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Every marketer should know how to write an effective press release. They’re essential for ensuring the media and public know your latest news.
Plus, they can be cost-effective. Aside from paid distribution, they only cost your time to write.
Fortunately, if you spend the time to get it right, you can tilt the odds in your favor. In this post, you’ll learn:
Plus, you’ll find several templates and examples to follow. By the time you’re done, you’ll know exactly how to get your organization the attention it deserves.
Don’t write releases from scratch! Instead, use this free template to make sure you nail the formatting every time. Plus, snag
All of which will help you format and create killer press releases quickly and efficiently.
Sometimes it’s easier to replicate success when you have examples to follow. Here’s a selection of press releases curated from around the web:
News releases are usually one or two-page documents that share breaking news with the public. They’re typically read by journalists, but sometimes general audiences might stumble upon them, too. Typically, they emulate a news article format, using the reverse pyramid to place the most important information first.
Organizations of all sizes use press releases to achieve all sorts of goals. Some common objectives include:
What kind of results can old-fashioned PR get (without spending a lot of money)? Watch this video to learn:
This slide deck from Raven is also useful for silencing any doubters:
Any time you have something newsworthy to share. This includes:
Make sure you have something your audience (and the media’s audience) will care about. This will dramatically increase the odds that your release will earn coverage.
Here’s what you should include in your press releases:
Press releases generally follow a familiar format. By keeping your formatting consistent, reporters will always know where to look, for which information. So, what does a formatted press release look like?
Looking for a more simple press release outline you can format yourself? Copy and paste this outline into any word processor:
For Immediate Release
Name of Press Contact:
Summary Bullet Point One
Summary Bullet Point Two
Summary Bullet Point Three
[CITY], [STATE] – Introductory Paragraph
If you’re stuck with a bit of writer’s block here are five press release examples to help inspire you.
Why This Works:
Why This Works:
Why This Works:
Why This Works:
Now that you’ve got a solid template to follow here are five tips to help you create a valid press release.
If you’re writing a press release to send to a journalist you need to think (and write) like a journalist. You need to be able to pitch a story that captures the attention of the journalist you’re pitching to. Some tips to keep in mind:
If you’re a software company sending a press release to a publication that writes about pick up trucks, why would they run a story about your organization?
When determining where to pitch your story, ensure that:
You can do this by reading a few issues of a physical publication, or by spending some time on their website.
This format entails putting your most important information first. Follow this visual guide:
One of the most critical parts of your press release is including a quote that writers will be able to pull and use in their own story. Remember, reporters, and writers, are already super busy. The more work that you create for them, the less chance they will have of covering your story. Here’s a basic example from Bobcat Company:
The quote at the end is clear, and can easily be copied and pasted into a reporter’s news coverage.
Press releases should always be short and to the point. Reporters and editors are busy people.
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.
Now you’re ready to buckle down and write your release. Follow this process to get the job done.
Every good news story has an angle. An angle is the perspective your story will take. Some common angles are:
When constructing your angle, remember the 5 W’s:
Try following this template:
[WHO: COMPANY] today announced it will [WHAT] at [WHERE] on [WHEN]. The [EVENT/ANNOUNCEMENT] will provide [BENEFIT] for [AUDIENCE].
Your headline should grab the attention of your audience. That could include a reporter, editor, business partner, or a general audience.
For headline writing help, use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer.
The lead of your press release is the first paragraph that appears underneath your summary bullet points.
The most critical information should be in this first paragraph, including:
Here is an example from Doctors Without Borders:
This lede includes each of the following:
This is a perfect example to emulate when writing ledes for your own releases.
The next several paragraphs should tell the complete story (in a concise way). The most important supporting details should be included. Each paragraph should be concise, ideally keeping your release under a page.
Your best bet is to write the quotes yourself then send them to the subject you’re quoting for approval.
Quotes don’t have to be complicated. In fact, there are three things you can do to ensure that you have the perfect quote in your press release:
Think about the style and language that your subject would use and once you have two or three potential quotes written, send it to them for feedback.
The people reading your press release need to know who to contact for more information. Include the following information:
You might also include a mailing address.
According to PRowl Public Relations, a boilerplate is:
“A boilerplate is usually found at the end of a press release, and briefly describes the company or organization related above. The short paragraph consisting of just a few sentences concisely explains the company or organization.”
The boilerplate should appear on every release you send. Include the following information:
Here are a few of examples:
Apple Boiler Plate Example:
Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. Apple’s four software platforms — iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.
Target Boiler Plate Example:
Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) serves guests at 1,834 stores and at Target.com. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its profit to communities, which today equals millions of dollars a week. For more information, visit Target.com/Pressroom. For a behind-the-scenes look at Target, visit Target.com/abullseyeview or follow @TargetNews on Twitter.
Theatre B Boiler Plate Example:
The purpose of Theatre B is to invigorate civic conversation through intimate and transformative story-telling. Since 2003, the Ensemble and guest artists of Theatre B have brought to life a wide variety of the latest award winning plays and bold new works. Theatre B prides itself on removing barriers between actor and audience, creatively using space and intimate storytelling to intensify the audience experience. Theatre B productions are timely and relevant, inspiring a sense of community, engaging conversation, and prompting viewers to contemplate the stories long after they have left the theatre.
Sending your press release at the right time is crucial to help get the release you wrote the maximum amount of exposure. The most important stories get sent early in the week, while stories companies want buried usually goes out on a Friday afternoon (don’t do this). 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:
You’ve now written a perfect press release. Now, it’s time to make sure it gets read. This will most likely entail:
Or, you might do both. Services such as Cision make it easy to find reporters and deliver press releases en masse.
If you don’t have the budget for Cision, consider building your own database of reporters and editors manually. This can be something as simple as a spreadsheet.
Before sending your release, double-check that it’s error-free:
Journalists and editors use editorial calendars to plan stories and themes months in advance. You can do the same using the calendar template included in this post. Here’s what it looks like:
Map out ideas and denote send dates for media pitches across your calendar. For more info on using a calendar, check out these posts:
If you decide to send your press release to different new outlets or publications make your list in advance. Some potential ideas to look into are:
Start small and build your list of trusted contacts over time. Eventually, it’ll be easier to get bigger publications to write about you.
Now you have all the tools you need to create an amazing press release and get the recognition your company deserves.
Have a few of your own press release tricks? Tell us about them in the comments below.
This post was most recently updated with new information on June 25, 2018.
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