What is a press release? Writing a press release may seem difficult to anyone without a basic understanding of this communications tool. In general, press releases provide newsworthy information to a target audience.
Read on to learn about the importance of press releases, how to write one, and other key factors you should know about them.
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:
- What Makes a Good Press Release?
- The Importance of Press Releases
- What You Should Know About Press Releases
- How to Write a Press Release
- Press Release Distribution Tips
- Final Recap
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Related Articles
What Makes a Good Press Release?
Organizations publish approximately 80 million press releases on the internet each day while about 100 million people search for them on a daily basis. Yet, the most effective releases tend to follow several best practices.
Press Release Best Practices:
- Keep the text brief and precise.
- Use attention-grabbing headlines.
- Give each paragraph its own distinct point.
- Include an engaging quote.
- Always check for grammatical and spelling errors.
- Provide contact information, including a phone number and email address.
Read our How to Write a Press Release guide to learn more about crafting this form of communication.
The Importance of Press Releases
While some people may consider the press release a boring or outdated communications tool, press releases still serve as a key format for sharing business news with media outlets. They also can help companies boost their brand awareness and drive additional traffic to their websites.
Types of Press Releases
Organizations of all sizes issue press releases for a variety of reasons. For example, a press release might announce:
- New deals or contracts
- Human Resources-related news
- Corporate updates, including earnings reports
- Upcoming events
- Special occasions
- Rebranding campaigns
- New product or service launches
- New partnerships
New Deals or Contracts
The signing of a major deal or new contract provides an excellent reason to issue a press release because companies typically want to publicize such milestones.
Human Resources-Related News
This type of release typically shares information about executive hires and departures, job creation at new offices or facilities, layoffs, and other updates related to a company’s employees.
Companies of all sizes can use press releases to notify the public of changes to their strategic focus, corporate systems, branding, and more.
Businesses also use press releases to promote upcoming events they’ll host or sponsor. These releases typically include logistical details for reporters interested in attending as well as information about important participants and/or speakers.
This type of press release can invite reporters and the public to a special occasion like a grand opening, relocation, or corporate anniversary
Whenever companies win an industry or other type of award, their celebration often includes issuing a press release that publicizes the type of award and the employees who contributed to the win.
When a company launches a rebranding campaign, it typically will notify the public via a press release to avoid any potential confusion.
New Product or Service Launches
Press releases that announce new product or service launches help inform a company’s target audience about a new offering to address a specific challenge they face. This type of release usually includes information about features, pricing, and other key details.
Similar to new deals and contracts, new partnerships also provide solid fodder for press releases — especially if they help a company expand into a new market or region.
What You Should Know About Press Releases
While some press releases can have as few as 120 words and others may run for several pages, the main goal remains the same: clearly communicate a company’s or individual’s newsworthy message. Reporters will then decide if they want to write about that news item.
Characteristics of a Press Release
Media outlets are more likely to cover press releases that share some common characteristics. Specifically, the most effective press releases have:
- Newsworthy content
- Accurate information
- Simple language
- A concise writing style
- Answers to the five essential questions (i.e., who, what, when, where, and how?)
How to Write a Press Release
Writing a press release differs significantly from writing a press report. Specifically, companies create and issue press releases to publicize timely company news while only professional journalists write press reports — articles about events and other newsworthy items.
Key Elements of a Press Release
Writing an effective, engaging press release requires seven key elements:
An Attention-Grabbing Headline: Humans have a very short attention span. This means your press releases need a compelling headline to grab their attention and entice them to keep reading.
Contact Information: Every press release should include the name, email address, and phone number for its main point of contact. This enables reporters to reach out if they need additional information about the announcement and/or the issuing organization.
An Issue Date: Press releases also should feature a dateline, which includes the date of distribution along with the issuing organization’s city and state. This will help journalists assess an announcement’s timeliness and local relevance.
A Clear, Concise Lede Paragraph: A press release’s first — or “lede” — paragraph should present the most important information as clearly and briefly as possible. Leave quotes and additional details for the body of the release.
Several Paragraphs of Supporting Details: Use the body of a press release to provide supporting information and quotes that expand on the main points in its lede paragraph. This may include several paragraphs and/or bullet points.
Boilerplate Language: This typically takes the form of a short paragraph about the issuing company or organization. It may sometimes include details on the company’s and any third parties’ trademarks relevant to the release.
A Visual Signal of the Conclusion: Most press releases include a set of three pound signs (“###”) or another indicator that visually communicates the end of the release. This tells readers not to expect any more information and helps reporters distinguish between multiple releases they may receive in the same message.
