A press release can work wonders for your brand if you use an effective press release checklist to develop your news announcement. Writing an appealing press release is even more important now, at a time when businesses are scrambling to acquire the exposure they need to rise above the noise in an interconnected digital environment. Despite the emergence of new communication tools, press releases remain an effective tool for communicating what’s going on at your organization with your target audience.
While press releases have been around for decades, they’ve only gained effectiveness with time. If you want to attract new customers, boost your brand’s reputation, and raise awareness then a press release is a good way to go.
What is a press release?
A press release is a brief, concise, and captivating news report written with the purpose of promoting a company’s products and services. These documents are typically published on industry websites, news channels, social media platforms, and even company blogs to raise awareness.
The goal of a press release is to convey all of the most important details and insights of your most recent newsworthy announcement to a media outlet. A press release can be used to announce a new product or inform people about a recent collaboration. A press release distributor then distributes the material to a larger prospective audience by releasing it in a variety of locations.
Why should you send a press release?
The short answer is that press releases assist you in gaining attention that you might not otherwise receive through your owned media platforms. With a press release, you can do all of the following:
- Set the record straight
A press release can provide individuals with the information they need to make their own decisions about who is right in the midst of a PR crisis.
- Improve brand reputation
Press releases that are published in well-known publications immediately increase your credibility. Having your press release published in the right media outlet can give you the social proof you need to build trust with your target audience.
- Gain media coverage
A press release is useful when launching a new product or service since it attracts potential clients and increases sales opportunities.
- Improve SEO
In the digital space, a press release can help you gain backlinks from high-authority websites, thus helping you rank higher on search engines.
- Find new customers
Being published in the press and other trusted websites in your niche can help you reach a larger audience than you would’ve reached on your own. Furthermore, a press release can help you win new customers over to your brand.
Essential components of a press release
The headline or title of a news release informs readers about the content of your announcement. The press release headline is crucial because it is the first part of your announcement that people focus on. Try to keep it short and interesting. A good headline should pique the reader’s interest and entice them to continue reading. However, you should also avoid overpromising or exaggerating the news in your headlines since this can turn them into annoying clickbait. All nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and any prepositions with four letters or more should have the first letter capitalized. Don’t use fluff words and don’t use exclamation marks anywhere.
Your first paragraph should summarize the most pertinent details of your press release announcement. This is where you should address the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of your story. Readers who don’t have time to read the entire story should be able to obtain a broad notion of what’s going on in the first two or three sentences of your press release.
3) Date & location
This section of your press release contains information about the date of your announcement and the origin of your news. The date and location, otherwise known as the dateline, generally appears in the first line of your press release body. It should be separated from the first sentence by an em dash followed by a space. The dateline should include:
- The complete date
- The city name (capitalized)
- The truncated state name
The main part of a news release is the body copy. It gives an in-depth description of your news and presents all the pertinent information clearly and succinctly. Most press releases include a quotable that writers can utilize if they decide to write an article based on your news. Quotes from major stakeholders or individuals directly involved in the announcement are frequently used. Quotes add a human touch to the announcement and emphasize its importance to the organization and benefit to reporters.
A boilerplate is essentially the press release’s “About Us” section. It gives a quick overview of who you are and what you do. An “About (business name)” line typically separates the boilerplates from the main body of your press release.
6) End or Close
It is standard procedure to signal the end of press releases sent to print news outlets with the following symbol — ### — which should be centered at the bottom of the page. This ensures that no unnecessary text is published as part of an official company announcement.
How to write an effective press release
1) Choose the right story
Press releases are designed to provide important information to a target audience. Your press release will be more effective if you have something new and relevant to say, otherwise, your story may not be published at all. You can’t just talk about a successful product or service (unless it’s smashing global or brand records).
Before you write your press release, you need to think about whether your topic is:
- Timely: Is the event you’re referring to about to take place, or has it already occurred? Press organizations aren’t interested in events that happened weeks or months ago. Make your message timely and topical. By doing so, you can ensure that your audience will get value from this story.
- Relevant: Make sure your press release is appropriate for the audience you’re targeting before sending it out. Who will be affected by the story, and why is it significant? What kind of advantages or possibilities will it provide?
- Unique: What makes this story exceptional or unique? You don’t want to make the same comments that everyone else in your industry is making.
- Engaging: What about your story will make readers sit up and pay attention? Is there a challenge you’re conquering or some tension that you’re easing? How do you tell your narrative in such a way that people are interested in learning more about your company?
2) Answer the right questions
A press release is much more than just a piece of information. If written correctly, this document will also provide answers to your audience’s most pressing questions. Let’s look at some of the questions you should be answering in your press release announcement.
We’ll assume that you’re using this press release to announce a new collaboration between a social media marketing agency and an SEO firm.
- Who is responsible for this news? What is the name of the SEO company and the social media marketing firm? What are their origins? Who are the executives involved?
- Who is impacted by this news? This announcement will most likely have an impact on the business’s stakeholders and owners, as well as customers, by allowing them access to new services.
