For many PR and marketing professionals, writing press releases can seem mundane and as though they are publishing words destined to be lost in cyberspace. But with the rise of social media and digital channels, press releases are more important than ever.
The reality is, press releases are critical to establishing a media presence and ultimately driving sales. In fact, 72% of journalists say the press release is one of the most useful types of content a PR pro can deliver according to Cision's 2020 Global State of the Media Report. If written well, a press release can get multiple news articles published, build SEO traffic, establish your reputation, and help you control the narrative of your brand - meaning new prospects will be knocking at the door for you to sell products to them.
So, how do we reap the benefits of a well-written press release? Let's break it down.
Write a punchy headline
Ask yourself - what exactly are we announcing and why does it matter? Answer this question as concisely as possible within about 10 words. This is your chance to catch your audience’s attention and keep journalists reading, so it is important to get it right. Plus, it forces you to organize your thoughts for the rest of the release.
Don’t forget the accompanying sub-header that continues the story established in your headline, but keep it brief - about a single sentence in length.
Develop a newsworthy angle - without the fluff
Writing a press release is a balancing act. The content must be upfront about its purpose and tell readers like it is - ideally in 300 to 400 words. However, every good news story has an angle.By establishing a clear perspective that your brand will take, you make it easy for journalists to recognize that your announcement is something newsworthy to write about.
Follow the inverted pyramid
Once you’ve established a clear purpose for your release, you’re ready to dive into the content - inverted pyramid style. The top of the inverted pyramid is the most important information, also called the lead. This is the 5 Ws: who, what, when, where, and why; it should be approximately 30 words or two small paragraphs.
As you work your way down the release, the information should become less crucial and finish with smaller details. This may include extra content, boilerplate, contact information, or other general background information.
Imagine your reader gets distracted or runs out of time halfway through reading the release. After all, readers have an attention span of about 15 seconds. What information was absolutely necessary for them to know? It is best practice to make that first.
Incorporate powerful quotes
The best way to add some color and smooth transitions in a press release is to incorporate 1 - 2 quotes from a company spokesperson.
Impactful quotes should humanize your story. Industry’s leading expert, CEO of Wylie Communications, Ann Wylie advises PR professionals to opt for quotes that detail the impact on end-users, embrace emotion, and drive reporters to want to know more.
Use the press release as a sales tool
Free coverage in the media is a great perk of a compelling press release, but don’t forget that press releases are also published for your stakeholders, customers, and prospects to see. This makes it a valuable piece of marketing content.
Keep this in mind when you are writing a press release. You’ll want to make sure to reinforce your brand’s Messaging and Positioning Framework (MPF) throughout the content and highlight what makes your company unique. If your reader gets one thing out of your press release, let it be your brand’s differentiator.
It’s your turn
Now you know what it takes to create a quality press release. Next time you write a press release, remember that it is a valuable asset to add to your marketing strategy. The truth is that a well-executed release is highly a remarkable piece of content that sells - not published words lost floating in cyberspace.
Looking for help getting your press releases dialed just so? Reach out any time. We’d be happy to lend a hand.