Hitting the optimal press release length is a good way to earn press coverage. Unfortunately, getting this right can be challenging. One of the most essential tools when doing business is a well-written press release. It plays an important role in marketing. Unfortunately, only a few of them make it to publications, simply because the brands writing them don’t follow many of the standard press release guidelines, including recommendations for length.
Additionally, many entrepreneurs assume that simply sharing a press release with newsletter contacts or social media followers is enough. On the contrary, when you do this, you’re restricting yourself to a much smaller audience than the one you would reach with a streamlined distribution strategy.
You need to craft an effective press release with a powerful message if you truly want to capture media and reader attention. One way to achieve this is by learning how to achieve the optimal press release length.
Before we talk about the best press release length, let’s go over the basics of a press release.
Fundamentals of a press release
You need a press release to notify the media about news in your company or organization. With the help of a press release, you can turn your news into an engaging story for prospects to read. Additionally, a well-written press release will help spread the word about this news to both existing and potential consumers.
With a press release, you can enjoy the freedom of overseeing the brand message that you’re sharing with the world. It allows you to provide your perspective and share it with the public. However, when you don’t take the time to craft an engaging brand message, your press release is unlikely to gain much attention.
Most reporters only skim through one press release after another to choose one that’s fit for publication. Oftentimes, they don’t read it thoroughly to determine the quality of the content. In fact, they simply skim through and toss out those that don’t interest them.
The good news is that your press release can be among the chosen few. However, you need to start by writing it well. Besides including quality content in your press release, you should copyedit it to make sure there are no grammatical errors. Moreover, you must provide enough facts to support your claims. The point isn’t to obsess about every single word in your press release, but to make sure it creates a positive impression in general – one that will capture the attention of a media professional.
The length and detail required for your release
A press release must not go beyond one page. This is the optimal length to stick to if you want to create an impact on the audience. Generally speaking, it should cover about 400-500 words. Furthermore, it’s important to split these words into four different paragraphs – at the very least three.
In the first paragraph, highlight your announcement. It’s important that this paragraph covers the 5Ws. It should clearly express why your news is relevant and worth publishing. Start with the major news to capture the audience’s attention. Thereafter, delve into the important details to lure the reader.
In the second paragraph, you should support your claims. This is where you need to present facts, quotes, and evidence, among other relevant materials. Many reporters prefer press releases that include videos, images, and infographics. Make sure you include these elements where possible.
If you have more information to present, an extra paragraph won’t hurt. Otherwise, you can finalize your release with a call-to-action (CTA). When writing the CTA, make sure you provide encouraging information that prompts the readers to reach out.
Finally, top your release off with a comprehensive boilerplate. This paragraph is very important because it gives the audience important background information about your business. Once you’ve written your boilerplate, include contact details that your readers can use if they have inquiries. You can also add references to external sources that you mentioned in the press release. With this format, your release should be around 500 words max. Keep in mind that the boilerplate is part of your final word count.
The problem with writing too much
500 words of content on one page is the maximum recommended length for a press release. However, if you have more content to offer, you can split it and create two press releases instead of one. Don’t get tempted into writing a very long press release – it will not end well. Instead, you can deliver a speech or write a long-form blog post.
In order to keep your press release short and to the point, focus on the most critical information. If you need to edit the press release down, start by cutting out any fluff. When writing the introductory paragraph, you should keep it brief. Three sentences are long enough for your paragraph. Avoid stuffing this introductory paragraph with background information. If you’re following the inverted pyramid style of writing (which is what we recommend), this paragraph should only feature the most critical facts.
Make sure you read your press release aloud to check for run-on sentences as well as grammatical and spelling errors. If you can manage shorter sentences, then go for it. It also helps to use verbs and powerful nouns in your sentences.
Avoid writing in the passive voice. Not only is this a less engaging way of speaking, but it also increases your word account. On the other hand, the active voice will help you capture the audience’s attention and use fewer words.
The problem with writing too little
The goal of a press release is to announce important information to the public and more specifically to a chosen target audience. Thereafter, the expectation is that members of the public will reach out with their inquiries. Therefore, sharing every single mundane detail of your story isn’t necessary. However, it doesn’t help to be too vague by providing a handful of facts either. If you’re having a hard time deciding which details are pertinent to your story and which details you can afford to leave out, think of your audience and what matters to them. You can also include visuals like an image or video to break down complex information.
How to decide what to include in your press release
Conducting research within your company can give you more interesting details to include in your press release. For example, you can interview the top-ranking staff and get quotes from the company executives. Furthermore, you can beef up your press release by expanding vague facts.
As you do so, make sure to provide a seamless transition from one sentence to the next, as well as from one paragraph to the next. Each paragraph must logically lead to the next and you shouldn’t feel the need to keep repeating phrases.
Keep in mind that the subtitles and headlines are part of the word count. When you’re writing your headline, keep it to a maximum of 10 words. Remember to mention the company name somewhere in the headline – this helps with SEO. The subtitle, on the other hand, must be around twenty words at most. When put together, your headline and subtitle should highlight the most critical details of your story so that the reader already has an idea what your story is about and what to expect in the rest of the press release.
It might help to know that journalists start making their decision on whether to keep reading or send your press release to their recycle bin from the moment they look at your headline. Don’t bury the lead in your press release – make sure you give your readers a compelling reason to keep reading your press release.
How a concise press release can benefit your brand
Whether you’re on a budget or not, a press release is an inexpensive yet effective marketing tool. Unfortunately, the space available is limited. An ideal press release should cover one page and must have around 400-500 words. If you’re having trouble sticking to the most important details, go back and make sure you’ve used the inverted pyramid and covered the 5Ws in your press release.
In case it gets too long, you should trim all the fluff before you adjust the important details. Eliminate unnecessary details, delete extravagant adverbs, and use the active voice.
How Pressfarm can help
The length of a press release will play an important role in the success of your media outreach. At Pressfarm, we can help you to optimize your press release length.
Beyond that, we can save you the hassle of developing your story into an engaging and newsworthy press release by writing your press release from scratch.
Pressfarm is a PR agency that specializes in creating quality content for brands across different industries. With a professional press release, some engaging guest posts, and an eye-catching media kit from Pressfarm, you can capture media attention and inspire your target audience.
By submitting your content to the right media outlets and startup directories, Pressfarm can boost your online presence and ensure that you rank in relevant search results across different search engines. In addition to content creation, Pressfarm’s account executive creates a personalized media list for each client. With these custom media lists, you can connect with the best thought leaders and storytellers in your industry.