Press Release Distribution Tips
Companies and other organizations use press releases to rapidly communicate timely, newsworthy information to a broad audience. To help ensure your release reaches your target audience(s), follow these tips:
- Start with a well-written release that features a timely update or other newsworthy information. Reporters will more likely read engaging content — an essential first step to generating media coverage.
- Send your release — either via a press release distribution service or direct emails — to just the reporters who cover a topic relevant to your announcement. If you have a release promoting an upcoming event at your local business, for example, send it to just the local business reporters in your area and not every reporter at every local media outlet. .
- To avoid any misperception among reporters that your company favors certain media outlets over others, distribute your press release to all relevant reporters at the same time.
- Never send press releases as attachments to reporters. This can clog up their inboxes and encourage them to simply ignore your news in the future.
- Offer multimedia content to provide a visual element for any stories reporters may write about your news. Provide links in your press release to downloadable graphics and photos. Only send a multimedia file to a reporter as an email attachment if they specifically request you do so.
A press release is a brief, public statement that features a news announcement about — or from — an organization. Organizations issue press releases for a variety of reasons, such as to provide business updates, announce new hires and major deals, and promote their awards or events.
Effective press releases also follow some basic rules and typically contain seven key elements. Furthermore, every press release should clearly answer these five questions:
- Who does this announcement impact?
- What is happening?
- Where will it happen?
- When will it happen?
- Why is it important?
Read our Best Press Release Distribution Service 2021 review to find the right press release distribution for your business’s specific needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I create a press release?
To write an effective press release, follow these tips:
- Identify a clear objective you want to achieve with the release.
- Use compelling language in your headline and lede paragraph to attract a reporter’s attention.
- Include supporting details in the body of the release in descending order of importance.
- Feature an engaging quote or two from people relevant to your announcement.
- Check for grammatical errors and typos before distribution.
- Offer a relevant image or graphic to accompany your release.
- Provide contact information, including a press contact’s name, email address, and phone number.
What is the purpose of a press release?
Organizations issue press releases to inform key audiences about matters pertaining to them (e.g., new deals, partnerships, and events) as well as to increase their brand awareness.
Why do I need a quote in my press release?
Including quotes from trusted experts and/or other people relevant to the news you’re announcing can help boost your press release’s credibility. These quotes also can provide an engaging way to convey critical, supporting points about your news.
What is the difference between a press release and a press report?
Organizations issue press releases to share timely news with a broad audience. In contrast, only professional journalists write press reports (also called news articles or stories) for publication in a media outlet.
Why does a press release need an attention-grabbing headline?
People often respond to short headlines that appeal to their emotions. A release with an attention-grabbing headline can help entice reporters to keep reading and, potentially, cover your announcement.
How do I write a press release?
The easiest way to write a press release is to use a press release template. You can then modify the template to fit your specific needs.
Basic Press Release Writing Steps:
- Start by focusing on the headline. It should instantly capture a reporter’s attention.
- Next, write your lede statement — the first sentence or paragraph of your press release. It should clearly and concisely explain your news.
- Now, organize the next few paragraphs in order of their importance. Provide the most important facts first followed by other supporting information.
- Finally, end your press release with a boilerplate paragraph (i.e., “About Us” language) and your press contact’s name, email address, and phone number.
Make sure your press release includes a dateline with its issue date as well as your organization’s city and state before the lead paragraph. This helps journalists assess an announcement’s timeliness and local relevance.
For more information, check out our How to Write a Press Release guide.
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, events, and more. Press releases make it easier for journalists and news outlets to learn about potential news items to inform their reporting.
When writing press releases and other content for the media, remember that reporters and editors differ from the general public. These are extremely busy people who spend their whole day trying to gather and publish information for their readers as quickly as possible. Press releases must, therefore, grab a reporter’s attention and feature timely, newsworthy content that persuades them to write about the announcement. They should never use sales-like language.
How do I send a press release?
Manually distributing a press release can prove to be complicated and time-consuming. As a result, most businesses outsource this task to a press release distribution service like eReleases. These companies specialize in distributing press releases to a wide audience, and some also offer writing services.
If you decide to distribute your news release yourself, you’ll need to contact each relevant media outlet directly, ask how to submit your press release for consideration, and then follow their instructions. Yet, even if you follow these steps, that won’t guarantee a reporter will write about your press release.
How do I format a press release?
To simplify the process of formatting a press release, use a press release template. Remember to use the preferred template for your industry and country because most news outlets won’t even glance at your press release if it doesn’t follow a familiar format .