to the company’s achievements.
6. Company Breaking News
In times like these — when COVID-19 has affected almost every business in the world — breaking-news-type press releases are coming out every other day.
Aside from the topic of the coronavirus, it’s still highly beneficial to learn how to write such a release. In case an urgent matter needs to be communicated a.s.a.p., it’s best to be prepared ahead of time.
This Air Canada press release is very matter-of-fact and to the point. They included a reason for route suspensions (COVID), and then listed the affected routes and the other measures in the plan.
Pro tip: The only way you can efficiently convey sad news is by stating the facts and providing a clear explanation. It’s even okay to omit any striking imagery as the focus is not to be attention-grabbing but more on sharing all the necessary information.
21 Examples of Well-Written Press Releases You Can Emulate
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. See how the big players are doing press releases currently and adjust yours accordingly.
- Apple: “Apple Adds Earth Day Donations to Trade-in and Recycling Program
- Associated Press: AP and Red Bull Media Collaborate to Provide Premium Sports, Music, and Lifestyle Content
- Starbucks: Veterans, Caregivers Find New Direction At Dog Tag Bakery
- Fender: Fender Celebrates 60 Years of Jazzmaster Innovation
- Modcloth: Modcloth Breaks Up With Black Friday
- Vans: Vans Partners With Positive Vibe Warriors Foundation to Help Educate Youth Communities Around the World
- Amazon: Buckle Up, Prime Members: Amazon Launches In-Car Delivery
- Barkbox: New Barkbox Study Finds That Humans Lean On Their Pups to Get Through the Holidays
- Target: Ten Emerging Beauty Brands Kick Off This Year’s Target Takeoff Accelerator Program in Minneapolis
- New York Public Library: The New York Public Library Announces 2018 Young Lions Fiction Award Finalists
- Microsoft: Microsoft Build Highlights New Opportunity For Developers, at the Edge and in the Cloud
- Adobe: Adobe Launches Spark With Premium Features For Every Student, Free of Charge
- Major League Baseball: MLB Announces ‘Honorary Bat Girls’ For All 30 MLB Clubs in Advance of Mother’s Day
- Salesforce Sponsors UN Climate Change Conference, Urges Global Action
- Home Depot: The Home Depot to Hire 1,000 Technology Professionals
- NBC Universal: NBC’s Breakout Summer Sensation ‘World of Dance’ Glides to a Season 3 Renewal
- Twitter: Q1 2018 Letter to Shareholders
- United Way: United Way Helped More Than 2 Million Youth Prepare For College, Work, Life
- Electronic Arts: EA and Maxis Invite Players to Play with Life in The Sims Mobile
- Wistia: Wistia Launches Soapbox to Make Professional Communications Easy with Video
- Canva: Canva Raises $40M Round to Earn Unicorn Title
Everything You Need to Know to Write the Best Press Release From Start to Finish
Press releases generally have the same setup. By keeping the formatting consistent, reporters will always know where to look for which information.
So, what parts are included in a perfect press release?
- Press contact (often at the bottom)
- City, state, and location
- Body copy
1. Create a Stunning Headline
Here are a few tips for you to keep in mind.
Write 10+ Versions for Your Headline
You’ll be surprised how your best idea will not be the first one. It could be the eighth or the hundredth. It might sound like overkill, but coming up with a snappy press release headline can pay for itself tenfold.
Add Numbers or Other Exciting Elements
Numbers are still one of the best ways to catch the reader’s attention. Why? Quantifying a statement acts as a visualization tool. It also shows a level of authority for the topic.
Include Your Keyword
“Although not as important as it once was, your title tag remains an important on-page SEO signal,” says Brian Dean from Backlinko. He also encourages bringing the keyword closer to the beginning of the title tag to further improve performance.
Copy and paste this template to craft yours:
“[WHO: COMPANY] today announced it will [WHAT] at [WHERE] on [WHEN]. The [EVENT/ANNOUNCEMENT] will provide [BENEFIT] for [AUDIENCE].”
2. Formulate a Newsworthy Angle
Every good news story has an angle, or in other words, a perspective that your story will take. By setting up a clear perspective for your press release, you can attract more journalists looking for something newsworthy to make the front page.
Great angles can include:
- Local impact. How is your story impacting the local community?
- Conflict. Is your press release giving another side to a conflict?
- Progress. Is your press release highlighting progress made towards a specific problem?
- Drama. Does your press release evoke an emotional response for readers?
Below is a headline example for the “local impact” angle:
3. Put Your Most Important Information First
An effective press release format follows the “inverted pyramid”:
- The most critical information (i.e. the 5 Ws)
- Secondary details
- Additional info
If you want to create a succinct press release, following the 5 Ws in the first half of your structure is especially powerful.
If you include a quote from the company, writers will be able to use it in their own stories. Keep in mind that reporters and writers are already super busy; the more work you create for them, the less chance they will cover your story.
A press release is the type of content where you need to put on your best copywriting hat. Keep it short and to the point — ideally, no longer than 500 words. It’s also important not to bury the lead for your reader.
In short, write a press release that’s upfront about its purpose.
Follow AP Style
Journalists follow AP style, and you should, too. This will make your information easier for them to use. Visit APStyleBook.com to buy a physical copy or digital subscription, and make sure your writing conforms to this common standard.
4. Summarize the Key Elements Succinctly
Press releases sometimes employ bullet points at the start of the release to summarize the essential details. This is to make it easy for the journalist to grasp the story and the angle.
