Press Release Writing 101
To help you get started quickly, we are going to give you some press release writing tips. In writing a press release, the general structure and format are pretty standard as you’ll see in many press releases across the web. If you want to learn how to write a good press release then you’re at the wrong place.
But if you.re entirely new and you want some groundwork on how to actually write the most basic and standard of press releases, you.ve arrived at what I personally like to call, “newbie sanctuary.”
To start off with, a press release would always, always have and need these things for publication:
1. Headline: This should be as clear and concise as possible and captivate audiences. Think of it as a headline “that will change the world.” Only then, you’d know it’s newsworthy. This will make or break a news release – include the most important information in the headline, and make it punchy. The headline can be up to four lines if necessary, including a sub-head, if used, but keep it short.
2. Summary Paragraph: Most press releases sites allow readers to view a press release headline and summary, but not the body paragraphs. Hence, take this opportunity to illustrate the main gist of your news, and once again include why your information provided is relevant and newsworthy. Important information should jump off the page, most reporters will only spend 30 seconds looking at a release. Spend 75 percent of your time writing the headline and the first paragraph.
3. Body: This is the main bulk of it all, giving all the details about everything that has happened and dissecting it into a few key paragraphs, each having their own specific sub-idea. Even though we’re talking about detailing facts here, it is ideal to keep word count under 500 because you don’t want to bore readers and people aren’t willing to spend so much time reading if it doesn’t cut to the point quickly. Keep in mind that less is more here. Use the inverted pyramid style of news writing. Make your most important points early in the release and work your way down. Keep sentences and paragraphs short. No more than three sentences per paragraph. Include a colorful quote from a spokesperson in the second or third paragraph.
4.Company Information: This is the standard paragraph that contains a short, factual overview of the business or organization. It’s pretty much a template itself and your brand or company can reuse the same information statement in each press release.
5. Contact Details: Lastly, include the contact information. Include details on how readers can contact the appropriate person for additional information on the press release itself. So apart from the writer.s name, include the telephone number; email address; social media profile(s); and the URL for the organization’s website.
How to Write Better Press Release
1) First Impressions Count Your headline, summary and first paragraph are the first things viewers would notice, so with only a few seconds to capture your readers’ attention, make sure you’re able to clearly convey the main gist of the news. A cursory glance is all it takes to discern whether a piece of news is written professionally. Start strong. Your headline and first paragraph should tell the story. The rest of your press release should provide the detail. You have a matter of seconds to grab your readers’ attention. Do not blow it with a weak opening.
2) Who Are You? Let people know who you are to build the credibility of your release and simultaneously promote your name and brand online. Viewers often empathize more easily if they know that the source of information is human, and not letting viewers know who you are creates an unwanted “distrust” and you may lose the promotional value your press release can provide in the process.
3) Choose the Right Words – Clarity, Concision and Connection If your release contains the typical promotional sales letter hype, slang, excessive exclamation points, jargon or direct address, anyone would be able to tell that it’s more of an advertisement than a factual press release. Generally, the best way to communicate your news is to use plain, simple English that is appropriate for any target audience. Even though some jargon is required to optimize your news release for online search, it greatly limits viewership. A press release is written best when it first takes into account the readers’ interest. It is easy to say too much in a press release. The longer you ramble on the less likely you will be able to hold the attention of the person reading it. Get to the point. Use only enough words to tell your story. The opening paragraph must feature the NEW news. When writing your press release get to what is new and exciting FIRST. Avoid using unnecessary adjectives, flowery language, or redundant expressions. If you can tell your story with fewer words, do it. Wordiness distracts from your story. Make each word count.
Remember, you aren’t writing a poem or a descriptive autobiography of yourself. Keep it clear and concise and get rid of redundant expressions such as “added bonus” or “first time ever.” Most press release sites would only give you the luxury of working with 500 words so you have to make every word count. Also, writing in an active voice brings your press release to life and saves you words. For example, “the car that has been engulfed by a sea of flames” could be drastically toned down to “the ablazed car”. Say more with less and you’ll definitely see better results with your readers and the search engines.
Include a quotable quote, even if you are quoting yourself! Place it inside quotation marks, make it interesting and specify who said it. Some newspapers and magazines will lift the quote directly from your press release and put it in their own article. Quotes can make the press release more interesting.
Your press release should be so clear that the media can use it verbatim. In some cases, for example, such as on a community radio station it may be read word-for-word on-air; or a local newspaper may place it directly in the paper; and so on. Your press release needs, therefore, to include all essential information in a format that is clear and easy to understand. On occasion, media outlets, especially online media, will pick up your press release and run it in their publications with little or no modification. More commonly, journalists will use your press release as a springboard for a larger feature story. In either case, try to develop a story as you would like to have it told. Even if your news is not reprinted verbatim, it may provide an acceptable amount of exposure.
