Here’s the problem.
Most press releases that are sent will be ignored.
Because reporters are busy, they’re poorly written, or they aren’t original enough to stand out in anyone’s inbox.
Does that mean press releases are dead?
But, to get results, they need to be good.
This post will walk you how to write press releases that actually deliver results. We’ll cover:
- How to identify newsworthy angles people care about. Every good news story should have a hook.
- How to write and format press releases for easy readability. Learn how to do it right the first time, every time.
- How to make sure your release gets read (and drives results). Stay out of the trash bin and make a real impact on your business.
Plus, we’ll give you all the templates and examples you need to make writing newsworthy releases easy.
What Is A Press Release?
According to HubSpot, a press release is:
A press release is an official announcement (written or recorded) that an organization delivers to the news media and beyond.
Simple enough, right?
Why Should My Business Send Press Releases?
There are many different reasons why everyone from a Fortune 500 to a local non-profit would send press releases.
Some common objectives include:
- To get media coverage. This would be when your company releases a new product or feature.
- To build your brand’s reputation. Maybe you’re re-launching your brand image and want more people to know.
- To build backlinks from trusted media sites. This could be when you publish a new e-book, report or blog and you want a reputable source to link back to the information.
- As a cost-effective way to market your organization. A well-written press release can help garner public attention due to news coverage.
What kind of results can old-fashioned PR get (without spending a lot of money)? Watch this video to learn:
When Should I Send a Press Release?
While sending press releases are great, you can’t send them all the time. So what are some everyday occurrences in your company that you would send a press release for?
- When you have breaking news.
- When you launch a new feature or product.
- When you host an event.
- When you partner with another company on a project.
- When you have original research to share.
- When you win an award.
- When you hire a new executive.
- When your company goes through a rebranding.
In short, any time you have something to say or share, that you think the media and your audience will care about.
What Should a Press Release Include?
Here’s what you should include in your press releases:
- Headline: Be sure to make it clear why your story is interesting and important.
- Press Contact: How can the media get in touch with you?
- City, State, Location: Where are you, and where is your news happening?
- Body copy: Order information by level of importance.
- Boiler Plate: What’s your organization all about?
Make Writing Press Releases Easy With Our Templates
Writing press releases isn’t always easy, but the following 7 templates will help make it much easier. In your press release template bundle you’ll find:
- 5 Press Release Templates: Take the hassle out of writing and formatting press releases with these simple templates.
- Press Release Checklist: Make sure each release you deliver is up to par before hitting Send.
- Press Release Pitch Template: When you send a press release, you might also need to send a pitch email. Use this template for that.
All of which will help you format and create killer press releases quickly and efficiently.
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Bonus: Copy/Paste Press Release Outline
Looking for a more simple press release outline you can format yourself? Copy and paste this one 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
5 Examples of Press Releases For Inspiration
If you’re stuck with a bit of writer’s block here are five press release examples to help inspire you.
A Product Launch Press Release From Apple:
Why this works:
- Apple goes in depth describing the new model of the iMac.
- They highlight the different features of the product and point out the improvements.
- They include images that highlight the new design of their product.
An Event Press Release from Thrill of the Hunt:
Why this works:
- You have the details of the event in the first part of the press release.
- The quote from the owner matches the overall tone of the press release.
- The website is posted throughout the press release making it easy to find.
News-Press Release Example From CNN
Why this works:
- The title explains what’s happening.
- It explains the when the event will begin and end as well as what is supposed to happen throughout the night.
- It’s short and concise.
New Hire Press Release From EverBlue Training
Why this works:
- The name and title of the new hire are in the headline.
- It contains a quote from the new hire.
- It explains the new duties and jobs that the new hire will take on.
Research Press Release Example from The Hormel Institute
Why this works:
- It includes the research team that discovered the breakthrough.
- It explains the background of the research and how it got started.
- It also explains what disease the research is helping cure.
Five Tips For Writing Any Press Release
Now that you’ve got a solid template to follow here are five tips to help you create a valid press release.
1) Think Like A Journalist
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:
- Make the information they need easy to find. Don’t bury the lead for your reader. Tell them upfront what the purpose of your press release is.
- Keep your press release short and sweet. Your journalist is busy, don’t waste their time with fluff.
- Don’t overdo it. Everyone’s organization has the best event, the best new product the best whatever it happens to be. Just don’t start your press releases with that kind of cliches.
2) Make Sure Your Story Is Newsworthy And Has Value to Publication’s Audiences
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 you’re working on making a list of news sources to send your press releases to make sure that:
- Their readership or viewership aligns with your target audience.
- The stories they write or report about fall into your
- If the target audience for this story is different, then average make sure the people you are trying to target with your story consume their content.
3) Include Useful Quotes
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.
