How to Write the Perfect Press Release
The right press release announces something newsworthy about your organization, enticing media outlets into providing coverage. It could literally make or break your organization.
So how do you make sure your press release gets the job done?
A well-composed press release is formatted to industry standards and conveys all relevant information in an engaging manner. That way, journalists are more inclined to cover it.
This guide will take you through each necessary component of a good press release, including:
- The benefits of a press release
- The main types of press releases
- The elements to include in a press release
- 3 keys to writing a good press release
- How to keep readers interested in your press release
- Examples of well-executed press releases
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What are the benefits of a press release?
A press release is a document distributed to media outlets and journalists making a newsworthy announcement. The underlying goal is to generate as much media coverage as possible.
For example, if you want to inform the general public about a new product on the market, a public event, or a political campaign kickoff then you issue a press release.
When a media outlet finds a press release interesting or relevant enough, they might print a story about it or include it in a broadcast. Basically, a press release can be like a free ad.
A benefit of a press release is that you control the announcement’s narrative, highlighting the key points critical to you or your company, and casting a positive light.
What are the main types of press releases?
There are many types of press releases, and while they all appear similar, each has a distinct purpose. The most common press releases are:
- The Event Press Release – Organizations might promote a special event with details about what kind of event it is and who can attend.
- The New Hire Press Release – This announces a noteworthy hire in a company—only if that hire is relevant or impactful in some way.
- The New Product Press Release – A new product, or a revamped version of an existing one, might get a press release that explains how it’s significant.
- Mergers/Acquisitions/New Partnerships Press Release – This notifies the media about significant mergers, acquisitions, or partnerships that impact an organization.
What is included in a press release?
Formatting a press release is a straightforward endeavor. There should be no more than one page of copy, consisting of 4 to 6 short paragraphs, with the most crucial information appearing at the beginning of the press release, and all other details following in order of importance.
Every press release ends with a boilerplate, which is a brief overview of the organization issuing the press release and the contact details of whoever handles press queries.
The press release layout
First of all, in order to ensure the most important information is relayed at the very top, the first paragraphs always answer what’s known as the “5 Ws”—the basis of all good press releases.
The answers to the 5 Ws provide all the critical information one needs regarding the announcement:
- Who: Who is this press release about?
- What: What is this press release announcing?
- When: When will it take place?
- Where: Where is the announcement happening? (Location? City? Worldwide?)
- Why: Why is this announcement relevant?
It’s important to remember, answering the 5 Ws is half the battle here. This information has to be presented in a way that piques interest and keeps readers invested. For that, you need to lay out your press release in a format to maintain interest throughout.
Here is the base layout for the perfect press release:
A headline is ideally no longer than ten words. It needs to grab the reader’s attention while staying informative. Also, think of the audience and potential publication when crafting the headline; it should shape the language and the angle.
The opening paragraph is where you answer the 5 Ws. You lead with the most important details of the announcement, answering “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “why.”
This will be the meat of the press release, where you’ll prove your authority over the subject of the announcement. It might feature facts or figures that give your press release validity and value, as well as detail where the information is coming from.
A direct quote from someone connected to the announcement (product reviewer, politician, event host) will strengthen any press release. What’s more, reporters look for first-person quotes to feature in their coverage as they tend to add validity.
Who you quote depends on the goal of the press release and the news you wish to convey.
Before you sign off on a press release, provide contact details for press queries. Reporters need to know who to contact for further information or to arrange an interview.
The boilerplate is like a business card, giving an overview of the issuer of the press release; this is all about who you are and what you do.
What are the keys to writing a press release?
A press release should be written like a news article. What that means is, a press release is concise, objective, and non-promotional.
When it comes to writing an impactful press release, it’s all about the angle. What we mean is, you need to know how to really tap into a thing readers will care about.
1. Identify the target audience
In order to tap into what readers care about, you first need to know who the audience is. Remember your press release is not just going to be read by the general public, it’s going to be read by reporters who deal with hundreds of press releases each week.
Within the span of a few paragraphs, it’s your job to convince these reporters that the news your press release is announcing will be important to their readers.
2. Make it newsworthy
To gain the approval of these journalists, your press release also has to be “newsworthy.” You need to ask yourself why anyone should care about your announcement. Highlight why your announcement is important or how it connects to a larger context.
Never issue a press release for the sake of it. Sharing irrelevant information won’t land media features, and it might even negatively impact your reputation with certain media contacts.
3. Get to the point
Journalists’ inboxes are full of press releases, and they have very little time throughout the day to sift through them all.
Ideally, a media contact reading your press release should be invested by the time they’ve finished reading your lead paragraph. Remember, this is where you plug those 5 Ws—keep the points of the paragraph clear and concise.
How do you keep readers interested?
A “hook” is the element intended to catch a reader’s attention. In a press release, the hook is the component of the announcement that builds interest. It serves to establish the particular piece of news as relevant or significant to a wider audience.
If a press release can connect what it’s promoting to a wider circle of influence, like a trending issue or a social problem that can be solved, then it’s created a successful hook.
Take a look at this press release from H&M as an example.
“New brand H&M Move, launching worldwide August 4th, is embarking on a bold mission to democratize sportswear and get the whole world and everybody moving, however they move. H&M Move aims to equip the world with stylish and functionable ‘movewear’ that will support Movers of all abilities and skills to move comfortably and confidently.”
