9 Tips to Write the Best Press Release
What is a Press Release?
What is press release writing, and how do they relate to businesses and their customers?
Press releases are a communication tool used by businesses to communicate to the media and other stakeholders. Businesses achieve this by writing newsworthy press releases and distributing them through news outlets.
The release itself is a summary of important news, for example, a new product, a funding announcement, new hire announcements, and much more. The Press Release itself does not usually get covered by the media and that is one of the reasons why companies engage PR agencies–in order to pitch the news to journalists in advance of the press release going over the wire.
In this article:
How To Write A Press Release?
1. Start With an Attention Grabbing Headline
People read quickly these days, and many just skim articles to get the main idea. Writers need to catch their reader’s attention in the first few lines if they want a good chance of getting their message across. How do you do that?
Construct your headline with invigorating action words to stimulate interest among your readers.
Headlines need to be clear and concise without any fluff. Try to stay away from click-bait-style headlines. This type of writing is often misleading and creates an unprofessional tone. For that reason, headlines must relate purely to the content and be free of any misleading or hyperbolic statements.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your headlines. Try experimenting with verbs and adjectives, looking for the sharpest option. It might sound unusual while you’re drafting, but readers appreciate exciting and vivid descriptions.
There aren’t any strict rules for the best headline length, but it’s a good idea to keep them around seven words or less. This is a general rule of thumb consistent with journalistic norms for both print and online news sources. A seven-word limit also forces you to be succinct with your word choice.
2. Answer 5 Ws
Once you complete your headline and possibly a subheading, it’s time to start the body of the press release. The first few lines are where you must deliver the main message. A helpful way to organize this information is to divide the news into 5 Ws: who, what, when, where, and why.
You can deliver the 5 Ws in any order. If the article is focusing on an individual or business merger, you might start with the “who,” or the people involved in the transaction. Similarly, if the article focuses on a particular product or event, you could start with the “what”.
“When” and “where” give the reader important context if they are unfamiliar with the business or industry as a whole. The “why” should inform people about the results or consequences of the news. This establishes the significance of the press release.
3. Provide Value
At its heart, a press release should give the reader valuable, new information about the business.
Value is generated through credible and well-written research because it ensures reliability and truthfulness. This reliability, in turn, reflects upon the business. You wouldn’t enjoy a book full of typos and grammar mistakes, would you? Similarly, poorly researched and unedited press releases will frustrate readers who are often well-educated about specific industries or topics. For this reason, your press release should offer readers factual, relevant, and polished copy aligning with industry standards and commonly held views.
4. Include Sources
The credibility of your press release is enhanced with verified and helpful sources. Often embedded into the text as hyperlinks, sources help verify your article’s validity. They are also a useful tool for backlinking readers towards similar articles or media concerning the business you are writing about. If you don’t want to use hyperlinks, you can cite your sources at the end of your body paragraphs.
While hyperlinks and verified sources help to generate authenticity, it’s important to remember that press releases are a primary source. This means the writer is expected to relate most of the important information themselves without relying on external sources.
5. Don’t Forget the Details
Depending on the type of your press release, the article may require different details. A press release concerned with an event might specify arrival times or a dress code. In press releases about new products, you can relate the upcoming launch date and price ranges.
If the press release is a new product, writers can explain how it compares to older ones or competing products in the market. These details help the reader learn more about the business making them more likely to trust and remember them.
6. Grab Quotes
“An apt quotation is like a lamp which flings its light over the whole sentence.”Letitia Landon
Quotes are a great way to spice up your press release. They are the only part of a press release where opinions can be expressed. The rest of the document must be factual and impartial.
Short and succinct quotes are perfect for getting your message across quickly. Metaphors or unique statements also help to attract the reader’s interest. Try to avoid uncreative or “vision” statements about a business, since they can come across as canned or inauthentic.
Quotes shine the brightest when they are used sparingly. This approach will guide writers in choosing their quotes carefully, selecting only the most interesting and relevant statements. Too long or too many quotes can blur your message and make it sound as though you are parroting information.