4) Tie Your Press Release Topic Into Your Product’s Purpose
Why does your organization exist? What is the purpose of your product and what problem does it solve?
The answers to these questions should always tie into your press release in some manner. If you’re releasing a new version of your product, your press release should tie in the fact that you created said product to help solve a particular problem.
5) Eliminate Fluff
Press releases should always be short and to the point. No one has time to read a three-page document on the history of your organization and why this new update to your product is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Keep it short and to the point. That means no longer than one page.
How To Format Your Press Release
Press Releases always follow a specific format. This helps make them easier to skim and reporters always know where to go when they’re looking for information.
So what does a formatted press release look like?
For more information on how to format your press releases check out this SlideShare:
Otherwise, you can build your press release format by following these steps.
Step One: Find Your Angle
Every good news story has an angle.
Some common angles are:
- 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 certain problem?
- Drama. Does your press release evoking an emotional response for readers?
Whatever you happen to choose, make sure that your angle is well defined. You need to tell people what’s going on and why they should care about it.
Step Two: Write Your Headline
The next step in your press release writing process is creating a killer headline. Your headline should grab the attention of your audience (whether that’s an editor, reporter, or the general public) and encourage them to keep reading.
If you need help writing an awesome headline try CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer.
Step Three: Write Your Summary Bullet Points
After you’ve crafted your headline, you’ll move on to the summary bullet points of your press release.
This helps your reader skim what your press release is about and whether or not they are interested in covering your story.
These bullet points should appear underneath your headline and should only contain the two to three most important aspects of your story.
Step Four: Write Your Lede
The lead of your press release is the first paragraph that appears underneath your summary bullet points.
The most critical information that your reader needs know should be in this first paragraph including:
- What the angle is.
- What the subject of your press release is about.
- Why should the reader care about your press release.
- Why should a publication write about your story?
Step Five: Write The Rest Of Your Body Content
The next two to three paragraphs of your press release should contain the rest of the story. This should be additional details, a bit of product or company history as well as any more information they would need to know about your press release topic.
Keep in mind; these paragraphs should still be short and concise as your press release should be no longer than a page.
Step Six: Include Quotes
We mentioned a bit earlier in this post that including quotes in your press release helps reporters and writers format a story.
However, the reality of the situation is that the people you might not have a ton of time to sit down and talk with you so you can get the perfect quote you need for your press release.
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:
- What purpose does this quote serve? Is it helping tell the story of your press release?
- Sound like the person you’re writing the quote for. Don’t use big elegant words if the person you’re writing your quote for doesn’t.
- Always attribute your quotes. Tell them who is saying what and why.
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.
Step Seven: Include Contact Information
The people reading your press release need to know who to contact if or when they need more information.
Contact information for your PR or marketing person should be included in the top left-hand corner of your press release.
It should also be included in the last part of your third paragraph, right before your boilerplate.
Each one of these contact sections should include the name, phone number and email of the person they should contact to request more information.
Step Eight: Include Your Boilerplate Copy
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.”
Boilerplates can be reused on every release you send. Yours should include things like:
- The name of your organization
- Your mission statement.
- Founding dates.
- Company size.
- A brief statement on what your organization is doing today to fulfill the ideas in your mission statement.
Here are a few of examples to inspire your boilerplate copy:
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.
When Should You Send Your Press Releases?
Sending your press release at the right time is crucial to help get the release you wrote the maximum amount of exposure.
If you are sending your press release to a reporter or news writer that needs to write a story in order to publish the information the time you send your statement won’t matter as much.
Instead, focus on building a relationship with the contacts you’re sending your releases to instead.
How Should You Distribute Your Press Releases?
You put all of this work into creating a fantastic press release. You want to ensure that people see it and read it. That all comes down to how you distribute it.
There are four options for publishing your press release:
- The first is to send it to services like Cision or PR Web. Both of these services will publish and promote your press releases. The downside to them is that there is usually a fee to publish.
- The second option is to send your press release as an email through an email marketing program like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor.
- Your third option is to do a social media style press release. This is the newest option for public relations and marketing specialists.
This process involves creating a website section or landing page that houses all of the press releases your organization publishes. Then your graphic designer or video team would create content for your social media specialist to add to your social media posts.
That seems like a lot of work right? It is worth it. According to Prezly, press releases with multimedia attachments get 9.7x more views than those that don’t.
No matter what you decide to do, focus on the end goal of reaching your intended audience.
Where Should You Send Your Press Release?
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:
- Industry publications.
- Local newspapers.
- General news sites.
- Industry partners.
Start local and expand outwards as you build your list. The more personal contacts you can develop, the better.
To find the contact information for reporters and writers head to the contact section of your publication's website. Links to reporters, storyline pitches and more should be located there.
Now Go Write An Awesome Press Release
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.