The company seeks to capture the energy of the body positivity movement in the launch of its new brand. In the press release, they showcase a more accessible vision of “sport” by reframing it as “movement,” celebrating something that everyone on the planet already does.
What are examples of well-written press releases?
Below, we’ve hand-picked some examples of well-written and well-executed press releases.
Take a look at this press release from a Colombian coffee incubator, Impact.
Launch of New Specialty Coffee Incubator Aims to put the Medellin Coffee Industry on the Map
The Medellin-based collective pools experts from every step of the supply chain to provide a complete farm-to-cup direct trade ecosystem for small scale producers to plug into
Medellín, Colombia. August 23, 2021 — A group of businesses operating within the Colombian specialty coffee industry have announced the launch of Impact, an incubator and collective aimed at helping Medellin become a hub for specialty coffee.
Located in the city, Impact will help nurture the region’s burgeoning specialty coffee industry, by hosting the farm-to-cup supply chain under one roof. This includes a quality control lab and processing facilities, as well exporters and marketing experts working from the premises. Working together in one space, the collective aims to accelerate innovation and production within the local specialty coffee industry.
Impact will source all its coffee from local independent producers, who will work in partnership with the collective. This will give small producers instant access to a direct trade ecosystem. Not only will this help producers improve quality and yields, and earn a fair price above the industry average, it will also help them develop their own unique brands within the marketplace.
“By focusing on product over profits, we can make decisions based on what’s in the best interests of all the producers and organizations that are within the collective,” said Jennifer Poole, Co-Founder of Impact founding member Those Coffee People. “What’s more, as we treat producers as partners rather than suppliers, we focus on helping them improve quality and develop their own unique origin stories – rather than squeezing prices”.
While the Colombian specialty coffee market has grown substantially over the last few years and now represents 13% of all specialty coffee exports, producers still have numerous barriers to overcome, not least accessing international markets. But by working with Impact, specialty producers will be able to leverage the strength and expertise of the collective to overcome these barriers.
The founding members of Impact are: Those Coffee People, Rituales, Proyecto Renacer, La Fábrica, Las Brisas and Moara. Between them, they have already lived up to the collective’s name by having sustained 260 families and invested more than $1.1 million into local Colombian communities in 2020.
Impact is a local collective of businesses within the specialty coffee industry based out of Medellin, Colombia. Founded in 2021, Impact breaks the standard of traditional production and exportation practices knowing that together we are greater than the sum of our parts. Our team consists of experts in environmental innovation, specialized production and sustainability methods, quality control, disruptive roasting techniques, and world class logistics and commercialization strategies – all grouping together to put Medellin specialty coffee on the map.
There’s no beating around the bush as readers are instantly told what the startup has achieved in the headline. This is quickly followed by answers to the 5 Ws in the lead paragraph.
What’s more, this press release clearly defines the topic as well as the location that it’s related to. So, publications that cover Latin America will more likely be interested in picking it up.
Take a look at the opening of this press release for RaySecur. Here, a clear headline is followed by a concise lead that tells the reader exactly why they should care.
The opening paragraph explains what RaySecur does and establishes the company’s authority in the field. The next paragraph establishes the problem and how they’re tackling it.
RaySecur Expands MailSecur Offering to Address the Unique Mail-Screening Requirements of Correctional Facilities
First release solves the urgent need to accurately detect drug-laced papers
CAMBRIDGE, Mass – (DATE) – RaySecur®, the leading provider of desktop T-ray security imaging scanners, has announced an expansion of its T-Suite Image Processing Platform for detecting papers laced with illicit drugs.
Correctional facilities are struggling to stem the flow of drugs into prisons and jails, particularly papers soaked with drugs and other harmful substances. When dried, the drug-laced papers can be undetectable to humans, making the papers an ideal substrate for smuggling. When paper is treated with drugs, it changes the way the paper interacts with the T-rays , which enables the MailSecur® scanner to detect the anomaly – without anyone having to open the mail.
Look at the body of this press release about Demand IQ. In this section, the business outlines its authority and provides information about why their new services matter.
Demand IQ’s solar marketing and sales platform increases revenue and reduces soft costs by automating the customer-acquisition process in the clean-tech industry using conversational AI. The platform includes a white-label-ready virtual solar consultant that instantly calculates solar panel system size and pricing information using satellite data to give solar shoppers an easy and transparent estimate.
“We see this new partnership as the next step in our mission to bring the best possible sales enablement to the solar industry,” said Marc Roudanez, Director of Sales & Partnerships at Demand IQ. “Now solar providers can utilize Demand IQ’s best-in-class AI-based sales and marketing system with the assurance of regulatory compliance through our partnership with ActiveProspect.”
Here we also have an example of a client quote. As we’ve mentioned, these can strengthen your press release and also be used by reporters as direct quotes in their copy.
Demand IQ decided to quote their Director of Sales & Partnerships, who provides valuable information about why their service is relevant and how they stand out.
Looking for more press release examples, check out our other industry press release examples:
Company rebranding press releases
How can Intelligent Relations help?
At Intelligent Relations, we’ve provided value to hundreds of customers with our numerous and revolutionary press release services. From perfecting your hook to covering your 5 Ws, no one knows better than us the importance of getting a press release just right.
Whether you’re confident in writing press releases, or just need a helping hand, Intelligent Relations has developed solutions to get your news the media attention it deserves.