7. Additional Information
This is an opportunity to provide your readers with basic info about the business or company they may not already know. This is the perfect solution for new businesses that lack consumer awareness. You can include details about the business’ history, financial performances, or its reputation in the competing marketplace. While there’s a chance this “boilerplate” material will eventually be edited out of the final draft, it gives news outlets flexibility in choosing a suitable length for publishing.
8. Contact Information
This is the first information you write in a press release. Contact information gives the reader a direct link for further inquiry. Make sure to post accurate phone numbers, emails, and locations to firmly establish a line of communication between the business and potential readers. You can also include the contact’s credentials or position within a business.
9. Include Background Information
Businesses need an outlet to generate a narrative and establish a trajectory for their consumers. A press release is a perfect opportunity to define that narrative, show readers how the business arrived at this point, and project their future successes.
When including background information, you can include a brief history of the business, or write about important people and their role in the business’ development. Another idea is to convey the events or market changes leading to the press release announcement. These details familiarize your reader with the business by providing a type of story about their development and path forward.
How to Format a Press Release?
There’s an established format for writing press releases. The formatting conventions ensure readability among both news outlets and consumers. To start, your press release needs to be typed and double spaced on white letterhead. Many also include a logo at the top center of the page.
- The first lines provide contact information for the reader, which is usually a journalist or someone affiliated with the business. These lines appear at the top left corner of the page and include a contact name, title, company, address, and phone number. This gives journalists a contact for further questions.
- The phrase “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” should appear at the top right corner of the page. Make sure to write this in capital letters. This is a journalistic convention indicating that the document is ready for the public. Alternatively, writers can put “UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL” with a date to indicate the press release must be held until a specific time.
- The next lines of text are the headline and subheading, although subheadings aren’t always necessary. The headline usually appears in bold and is centered on the page. A headline should effectively describe the key point or overall message of the press release. Subheadings are written in italics below the headline. Subheadings briefly elaborate on the headline with additional context or information.
- After you format your press release and create a headline, you can move on to the body. Many writers use an inverted triangle system for writing body paragraphs. This is a visual tool representing how the writer should organize their information.
Writers convey their main point at the beginning of the press release. This section represents the top portion of the inverted triangle, and usually takes up most of the release. Afterward, a smaller section of the article is dedicated to contextual or technical information relevant to the main point.
Any extra background information falls to the bottom of the inverted triangle or the last part of the article. This is often called “boilerplate” material and is usually the briefest part of the press release.
- The last line of text in your press release should be three number signs centered on the page. Writing three number signs at the end of your body indicates there is no more copy to come. This is an old journalistic convention with murky origins, but all you need to know is that it means “the end.”
Publishing a Press Release
There’s no licensing system for publishing press releases, which means anyone can do it. Many choose to hire a PR agency in order to get the most from the company’s news. Some companies decide to try putting out press releases themselves with varying degrees of success.
Press release distribution services have a similar level of professionality and can have extensive connections with different media outlets. There are many press release distribution services available online, some of which are free. We use Businesswire the most as it has a number of paid partnerships for picking up the news and gives the releases a high level of authority.
Get Your Press Release to Stand out
There are two clear paths to creating a successful and memorable press release. First, you need to offer credible and insightful information. Second, you need to leverage a variety of media outlets to amplify your reach to consumers.
Getting your press release noticed partially depends on a writer’s familiarity with standard formatting conventions. A good writer will optimize their use of headlines, the 5 Ws, quotes, and background information to create well-rounded and eye-catching articles. Headlines are especially important since they’re the first thing that pops out on the page to readers.
After you’ve created a flawless press release, it’s time to distribute the document to media outlets. Traditionally, businesses made their press release announcements through established news organizations. This is changing with the rise of social media, which allows businesses to create public profiles and spread their news through posts, stories, tweets, and reels.
Types of Press Releases
The layout and content of a press release will depend on the business and the type of announcement they are making. Many press releases simply revolve around a small bit of news, such as a business winning an award or achieving positive fiscal performance. These publications will focus on the relevant individuals or potential financial implications.