4) Search Engine Optimization Speaking of optimization, some press release distribution sites allows you to upload images, video, links and other features that will capture the attention of your readers and highlight your news. Remember to do on-page SEO such as providing alternate texts for your images and using anchor text and hyperlinks to point readers back to your site to ensure both your website and your important keywords receive simultaneous promotion in your press release.
5) Set Yourself Apart What you may consider newsworthy may not necessarily mean that every viewer would like it. So always ask yourself, “Why should anyone care?” when you write a press release. Good press releases usually have attributes such as timeliness, uniqueness or anything that highlights something truly extraordinary. Avoid clichés and focus on what will set you apart from everyone else. Make sure that your release has a good news hook, relate it to current events, recent studies, trends and social issues if you want your viewers to perceive your press release with relevance, urgency and importance.
6) Modestly Promote Yourself Writers do get carried away accidentally sometimes because when they feel so passionately about a topic, it can sound too much like a sales letter. However, all you need to do is consciously keep in mind that you have to tell the truth, avoid fluff,, hype and exaggerations. If your news sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So tone it down and stick to the facts. A good example would be when your company reached a milestone, celebrated an anniversary, hired a new president, experienced significant growth or received an award . don’t be afraid to tell the world about it. But if you have a new product that will “Absolutely Blow Your Mind!!”, then that should probably be on your sales page, not on a press release.
7) Hook, line and …? Sometimes, some press releases are just that captivating that it leaves you wanting to read more. Your press release could already be like that, so if that’s the case, you definitely need to leverage on it. Always tell readers where they can go to learn more about you or the news that you announce. So once again, anchor texts are very important so make sure to provide links directly to the page on your website where readers can continue their learning process about your news and then act upon it. The whole point of a press release is expose your brand to more people, get them interested and finally perform your desired “call to action” . hook, line and sinker.
8) Use Examples Whether you’re writing a thesis or just a simple report, the best way to provide readers a clearer idea of what you’re talking about is to use examples. For example, you can illustrate how your company or organization solved a problem. Let’s say the problem is air pollution caused by excessive exhaust fumes from cars. The solution that your brand provides would be . catalytic converters that convert harmful gases such as Carbon Monoxide into less harmful gases such as Carbon Dioxide. In the 1970s, this would be a decent enough example to effectively convey the benefits of having catalytic converters for cars. Use examples to show off all the good stuff that your brand has to offer.
9) Proofread This is probably the most important part of writing a press release because you know you’re bound to make mistakes during the process . it’s only natural. What is recommended by most people would be to edit your document on Word or Google Docs instead of directly writing it on the press release submission page, because those were meant for editing and refining your work. For other professional writers, they would write, print it out, proofread and edit again. This cycle continues until you’re finally satisfied and certain that your press release is completely devoid of errors, or at least unnoticeable. The more time you take to do it right, the more attractive your press release would be.
Formatting Your PR for Maximum Pickups
Writing a press release is easy enough when you have a template to follow and specific guidelines and instructions that will ensure the flow of your news. But we can never forget the smallest and simplest details that will make or break the distribution of your press release.
In this tutorial article, you’ll be getting several tips to improve on your press release format and making it more search engine friendly to ensure that everyone can’t resist to get a piece of your news.
Using UPPERCASE or lowercase letters
Your headline should be written with the first letter of each word capitalized. Exceptions to this include words less than three characters and prepositions.
What you shouldn’t be doing is to write a press release entirely in uppercase. There’s no necessity and this increases its chances of being ignored by journalists and many readers. If your intention is to create emphasis on certain words or phrases, simply use bold or italics. You don’t want your press release to be classified as advertising or spam because of all caps.
The reason you see this all over again is because it is that important. As you should know, some media sites will only display your headline and summary, so if your press release is missing its summary paragraph, people aren’t going to know what your press release is about and as such, just won’t click and read your press release.
Sometimes this includes City, State followed by the date but the former is not always necessary. The purpose of the date is to reflect when your release was distributed.
You know you’re going to have separate paragraphs to discuss separate ideas, so space each paragraph out with a line as necessary. There’s no need for dashes and asterisks to segregate your press release into sections.
Grammar is just a standard set of rules that has to be taken into account. No one wants to read a press release that does not sound legitimate or credible. Most press distribution sites would reject your press release if it’s filled with grammatical errors.
PressCable only supports the English language so don’t use any other languages when submitting your press release. Alternatively for the more advanced coders, HTML embedding is supported.
Even though anchor links are useful, try not to include more than one link per 200 words of your release. You don’t want to get labeled as spam.
