When writing a press release, one of the biggest mistakes PR managers often make is focusing too much on promotional language for their brand and failing to “deliver newsworthy content”.
How many times have you heard “ just deliver newsworthy content”?
But nobody tells you how to combine a newsworthy story with your brand.
One game-changer is not to overlook the importance of presenting the most vital information upfront and crafting an attention-grabbing title.
Journalists respond to just 3% of pitches, according to Eary Stage Marketing’s latest survey, so if you don’t have a well-crafted title and a good story, you won’t make it.
In this article, we will present 7 easy steps you can follow and write a press release that effectively communicates your message and leaves a lasting impression. We will also present the best way to pitch your press release to make sure you get in that 3% every time you have a good story.
How To Write a Press Release: 7 Steps
Here’s your step-by-step guide on how to craft a well-written press release:
1. Find Ways To Be Newsworthy
As you’ll be pitching to journalists, create a news release with that in mind.
Here’s how to give journalists what they want:
Exclusive Data or Research
Journalists love anything exclusive. They also happen to love data. Giving them exclusive data in a media release is a good way of offering both.
While you may not be able to provide journalists with your own breaking news event every time, you can use a content marketing process called newsjacking.
Simply put, newsjacking is the process of injecting your brand into a current news story to make it more relevant and eye-catching. For example, if something is viral on social media platforms like Twitter, tying your news release to it is a smart way to get traction.
Aligning your pitches to developing trends in your industry is a good way to make them more attractive. One easy way to spot these trends is to see what top journalists in your industry are writing about. You can track stories on LinkedIn or look at trending hashtags.
Or you don’t have to spend hours researching trending topics.
You can use a tool such as JustReachOut to quickly find a list of target journalists and their recent articles based on your keyword search.
You can easily find the trending topics and the journalists who wrote about them, contact them directly and send a personalized pitch on the same platform.
Stories with an emotional connection resonate better with a target audience and lead to more social traction.
If you can get people emotionally invested in your brand, chances are your audience might be willing to give it a shot.
2. Write Your Press Release Headline
Your press release headline is the first thing anyone’s going to see, so you have to make sure it’s perfect.
The goal of your press release headline should be to get in, impress the journalist, and get out.
The three core tenets of writing a press release headline are:
- Use action verbs
- Be direct
- Be comprehensive
If you’re still struggling with your headline, you could always try a headline analyzer to give you an idea of where you stand.
3. Craft Your Lead
Your lead is the first paragraph in your press release.
Usually consisting of 35 to 45 words, it summarizes the most critical parts of your press release.
This first paragraph has to answer the “5 Ws” as concisely as possible.
- Who: Who’s involved in the news story? Which person or company is involved?
- What: What’s happening? What’s it about?
- When: When did this story or event happen? When is it going to happen?
- Where: Where did this story or event take place?
- Why: Why is this information relevant to a reader of these media outlets?
4. Write Your Body Paragraphs
The goal of the body is to describe all the relevant details of the story and your brand’s involvement in it. The key word here is relevant.
Every great press release uses the inverted pyramid formula to do this:
You include the most pertinent details right at the top and then get into the less vital aspects as you go on.
5. Include Supporting Quotes
Including quotes is a good way to boost the credibility and personality of your press release to a reader. However, always ensure that your quote is relevant in the context of the article.
6. Write Your Boilerplate Text
Your boilerplate is a standardized copy of what your organization is and stands for. When you write a boilerplate, you are essentially condensing facts, business aspirations and marketing goals – all into one short paragraph.
You can even include your company logo here if you want to.
For a more in-depth look at how to write the perfect boilerplate, click here.
7. Add Media Contact Details
You need to include your media contact information for reporters to get in touch with you. Include your email id and phone number to give them a point of contact when they want to reach out to you.
7. Bonus: Use a PR distribution service
There are hundreds of PR distribution services out there, with prices ranging all over the board. This is the one we recommend that is both high quality and reasonably priced. (We do get a small commission if you use them.)
5 Types of Press Releases (And Why They Work)
Here are 5 types of press release examples and why they have nailed it.
1. Product Launch Press Release
Take a look at this product launch PR Release from Apple. It has all the elements of a good press release in the perfect order.
Let’s analyze them one-by-one.
It’s clear, concise and simple. It’s also attention grabbing – something that’s bound to attract reporters and customers.
Before the intro para or lead, it mentions where the news is taking place. In this example, the location is New York.
The lead gets right to the point. The journalist knows that this is a new product release. They’re also made aware of the various features that make this laptop so impressive to customers.
