Keys to writing an Effective Press Release

The purpose of a press release is to clearly communicate your company news to an audience, whether that’s your consumers or, more likely, the media. The ultimate goal is to garner coverage of that release on major publications within your industry. An effective press release can achieve all of these goals and more. Keep these five key tips in mind when writing your release.

  1. Make it relevant and newsworthy.
    First and foremost, your press release should be relevant and newsworthy. Otherwise, nobody is going to care about what you have to say. Journalists receive numerous press releases every week, so it’s important that your press release stands out as something they would want to write or talk about. Think about how you can tie your release into relevant local or national news events, or why your announcement makes a difference in your industry. If you can highlight those factors in your press release, you’ll be more inclined to get a call back from journalists wanting to find out more.
  2. Keep it short and simple.
    When writing your press release, you want to make the information easy to digest for the journalist looking for their next story. You should stick to your basics: who, what, when, where, how, why. Most experts recommend one page for a press release, with two pages being the absolute maximum you should consider. Remember, journalists are getting pulled in multiple directions for story opportunities, so you want to keep your release interesting but short. They most likely won’t give your press release lots of time to understand every single detail of the announcement. Your goal is to give them the core of your announcement and a reason for them to reach out for more information or click on the link to take them to your site.
  3. Make it easy to find the information.
    Related to keeping it short and simple is making sure it’s easy to find all the pertinent and interesting information in your press release. You don’t want journalists having to dig through all your words to find the essence of what you’re trying to tell them. Keep it simple, and in doing so, make sure you’re getting your point across quickly to the reader. Also, make sure you put your contact information in a place that’s easy to spot, most often at the top right hand corner of the release. With all the great information you’re putting in your press release, you want to give journalists the opportunity to contact you if they’re interested in writing a story.
  4. Keep your audience in mind.
    As is true with any type of content, you should keep your audience in mind. What types of journalists are you trying to reach and what types of stories do they work on? Look up journalists who have written about your competitors, or those who have written about your industry in your dream publications. This will give you a guideline of the tone, information, and data they’re looking for in their stories. If these journalists include quotes from experts, make sure your press release has a quote about your announcement from a reputable source or from a top executive at your company. If your dream publications all include a lot of data in the stories they publish, look for opportunities to speak in numbers and include stimulating data points in your release.
  5. Grab attention with an intriguing headline.
    PR experts recommend spending up to 60% of your time writing a press release on coming up with the best headline possible. Yes, it’s that important. This is the first thing readers will see, and could make or break the decision on whether they decide to read the full story or pass on it. Your headline should be to the point but intriguing enough to get people to read on. The headline will also be the first thing that pops up on any social media or blog sites that decide to link to your press release, so it’s imperative that you capture a reader’s attention within that one sentence.

Press releases are an art form that can be perfected over time. The key is to balance out all the information you want to relay to the readers while keeping it to the point and simple enough for readers to digest quickly, and wanting to know more.