A product or company launch press release will emphasize dates and provide details about the product, company, website, or initiative. A press release about an event will focus on timelines. Additionally, these releases may provide specifics about what will happen and who will be attending the event.
Some press releases focus on executive members within a business. This is where quotes and background information help give their press release a human feel.
Example of a Press Release
Below you will find another press release example. This press release focuses on a business winning an award. This press release is also fictitious.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cuppa Coffee Wins National Brand Excellence Award
Coffee Company honored at Venezuela’s National Coffee Conference
Caracas, Venezuela – The fledgling coffee bean distribution company, Cuppa Coffee, today announces that it has been named the winner of the Brand Excellence award at the Venezuela National Coffee Conference. This is the first time Cuppa Coffee received national recognition for its ethical practices and premium quality coffee beans.
“This is a big step for Cuppa Coffee, and shows our potential as a new player in the coffee distribution market,” said the company CEO, Marguerite Perez. Perez delivered her speech to an audience of over three hundred coffee experts attending the conference. Cuppa Coffee is now the youngest company to ever win the award, which is normally given to well-established distribution companies.
Cuppa Coffee connects coffee bean farmers with international roasteries and supply chains. This is an essential role for providing logistical support regarding the transportation, roasting, and selling of Venezuelan coffee beans. While their market was originally located in Venezuela, Cuppa Coffee is now expanding to specialty stores and roasters in Canada, the United States, and Central American countries.
The origins of Cuppa Coffee sprouted on a family farm where Marguerite Perez grew up. Located in the Andes Mountains, the farm had the perfect climate for growing coffee beans. As she matured, Perez saw a great opportunity for coffee production in Venezuela. Later, Perez traveled to Universidad De Los Andes to study business and economics. This education laid the foundations for her to found and run a business.
The other nominees for the Brand of Excellence Award were Cafe Caracas, Java Venezuela, and Jose Joe. Representatives from each company were eager to offer their congratulations to Marguerite Perez at the National Coffee Conference. Later in the ceremony, Java Venezuela took the award for Best New Bean.
About Cuppa Coffee
Cuppa Coffee is a new coffee distribution company based out of Valencia, Venezuela. Its services connect coffee roasters and distributors with farmers from across the country. The company is dedicated to ethical practices and adherence to Fair Trade practices. The company’s market now distributes coffee beans to countries in South, Central, and North America.
Press Releases are a Communication Channel for Businesses
Press releases are one of the main tools to communicate with journalists. They are valuable sources of information that generate public understanding and recognition. Press releases often involve announcements or celebrations, but may also be concerned with major changes and pitfalls.
There’s traditional formatting for press releases that make the documents easier to read for journalists.
Use creative diction, interesting quotes, and helpful hyperlinks to engage your reader. This will foster an emotional connection between consumers and the company. Another preeminent option is to distribute your press releases over social media. This will target a growing population who primarily use their phones for news consumption.
Press Release FAQs
What is the format of a press release?
Press releases begin with contact information on the top left and “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” at the top right. Below is where the headline and subheading appear at the center of the page. Next comes the body paragraphs, which must answer the 5 Ws. Less important, contextual information should appear near the end of the body paragraphs.
Sources can either be embedded as hyperlinks or included beneath the body paragraphs. The final formatting rule for press releases is to type three number signs centered at the end of the document. This signifies the end of the press release to news outlets.
What does a good press release include?
A punchy headline is key to catching your readers’ attention. The release must also include important details like dates, names, prices, and locations. Lastly, quotes and background information give businesses a human touch.
How long should a press release be?
Press releases should be no more than one page long. Any longer will tire the reader and likely be edited to be shorter. Using 12-point and double-spaced font, a single page of text translates to between 300 and 500 words.
How do you make a press release interesting?
Press releases should combine creative storytelling with factual information from the business. This creates a readable and informative news brief for consumers. Quotes and specific details help to characterize a business, and background information fosters brand recognition. Combine these elements carefully to make an interesting and compelling press release.
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