To get noticed by potential customers you’ll need to build publicity and a press release lets you send out a message to journalists and editors to inform them of a new product, launch, or event in your business.
To build up publicity you could start to communicate either directly with customers via social media, emails and advertising or indirectly through magazine articles, website reviews, and newspaper quotes. A press release is a recognised way of sending out company news to magazines, newspapers and website editors.
You might already by creating a buzz directly to your customers on social media platforms, through email marketing, and other marketing efforts. A press release is a proven and effective way of making sure your message, whatever it is, gets distributed to journalists; imagine how a quote or mention of your business in a national newspaper or magazine could help transform your business.
This article will introduce you to a press release, why you need it, and the most suitable format with examples.
A press release is a brief document that shares important information with the press and media outlets. And it’s usually pitched to journalists and editors, who may use the content to write a news article.
However, the result depends on whether your stories are newsworthy. So with press releases promoting your business through this medium, it is not enough to say, “This is my business!” Instead, you should pay attention to how to make it something people are interested in. So, for a content piece to be newsworthy, it needs to have an impact, be urgent, and be recognized. And by impact, we mean the emotional element. Is it timely and able to affect many people? Is it something that the target audience knows
Additionally, there is no limit to the number of press releases you can create as a brand, and you can always make any release at any time you want media attention. Also, a press release could be for any significant events, including a product or service launch, breaking news, changes in executive-level leadership, or partnerships/mergers.
As an important part of your marketing and publicity plans, a press release aims to attract media attention by publishing multiple articles about a brand and its products or services. However, only a few press releases can accomplish this goal. That’s because nobody reads them, and the few who manage to skim through them consider the brand clueless. Hence, since press releases are sales tools, they are expected to be newsworthy.
Furthermore, press releases help your business garner attention and increase awareness because journalists and media outlets that publish them have a broad reach. And, of course, journalists need stories to publish too. Therefore, you’re building a mutually beneficial relationship by giving them a newsworthy story. Such journalists get stories to publish, and when they do so, your chances of getting backlinks from the publishing site.
Also, a compelling press release is an excellent way to build your brand image and shape how the public perceives your brand. Overall, it is a cost-effective marketing tool and suits businesses on a shoestring budget regarding marketing strategies and tactics.
A standard press release follows a particular format. Usually, it has six essential parts. The parts include the company contact details, publication date, heading/subheading, news location/news peg, body, boilerplate (or company description), and the three-pound signs (###) at the end. So we advise following this format, as it makes it easy for journalists and editors to quickly extract the information they need. All of these features are explained in the next portion of our article.
Company contact details are the first thing to include in your press release. Usually written at the top left part of the page, the information expected includes your name, title, organization’s details (name and website), email address, and phone number.
Usually located in the upper left-hand corner, the publication date is simply when you want the press release content to be published. Publication date may either read “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” or “HOLD FOR RELEASE UNTIL….” The first relates to the content’s immediate release, while the second option doesn’t want the story to go public immediately but at a specified date. In the case of the second option, be sure to include the preferred date you want the content to be released.
Now that you have an announcement in mind, it’s time to put it down in words. The probability of your press release being accepted or rejected for publication starts with your Headline. You must choose your words carefully so your Headline is captivating and exciting. In addition, your Headline should clearly and briefly explain what the content of the press release is all about. Is it a product launch? Or an announcement of a groundbreaking event? Ensure it is clear while still being informative. In the case of a product launch, you could use something like this: Apple Unveils New iPhone 14.
Moreover, to create a killer headline, you can reference interesting data, ask a question, speak directly to the reader, or answer a question. Right under the heading, italicized subheadings should follow, and the subheading should support the Headline and prepare the ground for the content to follow.
Location is simply the headquarters of your news, that is, the base of the news. Consider it the dateline. The example below is what a news location looks like:
London, November 23, 2021 –
The body is the meat of the press release content and answers the 5W and 1H questions. These are the press release’s questions; the 5W is the “who, what, when, why, where,” while the 1H is the ”how.” You must deliver all the critical information without wasting any time. The attention span of readers these days is limited and might be, at most, a few seconds.
Your first paragraph should briefly state the content’s message with additional background information, such as data. For instance, when you use any data, you must hyperlink the source. The following two to three paragraphs, depending on the length of your message, should contain one or two quotes from a top-level executive of the company explaining the “why” of the announcement. For whatever quote you want to use, be sure it comes off as authentic.
