Press release writing can sometimes seem daunting because this form of writing differs from what most people learn in school.
But, don’t worry! This article provides tips to help you hone your press release writing skills so your releases can grab — and hold — a reporter’s attention.
Recommended: We recommend eReleases if you want a well-written and widely distributed press release to help funnel in more customers and increase revenue for your business.
PRESS RELEASE GUIDE:
- Proof That Press Releases Work
- The Importance of the Distinct Press Release Writing Style
- What You Should Know About Press Release Writing
- Press Release Writing Tips
- How To Choose the Right Tone for Your Press Release
- Final Recap
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Related Articles
Proof That Press Releases Work
A whopping 44 % of journalists consider press releases to be the most reliable source of brand-related content. These announcements provide a simple way to communicate directly with media organizations.
According to Agility PR, US companies issue more than 3 million press releases per day.
Specifically, Press Releases:
- Provide pertinent information
- Include photos, videos, and links to other visual assets journalists can easily use to accompany their articles
- Package newsworthy information in an easy-to-read format
Check out our What Is a Press Release? guide to learn more about PR and how this communication tool can help your business.
The Importance of the Distinct Press Release Writing Style
While people use a variety of writing techniques, they must take a different approach to drafting a press release than they would when writing an essay or dissertation.
Why? Because the goal of a press release is to help you generate interest in your business’s new product or event. That requires a style of writing that prominently showcases the newsworthy and interesting nature of the information to attract reporters’ attention.
Reasons to Use the Distinct Press Releases Writing Style:
- It can help persuade reporters to write about your product, event, or other timely news.
- It can help generate consumer excitement for your announcement.
- It can efficiently communicate your timely business news to a broad audience.
What You Should Know About Press Release Writing
Press releases can vary significantly in terms of their length, writing style, and content.
Here’s What You Should Know:
- You may need to write different press releases using different styles of writing to align with their specific content and the issuing organization’s brand personality and/or industry.
- Each press release will look different, depending on the details of specific announcements and the type of news you want to share.
- You must make the contents of a press release sound interesting to capture journalists’ attention and help persuade them to write about your news.
Press Release Writing Tips
Start with an intriguing headline to catch a reporter’s attention and make them curious enough to read the rest of your release. From there, try to create a succinct first — or “lede” — paragraph that provides the most important information you want to convey. Then, follow that lede paragraph with additional, supporting details in the body of the release.
- Before you start writing, compile a bulleted list of all the information and links you’ll need to write the release.
- Create a folder to house your press release document as well as any accompanying photos, graphics, or other related assets.
- Write an attention-grabbing headline.
- Create a lede paragraph that succinctly communicates your main point. For example, “School Board Chair Cathy Marie invites you to attend the 10th annual ‘Chaos for a Cause’ fundraising event. This year, it’ll feature a live DJ, ‘principal for a day’ drawings, and raffles.” Remember to state your most important fact first.
- Use a quote for your second paragraph. Make sure to cite the person’s name, title, and relevance to the news if that’s not immediately obvious. Write at least two more paragraphs to form the body of your release based on the remaining bullet points in your information list. Remember to add any relevant links and a second quote.
- Add your contact information — or the relevant point of contact’s information — at the bottom.
How to Choose the Right Tone for Your Press Release
Some press releases require an analytical tone of writing (e.g., those focused on corporate earnings, business partnerships, and new contracts) while others can take a less formal tone (e.g., announcements about a small business hosting a community event or contest). Because each press release will provide different content, you must use a tone appropriate to the announcement’s specific news.
Key Factors for Choosing Your Release’s Tone:
- Analyze the type of news you plan to announce and match your writing tone to that topic. For example, a small business might use a formal tone when launching a new product and a more casual tone when announcing the winners of a contest it sponsored.
- Consider the issuing company’s voice. A local coffee shop may use a less formal tone in its press releases than a graphic design firm serving corporate clients.
Press release writing may seem like a daunting task, but breaking the process down into several steps can help you hone your writing skills and create more effective releases.
While you can approach the writing process in a variety of ways, remember to consider the issuing company’s voice and the type of news you want to share. This will not only help you determine the right tone for each announcement but it will also enhance your press release writing skills.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I analyze the issuing company’s voice?
You may need to do some research to identify the appropriate voice to use in your press release. Read the company’s past announcements, website copy, social media posts, and even its mission statement should provide clues as to the company’s brand personality, tone of writing, and preferred vernacular.
How do I choose the appropriate tone?
Because each press release shares different content, you must use a tone appropriate to the announcement’s specific news. If your release will announce an executive departure or a store closure, for example, use a formal tone.In contrast, a release announcing a local event or contest might use a more casual tone to spark consumer excitement. Whatever its tone, a press release should always feature informative, newsworthy content.
How do I get inventive with the information provided?
To make your press releases more engaging, try including detailed descriptions of key elements of the news, adjusting your word choice, and using active voice rather than passive voice.
How do I make this seem newsworthy?
Ideally, organizations should only issue press releases when they have newsworthy content to share. If your release’s topic feels just somewhat timely, try to make its content seem as newsworthy as possible. Aim to present the topic in exciting or intriguing terms through your tone and language. For example, using words like “exclusive” and “invite-only” may help spark someone’s interest. Think about how you can position the announcement to grab — and hold — a reporter’s attention.
What do I do if my release is too short?
Reporters have minimal time to assess potential news items and likely won’t read a press release if it’s overly long or filled with unnecessary language. If your release already communicates your main point along with an engaging quote (or two) and a few supporting details, that’s all you need. Avoid adding content to simply reach an arbitrary word length.
What is a press release?
A press release is a brief statement that features a news announcement about — or from — an organization. Companies and other organizations use press releases to announce new product launches, earnings reports, management changes, and more. Press releases make it easier for journalists and news outlets to learn about potential news items to inform their reporting.
How do you end a press release?
The last section of a press release should include your press contact information. Specifically, it should feature your press contact name(s), phone number(s), and email address(es).
How should you structure a press release?
Press releases typically contain six parts organized as follows:
- The issuing organization’s logo along with its location and the date
- An attention-grabbing headline
- A succinct introduction with a strong lede statement
- Three paragraphs of body content (in descending order of importance)
- The organization’s boilerplate content
- The press release contact information
Where do you send press releases?
Organizations distribute their press releases to relevant media contacts. This includes newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television networks, and online news sites, among others.
If you don’t want to spend your time tracking down relevant media outlets, submit your press releases to a press release distribution service like eReleases. Many of these distribution services also will offer to write your press releases. This can save you even more time and help ensure your company issues professionally written releases more likely to appeal to reporters.
Should I send a press release as a Microsoft® Word or PDF file?
Never send a press release as a portable document format (PDF) file. PDFs can prove challenging to format and likely will reduce the chance of a journalist reading and reporting on your news. Instead, submit your press release to a press release distribution service as a Microsoft Word (.doc/.docx) file.
If you plan to send your release directly to a reporter, copy and paste its content into your email rather than including an attachment. Why? Most reporters dislike attachments because they can easily clog up their inboxes.
Do press releases work?
Yes, press releases do work. They also provide many benefits.
Besides the obvious benefit of sharing corporate news with media outlets to promote potential coverage, press releases also help businesses improve their search engine optimization (SEO) rankings and brand recognition. In addition, they can help companies increase sales and market share as well as enhance their credibility.
Press releases also can serve as a tool for mitigating negative media coverage. Public relations firms often use them to help their clients improve their reputations.