You Need to Write a Press Release. We’ve Made It Easy. Here’s How.
You came needing to learn how to write a press release (or refresh your memory). If you’ve come here and need to know what a press release is, read this article first (will link).
Press releases have a standardized layout which should be followed each time you write one. We’ve broken them down to five, simple steps. As you follow the steps and begin writing, follow our standard rule for writing a great press release: Write only 300-500 words. Once you begin writing more than 500 words, chances are you are wasting space and losing the interest of the media and/or reader. Now, let’s get this going.
- GIVE THEM CONTACT INFORMATION
Start your press release with the contact information your reader should be in touch to learn more. If you’re a company or business, this is mostly likely the person leading your marketing or public relations department. If you’re without a marketing or public relations department, this person should know how to answer every and any question the media might have (maybe it’s you!). You want your company to be represented accurately and by someone who knows your story.
- WRITE YOUR HEADLINE
The headline is the first impression for the reader. Make it great. This should be an attention getting, short piece of text that sums up your article and news. If you’re sending your press release digitally, this headline should also be the subject line of your email. Remember, first impressions go a long way and capturing the reader’s attention immediately is the best way to start.
- WRITE A SUMMARY OF YOUR NEWS (BODY COPY)
Now you’re going to compose the body of your press release. Your press release should sound like it’s being read straight out of a newspaper. All press release bodies begin with the origin of the story and date stamp (this is called a “dateline). From there, the rest of the body should answer the who, what, why when and where of the story. This is the information the media will focus on if they pick up your press release.
In the middle of your body make sure to include support of your story or news by including quotes from a representative (usually the leader, President, CEO, etc.) of your company or from interested parties. Include any statistics, facts, charts or claims that back up your story.
The body’s copy will end with a summary. This section usually contains the least important information. Make it short and brief.
- WRITE YOUR BOILERPLATE STATEMENT
This is your “About the Company” sentence. This is a general statement that can be used over and over without changing it. You can also include any disclaimers or legal information in this section. This is a great place to include a link to your website.
- FINISH OFF WITH HASHTAGS (POUND SIGNS OR WHATEVER YOU CALL THEM)
If you’ve seen other press releases you may have noticed they end with ###, -END- or -30-. These three number signs/pound symbols are centered directly below (or above) the boilerplate to indicate to the media there is no further copy to come. The reporter or editor will see these and know they have the full document in hand.
Writing press releases is a positive habit for your brand to adapt. They’re an easy way to archive your milestone’s and you could gain some great media exposure from them. Media exposure translates to free advertising and exposure. Having someone else tell your story will always be more effective than speaking highly of yourself. Don’t forget other by-products and ways you can milk your press release by using it to create blogs, web articles or newsletters. Hit as many birds with one stone as you can. Time is efficiency and efficiency in your business is money.
We’ve written an example below. Copy and paste into your word processing software. We want you to use our guidelines to help write your first one. We’ve put the important information for you to replace in red [ ]. Give it a try! We’d love to read your first press release. If you’d like, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll give it a read and some critique (and applause, too).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
[First name] [Last Name]
YOUR ORGANIZATION MAKES WRITING A PRESS RELEASE EASY
[FARGO, ND] – [FEBRUARY 21, 2017] – Your Organization has announced their breakthrough research and writing that provides a useful tool to every brand and company in the world: How to (properly) write a press release. With easy-to-read guidelines in five simple steps, the headaches and pains associated with writing a press release will be a pain of the past.
Writing a press release is one of the easiest and most effective ways to grab some extra publicity, [Your Organization] strived to make the process as simple as possible knowing their work and research would positively impact other organizations.
“By inserting a great quote here from a team leader, manager, or other member of the firm, you can make your release even more credible,” says [an important person within the organization]. “Keep it brief, informative, and interesting.”
To give the body of your press release the right feel, write through the lens of a reporter crafting an article on your exciting piece of news. According to [that same important person within the firm or someone else with credible knowledge], “The purpose of a press release is to answer the questions of who, what, when, where, why, and how.” Your Organization’s work indicates that the better you are able to sell your announcement as a news story, the more likely a journalist will write about it.
Your job is to convince an editor that your story is worth writing an article about or contacting you to find out more. Don’t be boring and don’t write a sales pitch. If you can, keep it around 500 words and keep out unnecessary details. With that in mind, this press release will finish up with a call to action.
[Your Organization] does things. Use this area to tell the editor about those things so that they can write an even better story. Information about your products, services, areas of operation, and clientele are all great details to provide. Use these few sentences to tell them who you are and what you do. You should really try to include [Your Organization’s] [website URL] here for the reader to visit and learn more.