A boilerplate is simply your company description. Consider it the “About Us” section feature that is usually found on websites. Of course, this feature should come in the last paragraph, and we recommend that you keep the length around 100-2—words. It should also include the company name, mission statement, founding date, company size, and other relevant details.
Traditionally, the three-pound signs indicate the end of press release content. Using them, you’re simply telling the journalists that there is no other page. Nowadays, the use of the symbol is gradually fading, and only writers sparingly use them. Nevertheless, it is an option available to you.
When writing a press release, you need to consider certain things. Journalists can recognize a well-written press release just by skimming through it, and here are the primary things they look for.
Every press release is expected to have a newsworthy angle. In simpler terms, a newsworthy angle is a perspective your story will take. Thus, some newsworthy angles include stories that impact the local community, provide another angle to a conflict, and highlight progress made, among other areas of interest. In addition, you can also ‘newsjack.’
Newsjacking is a way of relating your press release content to current events. It adds value to your content. For instance, consider releasing a press release that targets couples on Valentine’s Day.
If you’re planning to send out your press release to a distribution service, it is expected to be available on the web. Thus, using appropriate keywords in your Headline and body will increase the visibility odds of your press release. Therefore, the more people that view and read it, the higher your chances of getting backlinks.
Press releases are usually clear and concise; remember that journalists have a lot of content to read. So they will only be willing to spend a little bit of time reading multiple pages. Besides, you should also consider that you’re just one of many sending them press releases. Therefore, always keep your press release clear and brief unless you send a press release that seeks to explain complicated information such as a technological breakthrough, medical study, etc.
Usually, sales personnel try as much as possible to convince a prospective buyer to buy a product by providing the product’s features as benefits. In the same way, a press release must also convey value to future readers, and this ‘value’ gives them a reason to read it. One way of doing this is by starting with the most essential information, then ending with the least important. It is the “reverse pyramid” formula.
You may have come across news content where some quotes have been drawn out of the content to attract readers. The use of quotes also finds some applicability in a press release, and they add credibility to your content. However, you need to be sure that the quotes impact your industry or customer base.
You may use quotes from key stakeholders in your company, and they may include key figures or authorities to support your narrative. If you intend to use quotes, one or two are enough. An instance of such a quote could be:
“Our new partnership will help us provide improved digital services to our expanding customer base,” said Jack Murray, CEO of ABC Technologies.
Another effective way to engage readers closely is by adding relevant bullet points that summarize the content. Bullet points attract readers, and readers can quickly read all the vital information a press release passes before deciding whether to read the full content. Hence, you must include all essential data and facts in this section.
Avoid Redundant Information
Each element of your press release allows you to communicate from different angles. In a situation where your Headline, subhead, and first sentence, for instance, are the same, your release may get boring. Each paragraph should contain unique information, and the message you’re trying to pass across should harmonize. Avoid fluffy information.
The fact that press releases are brief documents (in most cases) doesn’t rule out the need for you to keep them error-free. They are official documents, and you want to make releases that are free of mistakes. Ensure you thoroughly edit and revise your press release before sending it out for publication. Check for common errors such as misspellings, incorrect punctuation, wrong or missing information, improper grammar use, and incoherence.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
[Your name, title, company details (name and website),
email address, and phone number]
[Headline that captures the attention of the readers]
[Subtitle that succinctly summarizes the story]
[City, Month, Day, Year]
First paragraph – [who, what, where, when, and why of the story]
Following two to three paragraphs – [State the ‘how’ and share past milestones, stats, events, and additional background details. Use bullet points where necessary. Also, incorporate some quotes from experts or top-level executives in your company]
Last paragraph – [State more information about your company and how they can reach you.]
Creating a compelling press release is a good way to communicate your business news to journalists and editors of magazines, newspapers and websites. Of course, your press release must have a newsworthy angle to succeed and get the attention of an editor and by using some of the tips provided in this article, you’ll be able to tell a story that is interesting to your target audience.
Write a short but compelling headline, clearly state essential information and provide supporting details, end with a strong boilerplate, and double-check your press release for possible errors – and you’re good to go. Now you can look at ways to distribute your press release to journalists!