Whether you’re an experienced communications pro or a scrappy entrepreneur, you need to know how to write a press release.
Picture this: it’s time to launch your new product, announce a new hire, company expansion, or visionary rebranding. You want to share the news far and wide, ensuring that all relevant press hears what you’re up to and has all of the critical information needed to quickly and painlessly cover your announcement. After all, the less a journalist needs to come back to ask for, the easier it is for them to do a short write-up. But knowing the news you want to share and knowing the best way to actually put it all together and share it are two different things.
You don’t need to be the world’s greatest writer to put together a solid press release, but there are some things that you should keep in mind when you sit down in front of your computer. A well-written press release has several vital elements:
An eye-catching headline
Just as a headline is important for journalists to try to catch readers’ attention, it’s also important for trying to build interest from journalists when your press release lands in their inbox.
Journalists are busy people, constantly balancing pitching, research, reporting, writing, editing, and more. Because earned media can be such a game-changer, their inboxes are often overflowing with PR pitches, press releases, tips, and the like. Format your subject line and press release headline to cut through the noise. It’s a delicate line to walk: you want to ensure that you don’t opt for something too clever that they may overlook or simply delete, but you also want to make sure that you’re telling them why they should be interested in opening your email to read more.
If your press release is embargoed, put this in the subject or headline, so that journalists know what to expect. An embargo keeps your news under wraps until the date and time that you’re ready for it to go public.
Something like “EMBARGOED: Internet Darling [COMPANY NAME] Plans Nationwide Expansion in 2023” may do the trick.
The most important details of the news
You know what’s needed here from back in your elementary school writing classes: this is where you put the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.
The story ultimately can’t be written without these details, so making sure you hit on all of them and including them up near the top of the release is extremely important.
The body of the release, including a quote
Now’s your chance to expand on the news. When composing this section, think beyond the 5 W’s and an H and consider what you think you’d need to know to share this news. Did you just go through a major rebrand, leading to a shakeup in your company structure? Did you recently launch a big social media campaign, culminating in this exciting new product launch? These kinds of details should come after the main Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How, but still near the top.
Then, expand on any supporting details around your news. Share the context and do your best to include a quote that can be attributed to the company founder, an executive, or an expert associated with the company who would be relevant to comment on the news. If the person you’re quoting can be made available for an interview, make sure to note that as well so that journalists are aware.
A boilerplate telling journalists about the company
Round out your release by including a short boilerplate paragraph that gives general company information at the very bottom. Separate it slightly from the body of the release with extra spacing or some other visual cue that tells the reader that they’ve transitioned from the main portion of the release to company background.
Contact information in case there’s more needed
Sometimes, despite your best efforts to include all the needed information in your press release, a journalist needs a bit more. It may be that they’d like to schedule an interview for a more in-depth article or that they have questions about something you included in the release. Typically, this contact would be the general press contact, the person that you would usually direct the media to contact if they had any questions or needed additional information. Include an email address and phone number if you’re open to receiving calls.
You may also want to include additional elements in your release. If you’re announcing a new product or brand-new space, adding photos can be helpful to capture journalists’ attention and can save them a bit of time, as they’ll undoubtedly need one for their piece. If you do add a photo, consider including a link to a Dropbox or Google Drive folder with several from which to choose, rather than embedding several into an email.
If the idea of writing a press release from scratch still feels daunting, use Press Hook’s Free Press Release Generator to craft a first draft. Fill in a few fields, including your brand name, general brand information, subject, the details of the news you want to share, and a press contact, and the generator will create a release that you can then edit as needed and distribute.