They usually consist of 1–3 bullet points and are placed between the title and the body of the rest of the press release. This is where you will need to hook the reader.
Here’s a Business Wire press release example that only uses a one-sentence summary under the title.
On the other hand, NIVEA’s news release uses all three spots to lead up to its story.
Since the summary occupies the beginning of a press release, you will find that this section is also the one that gets pulled into the search results the most. Therefore, writing it well is doubly important.
Here are the best practices, for a summary:
- Keep bullet points to 1–3 medium-length concise sentences.
- Incorporate the 5 Ws.
- Add keywords and supporting keywords.
- Help the reader understand the story.
- Make the angle clear.
- Get the reader excited to learn more (e.g. state a question).
Ideally, you should write the body of the press release first and leave the summary last. That way, you can summarize the main points with more insight.
The Difference Between a Summary and a Lede
As we outlined above, a summary serves as an introduction to the topic and is placed at the beginning of a press release. It can be in either bullet points or a short paragraph. A lede is the very first paragraph right after the summary. It plays essentially the same role: to lead the reader into the story.
Therefore, you can apply the same best practices for both of them, except that a lede does not need to be condensed. You can expand on your story and construct a more complete picture for the journalist. For example, you can further specify your news piece by adding quantifiable info.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to add the location and date to your lede’s beginning in bold font.
5. Add Media Contact Details
The reporters at news outlets, who are reading your press release, will need to know who to contact for more details. This section is provided at the end of a news release.
Make sure to include the following details:
- Point of contact: This should be a name and job title for who to reach.
- Email address: Give them the best one to reach the preferred point of contact. You could also include a mailing address.
- Phone number: In case they’d like to call, rather than email.
Here’s the contact info section from the previously shown NIVEA press release. Some companies also include a link or two to downloadable media assets.
Perfecting Press Release Formatting
Modern press releases are carrying a lot of formatting preferences from the olden days, out of tradition. Here are some additional elements to watch out for when writing a press release.
One of the first things that stand out in a press release is the location and the date noted at the beginning of the lede. This is how it should look:
New York, April 6, 2021 — Beiersdorf’s iconic skincare brand, NIVEA, has a new strategy lead design partner. Peter Schmidt Group was selected as the new global lead agency for the brand identity.
Simply copy and paste the above template and switch the information to yours.
Additionally, some press releases add the “for immediate release” disclaimer to the beginning. This is in practice because companies sometimes embargo the publication of new press releases until a certain date.
Setting the right date can be crucial when you’re working with time-sensitive information.
German automaker, Volkswagen, accidentally published an unfinished press release stating that their operations in the U.S. would be renamed “Voltswagen of America” to highlight their efforts in electric vehicle production.
Later, the company said that this was going to be an elaborate April Fools Day prank for marketing purposes.
Whichever the case might be, let’s have a moment of silence for our peers at the Volkswagen marketing department.
The most accepted formatting calls for two lines of space between each paragraph.
Grammar and Spelling
A press release is the type of announcement that will get many eyes during the media distribution phase. Speed up your review by finding a grammar checker that suits your needs.
A boilerplate is the short bio of your company. It should appear on every release you publish.
Include the following information:
- The name of your organization
- Your mission statement
- Founding dates
- Company size
- An update on the mission statement
Press Release Best Practices
In the next section, you’ll learn what you can do once your release is ready to be communicated to journalists. You’ll find a few tricks that you can use to win a reporter’s attention and further advice on making your press release launch with a bang.
Reach Out to the Right Journalists
There are a few ways you can get your press release distribution going. Some involve paid options, some build on networking. Starting a database of reporters and editors can be something as simple as loading their info into a spreadsheet.
You can try using a platform like Prowly to find the right journalists and their contact info.
Pitch Directly to Editors
Editors like having exclusives. If your story is perfect for one particular publication, consider offering it to them alone.
When determining where to pitch your story, ensure that:
- Their readership or viewership aligns with your target audience. Do both your audiences care about the same things?
- Their coverage area aligns with your product or service. Will the publication care about your company?
Blast It Out Using Wire Services
As your content production ramps up, you will likely find that wire platforms are the fastest and direct pitches are the most impactful solutions.
Time Your Release
Sending your press release at the right time is crucial to help get it the maximum amount of exposure. The most important stories get sent early in the week, while stories that go out on a Friday afternoon usually get buried.
Editors typically assign stories early in the week, so aim for Tuesday; beating the Monday rush while still getting in front of them at a good time.
Especially if you have an urgent press release on your hands, shooting off a quick eblast to your mailing list can start gathering a growing audience for your release.
Speaking of sharing in the media…
Share the Media Coverage
When it comes to media coverage, a no-brainer is to ensure you have a media section on your website. You can put together a page or two with a simple website builder. Having this section in place helps your SEO, discovery by other journalists, and it also adds a layer of authority to your business.
If your story does get picked up (congrats!), then you can still do a few things to keep the buzz going:
- Share the news article on your social media (with their handles included).
- Depending on your story, encourage your audience to comment and share.
- Send a thank-you note to the journalist.
- Track your results, such as website traffic.
Pro tip: To boost your relationship with the journalist who published your story, you could offer them exclusivity to your releases going forward.
Ready For Your First Press Release?
This just in: you reached the end of this blog post! Just like that, you know how to write a press release.
Whether it’s your first story or the hundredth, use this article to reference best practices now or later.
July 7, 2021