When your business experiences big and exciting changes, you want to tell the world. Maybe you’re expanding to a new area, your company won an award, or you added an exciting,well-known hire to your team.
Whatever newsworthy event you’re celebrating, you want to share it—and the best way to do that is through a press release.
Press releases are official statements released by your business that news outlets are allowed to publish on your behalf. They’re formulaic, simple, and a little dry. Plus, they can be intimidating if you’ve never written one before.
We’ve got you covered. In today’s blog post, we’ll walk you through how to write a press release and give you some handy resources to help you out. With a little practice, you’ll be able to write a press release for all your newsworthy events, so your audience can celebrate with you.
1. Lead with a straightforward headline.
The most important part of your press release is the headline. Your headline is the first thing your readers will see, and it will determine whether or not they keep reading. A solid headline will grab people’s attention and communicate the gist of your story in just a few words.
Tell your readers exactly what they can expect from your press release. Is your company moving? Expanding? Merging? Are you doing philanthropic work in the community? Did one of your employees do something exceptionally noteworthy?
Put it in your headline.
Make sure it also includes why your readers should care. Words and phrases like “giving back,” “local,” “creating jobs,” and “small business” will resonate with readers. Think about how your news impacts them.
A good headline is important for getting your story accepted by a news outlet, too. Before your press release reaches your target audience, it has to capture the attention of a reporter. Your headline needs to be engaging to both news outlets and prospective readers.
2. Write a strong, simple opening line.
Ever heard the phrase “don’t bury the lede”? It’s an idiom from journalism. A “lede” is the introductory section of a news article—the hook that entices the reader to keep reading. The first one or two sentences of your press release should be the most important and interesting part of the article.
If you hide the interesting information further down the article, you “bury the lede” and risk losing your reader’s attention.
The first line of your press release should be similar, but not identical, to the headline. Use the opening paragraph to summarize the story. Do your best to condense the information into one or two sentences.
Consider these examples:
- “Generic Business Name Inc. is expanding its services to the states of Washington and Oregon beginning in 2023.”
- “Local Business partners with National Nonprofit to provide relief following a natural disaster.”
- “Company #1 merges with Company #2, forming New Company Name.”
You might be tempted to dive straight into the technical details of your company’s news, but that information can wait until later in the press release. Your opening sentences should be simple, direct, and easy for anyone to understand.
3. Write the body copy.
In the body of your press release, explain your company’s news in detail. Give your readers some background information that helps them understand why your news is significant.
Devote at least one paragraph describing what your business does and how it impacts the community. Give readers some context: is your business a longstanding pillar in your industry, or are you a new player on the scene?
If your press release is about a specific employee, share some biographical details, including community involvement and work history. If your company won an award, write about the significance of the award and what it means in your industry.
Don’t worry about writing a conclusion that summarizes your story. Press releases should be short, usually no more than a page, and they end without a conclusion paragraph.
4. Integrate some quotes.
Get a quote or two from the people involved in your news. Quotes help humanize your press release, giving it a personal touch.
If your news isn’t about any specific person, get a quote from your founder or spokesperson. (Depending on the size of your business, you may be “interviewing” yourself!) The quote should explain why this news is important, not only to your business but to the people of the community.
Be professional and honest. A great quote will capture the emotions of the people involved in a way the rest of your body copy can’t.
In general, people care about people, not brands. Quotes keep your press release focused on the people involved while connecting with your readers.
5. Include contact information and a boilerplate.
News outlets need to know who you are and what your business does before they can publish your press release.
The top left corner of your press release should include contact information for your spokesperson, including full name, work phone, and work email address. This helps you seem more human, and it’s a professional courtesy in case the news outlet needs to reach out to you.
At the bottom of your press release, include a boilerplate statement that summarizes your company history, explains what you do, and links to your website. This short paragraph gives news outlets context about who you are, and they may choose to include it when publishing your press release.
Bonus: Extra Tips to Keep in Mind
Before you hit “send” or “publish,” take note of these other key pieces to your press release:
- Include the phrase “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” at the top of the page.
- The first line of your press release should begin with the city and state of your business, like this: “New Orleans, LA, Sep. 26, 2022 – Local marketing agency Sigl Creative’s latest blog, ‘How to Write a Press Release in 5 Simple Steps,’ goes live today.”
- Use your business’s full name the first time you mention it, rather than an acronym or abbreviation.
- Refer to people by their full name on their first mention and by their last name on subsequent mentions.
- You may want to include three pound signs (###) at the bottom of your press release to indicate that the piece is over. This is a common, but not necessary, tradition in journalism.
- When in doubt, look at press releases from other businesses for reference. Use their press releases as a guide, swapping out their information for yours.
Still not sure where to start with your press release? Click here for a free template by HubSpot! They have templates for several major announcements, including a new executive hire, a company merger, and news about a company milestone.
As for submitting and publishing your press release? That’s a whole other blog post. Stay tuned!
Press releases are just one way to keep your business top-of-mind for existing and potential customers. Schedule a call if you need help reaching new audiences and sharing your business’s newsworthy events with the world. We’ll help you build a robust digital marketing strategy that shares your business’s story with your target audience, attracting new customers and keeping you at the forefront of your existing customers’ minds.