These are good but they shouldn’t stretch across the press release like it was meant for grocery shopping. Search Engines tend to reject such press releases so keep the bullet points short and few.
Graphs and charts
All these should be converted to image files such as jpg, png or gif in order for them to display properly. We also only allow 1 image per press release.
The standard word count should be between 200 and 500 words. Remember that you’d always want to express as much as you can using as few words as possible.
How to Maximize Backlinking SEO for Press Releases
Maybe your press release is incredibly well-written and should be garnering in more publicity than it is getting, so what’s the problem? There’s a good chance that your press release lacks one thing and that’s SEO — the propensity of being ranked and found on Google’s search engine.
As such, besides educating and informing your loyal viewers, you need to make sure your press release can be easily read by people who don’t know about you. Your content is good so you’ve got to get it optimized for search engines.
How do we do that? Here are 5 quick tips for you to quickly implement and gain the wider audience you deserve:
Choose Your Keyword(s)
Two main things to keep in mind here:
- • You need a keyword(s) that people search for regularly
- • Not many people are targeting that keyword
So for the first part, all you need to do is use the free tool, where you can key in what you think people search for and see if many people are actually searching for it. A high search volume is around 25,000 and above.
The second part is when you type your keyword into Google using in title:”keyword” to see how many results are found. These results indicate how competitive that keyword is, so if there are many websites that have the .keyword” in their site, it’s probably best to find something else or you’ll have a hard time ranking it for your press release.
Use Keywords In Headline, First Paragraph & Content
After you’ve got your keyword, include them in your press release to get it ranked. Spread it out and put it everywhere appropriately in your press release. You can also include it in boilerplate phrases that help you describe the company and its core offers. Sometimes, mix it up a bit by using synonymic phrases as this helps Google with its Latent Semantic Indexing.
Anchor Text Backlinks
The primary purpose of having keywords is to use them as anchor text backlinks. This helps drive readers from the press release to your website thereby creating additional traffic.
Be cautious with this as you don’t want to have too many backlinks and get labeled as spam. For a press release with 500 words, 2-3 backlinks will suffice.
If the press release site allows it, incorporate images, video, file attachments and audio into your content to keep viewers engaged and wanting more. PressCable allows you to upload 1 image, but you can embed videos into the press release also. In doing so, you should optimize on your multimedia such as an image’s caption, ALT text and its description.
Maximize Press Release Distribution
Use press release distribution services to ascertain that your press release is widespread across as many media outlets as possible. Not only do you have more people reading your press release, but it also allows many others to visit your site because of all the backlinks that you’ve seeded onto your press release. These anchor text links pointing to similarly-optimized pages on your website are also important in raising the visibility of pages on your website within search engines.
At the end of the day, SEO friendly press releases should have these multiple elements to help you improve the reach of your press release, while simultaneously positioning your site to rank at the top of SERPs.
Take a little more time to optimize your press release and you’ll definitely see not only the increase in traffic to your site, but a new found publicity and brand presence like never before.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (DATE)
Organization (Agency or Company)
HEADLINE (ONE LINE ONLY)
Subhead: More Detail As Needed, One Line Only
City, State: Your announcement starts here, and should lead with a strong first paragraph that clarifies what you are announcing, where, and its relevance to your industry. Don’t bury the lede: doing so makes it harder on reporters to find the information they need most, so get right to it in the first paragraph.
The second paragraph is the best spot for quotes, but choose your quotes carefully. No reporter likes reading from a sea of people saying the same boring thing. Leverage quotes to build the importance of your story but also to shape your core messages. Whenever and wherever possible, include quotes from customers or partners who will benefit from the news, and avoid extreme exaggeration: having your CEO say that your product is the next best thing to a rocket ship is typically a very bad idea unless you are Elon Musk.
In the third paragraph it’s often tempting to add fluff that doesn’t need to be there. It’s also often extremely tempting to bleed over to a second page by bolstering the third paragraph with company history, lore, and supporting expert opinions. Keep in mind that the goal of the release is to provide clear, concise context on the story–you can always including more detail or links to additional testimonials in your pitch emails or on your blog. Some additional words of wisdom:
- Nobody likes long blocks of content, so use bullets to your advantage to break up the text
- Use language people can actually understand. If you had to use thesaurus.com to find it, delete it
- During your final edit, be honest with yourself on whether or not you are truly focused on what is newsworthy about this announcement. If not, revise accordingly.
About Your Company: This is a placeholder for a short, 3-4 sentence description of your company along with a link to your homepage. Double check to ensure the first sentence accurately and clearly describes your business in a manner that could easily be lifted and translated by a reporter.