As a media company, we receives a lot of press releases. From new business openings and local events to leadership changes and heartfelt stories, there’s an endless supply of announcements and stories to be told. The challenge is getting your announcement noticed and seen. So, a well-written and formatted press release is of utmost importance.
Before we cover how to write a great press release, let’s talk about the value of a press release.
Why write a press release?
(aka media release or press announcement)
If for no other reason, distributing content is good for your brand!
In many ways, a press release is your first opportunity to shape the message you are delivering to the public. It should be concise, just 1 page (maybe 2), and contain the most important information related to your announcement. Your press release can also serve as the framework for distributing your content beyond news publishers. Consider repurposing the press release for your blog, social and email channels.
When should you send a press release?
Send a press release anytime you have something big or relevant to share. When something newsworthy happens (or is going to happen), it is important to push that message to all channels that reach your target audience.
Some of the announcements that could benefit from a press release include:
- Business Updates: grand openings, new partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, rebranding, leadership promotions
- Event Announcements: awards, community support and corporate giving
- Product/Service Developments: launches, enhancements, education
Impact of the story, and relevance to the publisher’s audience are all factors at play in determining the optimal time to push the announcement. Remember to submit to media outlets and other channels allowing enough time thoughtful review your press release as well as meeting publishing deadlines.
While there are no guarantees your press release will be used, you can ensure your story is gets published by employing a variety of content marketing options which can be planned, tracked and measured for audience reach and engagement.
THE PRESS RELEASE FORMAT
Once you have decided that a press release is warranted for your situation, consider what elements should be included. Let’s start at the beginning.
Start with an attention-grabbing headline
Try to capture the main subject of the story clearly and focused on your target audience. This will be the first thing a potential reader (and publisher) is going to see related to the announcement.
Example: John’s House Charity offers soup to feed the homeless for a year.
Craft compelling story content
This is where you get into the meat and potatoes of your announcement. Pay close attention to the first couple paragraphs and ensure they are engaging in much the same way as your headline. You want to keep the attention of the publisher, as much as the audience and answer the five “W’s” in a quick and in a concise manner. Research shows that the crucial information should be in the beginning part of the release, followed by general knowledge.
Include relevant quotes and images
Consider whether thoughtful commentary form a company leader or public figure (elected officials, partner companies, etc) might add greater impact and legitimacy to your announcement. Images the help explain or represent the content can also be helpful here. While there is no guarantee that they will be featured, providing images help increase the odds of your release being noticed.
Complete with your contact information
You did all the hard work to develop an amazing piece of content. To allow for the publisher (or any reader) to verify its contents, make sure that you include your contact information and a high-level summary about the company itself.
GET STARTED NOW
Hopefully you now feel more confident in writing a press release. If you still find yourself in need of guidance, consider this example of a recent press release from NJ Advance Media. It is also available to download for future reference.
With some practice and consistency, in just a matter time of you’ll find yourself building a content distribution plan that improves your ability to build awareness and get the coverage you need, from free press releases to media outlets, to your social media platforms and paid content marketing channels.
You may have a list of local publishers in mind and a story already forming. We invite you to make your first press release submission here by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you get the hang of this process, it will surely become a standard part of your marketing practice. Good luck growing your business and telling your story!