It’s no secret that your business’s marketing and advertising efforts are vital for your brand’s exposure. Many people believe that press releases have become a waste of time and effort in the current media landscape. However, you mustn’t forget that print magazines and news outlets have embraced the online shift as well, expanding the need for press releases now more than ever. Press releases remain an extremely effective marketing tool for both small and large enterprises. They help notify members of the press of major events, announcements, and product launches, and they can help increase brand awareness through media coverage.
Issuing a press release is one of the top ways you can engage the media in all sorts of business-related matters. Furthermore, thanks to the numerous social media platforms out there, press releases can now be made directly available to the public. This means that you will not necessarily have to get actual media coverage, reach more people, and interact with various customers. You can also interact with numerous nontraditional media outlets online, which can help increase your business’s public relations activity without spending a small fortune on marketing.
Press releases also give you the chance to boost your organic traffic. The benefits that come with issuing a captivating, appealing, and professional press release are practically endless. Keep reading to learn how to properly write a press release.
Understand the Structure
Many people attempt to write press releases without fully understanding how to approach them. When writing a press release, you have to keep in mind that it is not an informal pitch or an advertisement. A press release is a formal and official communicative document; it has definite constraints and should come with certain features and follow a specific outline. It is a way to increase brand awareness and gain exposure for your business, but it shouldn’t be too promotional. You need to know where to draw the line between making an announcement and advertising your business, which is why you need to have a newsworthy story, to begin with.
Generally, a press release should have an eye-catching headline, an opening statement that will draw the readers in, an interesting body, and of course, your business’s contact information. Before writing a press release, you must first understand what you want to achieve with it. Do you want to increase the sales for a certain product line, improve SEO, or just get the word out about your business? A successful press release is interesting and is also able to accomplish your business goals.
The subject headline may be the most important feature of any press release; it is what determines whether your email will be opened in the first place. Most journalists receive up to thousands of emails every day, many of which are press releases. Naturally, they won’t be able to read or even open every single one of them, which is why your subject headline matters. Journalists are quick to delete the majority of press releases with ineffective subject lines without giving them a second thought.
The trick is to make the subject line personal. Start by addressing and greeting the journalist; this shows that you know who they are and what they write about. Pitching them regarding business that deviates from their industry would be a waste of time. Your subject line should communicate the story, why they should care, and why they should read it now. You can include data, use alliterations, answer a question, or paint a picture—whatever you need to do to get their attention.
Step into Their Shoes
A helpful strategy for writing an effective press release is to try stepping into the journalist’s shoes. Even if you intend on making the press release public, you are primarily writing it for a journalist audience, hoping to get coverage. This is why you should think and write like one of them. Keep in mind that not all journalists are alike, so you need to make sure you pitch the right kind of journalist: someone who is relevant to your industry and writes about topics similar to yours. Know what grabs their attention and explore their areas of interest, as it is likely to make them more invested in your press release.
When writing the release, make sure that the purpose behind issuing it is clear. Your audience should immediately understand why it is of importance or relevance to them, and the best way to do that is by telling them upfront. A press release should be to the point, short, and compelling. You should avoid any clichés, exaggerations, and conspicuous sales and marketing language.
An important aspect of selecting the right journalist is keeping in mind their audience. If you are a medical insurance company pitching a fashion magazine, they will never issue your press release. Neither the publication nor its audience would be interested. Before pitching a journalist, you must make sure that their readership aligns with your target audience, and that your product, service, announcement, or event aligns with their coverage. If you read a few of their issues or explore their website, you will get a better idea of a journalist’s niche.
Find Your Angle
A press release is a news story, and like any story, it should have an angle. Some of the most common angles are local impact, conflict progress, and drama. When exploring an interesting angle for your story, you can direct your main focus toward how your story impacts the local community, investigate a particular side in a conflict, highlight progress made in a certain area of importance, or work on evoking emotional responses from your readers. The options are endless. The most important things to remember when deciding on an angle for your press release are the 5 Ws. Never stray from who the story is about, what is going on, where it is happening, when it will happen, and why it is important.
