How to write a press release

By Lizzie Davey

23 Jul 2020

How to write a press release

Whether you are selling a product, a service, or advertising an event, a press release is an important marketing asset. It is a simple tool you can use to inform others about your business, helping you increase your brand’s visibility.

The trick to writing an engaging press release and distributing it to relevant media outlets is all in the process. Read on for tips to ensure your press release gets seen by the right people and shared in the right places.

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What is a press release?

A press release is an official statement or update that is sent out to selected journalists and publications, giving them information about your brand or service, or letting them know about a newsworthy development. A good press release is the key to getting featured in news publications.

What is included in a press release?

Your press release should be concise and engaging and needs to include all the important details. Journalists will often run a press release as is – they don’t want to have to get back in touch for further details. Below are some of things you should include:

  • A clear and compelling headline that highlights why your story is interesting and important right now.
  • Key dates that are easy to locate.
  • Your contact details, so that media staff can get in touch with you if they need to.
  • The location of your brand and where the news is coming from.
  • The main content of your press release.
  • A quote from a relevant individual can help make a story more human.
  • Boilerplate text about your brand or organisation, and where people can go to find out more information.

Step by step: how to write a press release

1. Find your story or angle

Why is your message important and why should the media take notice? To help with this, think about why your story is important right now. A human element can also help make a more engaging story.

2. Target a particular audience

A tailored press release means more chance of success. Think about what you want to achieve; which publications would help your news get seen by the right people?

3.Create an eye-catching heading

Your heading should convey your news in a clear and interesting way. You want it to be catchy, but also simple and direct. It should give the reader everything they need to know about your story in one sentence.

4. Cover the vital details in the first paragraph

This should include the what, why, where, and how of your story. Journalists don’t have a lot of time, so give them the key information as soon as possible – but make sure it’s interesting! You want them to keep reading.

5. Offer relevant contextual information

Your story needs legs, so think about the narrative you want to tell. What makes your story stand out? You should also provide a quote from a relevant individual to add a human element to your story.

Wrap up with information about your company, and where people can go to find out more about what you are offering. You don’t want to leave readers with extra work if they want to know more.

Distributing your press release

Build your own list of specialist publications

You will already be an expert in your own area, so one way of distributing your press release is to use this existing knowledge and build a list of specialist publications that relate to your field. Software tools such as Buzzstream and BuzzSumo can help you identify key journalists, bloggers and influencers working in your area.

Where possible, find out the name and direct email address of key journalists as building relationships with journalists from the leading publications in your sector is one way of ensuring success for your press releases. You might also want to think about tailoring your press release for different publications. What you send to a local newspaper might differ from what you send to the author of an influential blog.

Finally, if going down this route, follow up with key journalists to keep your story fresh in their mind.

Using a newswire service

You might also want to think about existing tools you can utilise to help you distribute your press release. Many businesses will use newswire services, which have ready-made distribution lists that include thousands of online and offline publications.

There are a number of newswire services to choose from, so do a bit of research to find one that works for you. Some popular ones include PR Fire, where press release submissions start at £50, Pressat (£110 per submission) and PR Newswire (£230 per submission).

Make your press release stand out

As well as being a tool for gaining media coverage, writing a press release is a great way to start thinking about your product, service or project in a more engaging way. Remember, the key is to think about the pull; what makes your story stand apart from the others? Then use this to get started.