- What have the businesses done? They’ve joined forces in a collaboration, but which sectors and teams will eventually be collaborating?
- Where is this news happening? Which markets will these two businesses now focus on? What kind of people will be able to use the service?
- When did the news take place? When will the partnership begin, and when will customers notice the first significant changes?
- What has caused this? You need to provide clients with additional services and useful items.
- What is the significance of this news? Why is it so vital for your target audience to know about this? What will they gain from it?
3) Target the right sector
Like most copy designed for an external audience, your press release should be crafted with a specific target audience in mind. The fascinating thing about creating a press release is that you’re not simply writing for those who might be interested in your products and services. On the contrary, you’re writing for a specific publication, journalist, broadcaster, or editor.
If you want to get your message across effectively, then you’ll need to keep all potential audiences in mind during the actual writing process. Concentrate on the types of critical messages that will appeal to your end-users and consumers while also taking into account the editor’s tastes and demands. Many magazines will have requirements that you must meet if you want your article to be considered for publication on their site.
Let’s assume you’re sending your press release to a variety of outlets. In that case, you may need to create many different copies, each with slightly different wording and material, depending on the magazine you’re targeting.
4) Get the headline right
A great headline is one of the most critical aspects of a press release.
The media use headlines to assess whether a story is worth reading or publishing. In other words, you’ll need to craft a headline that not only captures the reader’s attention but also accurately represents the contents of your story. An excellent headline will grab your publication’s interest, as well as the attention of everyone who might read your story.
The majority of press release headlines make no attempt to be smart. In fact, you should steer clear of any showy industry jargon or elaborate language. Instead, concentrate on quickly communicating the press release’s key point.
5) Use the right structure
It can be challenging to structure a press release effectively.
Some companies have specific requirements for the format of your press release. For example, you may need to put the date and time in a particular location.
If you don’t have to adhere to a certain format, the inverted pyramid structure is the way to go. This structure requires you to start with the most critical information and work down the hierarchy to less crucial information. For example, your contact information should be at the bottom of your press release while the top should be reserved for more important aspects of your news announcement.
When you’re writing your press release, you should make sure your headline quickly communicates to your clients and readers what your story is about. The first paragraph should then summarize the story’s primary aspects and factors, providing a more detailed explanation of what the story is about. The second paragraph then goes on to explain why this narrative is relevant in the context.
The third paragraph should go into greater depth about the story, including who’s involved, and how it came to be, with any other details that business leaders might need to know. If there is room for an extra paragraph, insert some quotes from company executives or industry experts to offer credibility and a unique point of view.
6) Perfect your writing
No matter how brief or basic, any news release should provide information about your organization and brand. Don’t expect your press release distributor to do all of the editing for you. Rather, you should make sure someone with a good understanding of your company as well as good copyediting skills takes a look at your press release before you send it out. Make sure your content is error-free and that everything sounds great. It’s also a good idea to double-check any details to ensure that all statistics and facts are correct.
When creating your press release, you should remember to do the following:
- Address the topics that will pique your readers’ interest: Choose themes that are relevant to your target audience and have clear advantages and consequences. Don’t get caught up in the fluff, and don’t pat yourself on the back too much. Avoid using too many adjectives like “world-leading” and “amazing.”
- Write in the third person: Even when talking about yourself, writing in the third person is typical in press releases. For example, it’s normal to say,”Dell’s marketing team recently shared information on a new computer series.”
- Keep your press release succinct, to the point, and easy to read. Keep it simple: Stick to one main narrative for each news release and avoid overwhelming your readers with information. If you have any further information to give, you should make a note at the bottom of the release or add a link to your online newsroom. You can also offer contact information, product links, and backlinks to more articles at the end of the press release.
While perfecting your writing is essential for all aspects of your business, sometimes it is very time-consuming, which is why hiring a PR agency might be a better choice if your budget allows it.
As much as crafting the perfect press release announcement is important, some founders simply don’t have the time to take this on in addition to the daily responsibilities of running a business. If this is the case for you, you can hire the services of a PR agency like Pressfarm. The experts at Pressfarm can distribute your press release widely and get it published on relevant media outlets. Pressfarm’s certified designers can also design an eye-catching media kit to go along with your press release.
By submitting your content to the right media outlets, startup directories, and professional networks, Pressfarm can boost your online visibility. The distribution strategy at Pressfarm ensures that your brand will rank in relevant search results across different search engines.
In addition to helping you distribute your press release widely, Pressfarm can actually build a custom media list for you. As a client, you also get year-long access to a comprehensive media database of 1 million+ journalists, influencers, and bloggers across different industries, with these media contacts, you can do extended media outreach for your brand, long after your campaign at Pressfarm is complete.
Even though the modern digital landscape has caused a shift in the dynamic of traditional PR, press releases are still an essential part of getting the word out there for a business. However, with so many press releases getting sent out daily, it is essential to create an effective one to gain media attention.