The Inverted Pyramid
An appealing headline, along with an interesting opening statement, is enough to make many readers click on your press release. However, there is no guarantee that they will stick around until the end of it. People get bored very easily and are not willing to waste their time on something that doesn’t hold their attention. One way to make sure that your audience gets the most out of your press release is to follow the inverted pyramid format. To use this format, you need to start by exploring the most important information.
Make sure to mention what’s happening, how, when, and where it’s happening, and who is in charge at the beginning of your press release. This allows readers to determine whether the topic is of importance to them, helping them decide whether to proceed or not. Even if they don’t, at least you will be able to guarantee that readers are now aware of your business and what it offers.
You should then follow through with quotes and other details, arranging them from most to least important. The PR specialists at https://www.ereleases.com/press-release-template/ recommend that you look through several templates to become more familiar with the structure of a press release. End your press release with important information, such as boilerplate copy, specific times and dates, and contact information for additional questions or inquiries.
Headline and Lede
As mentioned above, your headline is what determines whether your target audience will click on the press release or skip right over it. This is why you should give enormous weight to the headline; the content is important, of course, but without an effective headline, your audience will never get to it. The lede, or lead, of your press release, is the first paragraph and it comes directly after your summary bullet point. According to the inverted pyramid format, this paragraph should contain your angle or a hook to get the readers interested, the 5 Ws, and a reason why your reader should care.
Although most of the important information will be mentioned in your introductory paragraph, the body of the press release should offer the reader additional interesting information. The body should explore the topic in more depth and provide supplemental information to give the reader a more complete picture. Some of the most common mistakes made when writing press releases are failing to provide key takeaways and using dense and complicated language in the body. This is something to watch out for since the body should be the most easy-to-read part of your press release.
Use Quotes and AP Format
Many people think that quotes are just expendable components of a press release, and fail to appreciate their true purpose or power. While quotes may not be essential, you should certainly make it a point to include at least one in your content. Using quotes, whether they are from recognizable figures, industry experts, testimonials, or employees of your business, will make you seem like a more credible and trusted source.
In addition, quotes provide journalists with material for their own stories. Preferably, you should write your own quotes since it’s better than waiting for approval from the entity that you’re quoting. You don’t need to overthink your quotes or complicate them; simply think of a quote that serves a purpose and helps tell the story of the press release.
Your quote should be tailored to the purpose of the press release; for instance, if your target audience doesn’t use intricate or fancy words, then you shouldn’t use them. Make sure to always attribute your quotes and explain who is saying them and why. Journalists generally use AP format to write their stories, so using this style will make your press release easier for them to follow and use for their own story. Journalists are typically very busy, so the more work you create for them, the less likely it is that they will cover your story.
Before sending your press release, you must carefully review it to make sure that there are no errors. Your best bet is to create a checklist and make sure that your press release checks off all the boxes. Make sure your release and publish dates are correct and that you have the words “for immediate release” written in the top corner.
Make sure that your name, phone number, and email address are in the top-right corner of your document, and that the organization’s location is in the proper all-caps format. Reread the first paragraph to ensure that all the relevant and important information is included and make certain that your boilerplate is present at the end of the release.
Make sure that the pound signs are in their correct places, that the spacing is formatted properly, and that there are two empty lines between each paragraph. Check for spelling and grammatical mistakes as well as incomplete or ambiguous sentences. Your headlines should be short and memorable, your content should be unique, hyperlinks should be kept to a minimum, and your press release should end with a call to action. Keep track of when the press release will be published and review whether the contacts in your media list are up to date.
If you follow this guide on how to write a proper press release, you will surely have all the tools and the know-how you need to create a successful one. An effective press release is capable of getting your business the recognition it needs to thrive. Combined with modern-day technology and a strong online presence, press releases will help your business gain exposure, improve its SEO rankings, and boost its public relations. You will also be able to create the image and reputation that you desire and generate buzz about your brand.
All you need to do is find an interesting angle, use the proper structure, deliver the right message, create interesting content, and pitch it to the correct journalists and publications. While this may seem overwhelming, you will realize that it’s much easier than you had anticipated once you get started. With careful attention to detail and some practice, you can master the art of writing a successful press release.