The body copy follows the inverted pyramid format to a tee.
It starts off by including a quote from a senior ranking official describing why this new release is a huge achievement for Apple. This establishes a human element that helps them reach their audience better.
There’s a reason why the Apple boilerplate is a frequently used example for what a boilerplate should look like in marketing circles. It’s clear, avoids jargon, lists out all their offerings, includes data and notes down what they strive to do.
The Media Contact
Not only does it mention the contact details of the PR agents, but also of the company’s media helpline.
2. New Research Findings Press Release
There are a lot of things this press release example does well like the title, lead and quotes.
Note how the media release also follows the inverted pyramid formula well. At the start of the article, it distills the purpose of the robot into very easily understandable terms.
It’s only towards the end of the article, after you’ve got a good idea of what the robot is, does it go into the technical facts and details.
3. Emergency Announcement Press Release
The first thing that strikes you about this press release example is how it’s about something urgent – it focuses on something that’s currently going on. It also focuses on something with an obvious social and emotional impact for a reader.
The body follows the inverted pyramid formula and includes a relevant quote as well.
However, unlike other types of press releases, this official statement includes the contact information within the body itself.
Usually, this break in structure wouldn’t fit very well, but with the topic at hand, this is important information that deserves to be presented higher up in the press release.
4. New Hire Press Release
One important thing to keep in mind when crafting a new hire press release is that you mention the name of the individual and the designation they hold in the title itself.
This is especially important as the core of this official statement is condensed into those two points:
- Who is being hired?
- What’s their role going to be?
Using the lead to note down the qualifications and past achievements of the individual is also a good idea. It gives reporters and editors better understanding of the individual’s background and why this hire is noteworthy.
5. Award Announcement Press Release
When it comes to awards there are three key aspects:
- Who won?
- What was the award?
- Who gave the award?
Any press release that’s about awards should keep these three aspects front and center. Ideally, all three of those components should be answered by the time the lead is up, as is done in this event press release.
Note: These five press release types aren’t the only ones out there.
Sometimes you’ll need a social media press release to appeal to social media influencers and bloggers. Sometimes you’ll need a music press release template for certain events.
The list goes on!
Just use these examples we listed here as a guide to what usually works.
How to Distribute Your Press Release (and How Not to)
Reaching the right journalist is the biggest challenge with press releases for 42% of businesses.
The main reason for this is that in-house PR managers use an old-fashioned way – through a syndication service. They use press release distribution services like EIN Newswire, which distributes a press release to thousands of news agencies, TV stations and major networks instantly.
PR managers spend $100-$400 per release and often don’t get a response because it gets lost within the thousands of other press releases that get sent out by that service.
Personal distribution of press releases offers the advantage of targeting specific recipients, allowing for customization and personalization of the message.
It helps build relationships with journalists, increases visibility by standing out from generic syndication services, and facilitates direct feedback and follow-up for better media coverage.
Keep in mind that personalizing your pitches and using LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram DM to pitch your business to journalists is a unique and overlooked way to get your note seen and opened by journalists and bloggers.
Even though the personalized method is more effective, it is more time-consuming and requires PR managers to have a list of established contacts for press coverage.
However, you can use software like JustReachOut, to find the relevant journalists and send out targeted email pitches in small, curated batches with careful follow-ups. Here is how to do it in 6 steps:
1. Choose a topic – Type the topic you want to pitch to find the news articles or journalists writing about this topic.
2. Take a look at the list. You will get a list of relevant journalists with all the contact information you need and the articles they worked on.
3. Save the relevant journalists. You can add them to your campaign to send the pitch later on. Once you click on “Campaign,” you will have a list of journalists you found and added.
4. Choose your first journalist. Click on one of the journalists and click on “ send an email pitch”
5. Craft a personalized pitch. You can craft a quick but precise AI email thanks to the latest technology we use. Our trained AI model will read the article your journalist wrote and craft an email with the information from the article.
6. Tweak, send, and follow up. All that is left is to tweak the email and click send. You can even schedule a follow-up email until you get a response.
With our software, you don’t need to doubt if the journalist got your pitch. You can track email pitch activity thatnotifies you of opens, clicks, scrolls and responses from journalists.
Best Practices to Follow When Writing & Distributing Press Releases
Here are some key things to keep in mind when writing press releases for maximum media coverage.
1. Define Your Goals
When writing press releases, ask yourself – “What am I trying to achieve out of this?”
Is it boosting your social media following? Building brand awareness for a crowdfunding campaign? Tapping into physical media like newspapers?
It’s important to identify this at the start because, in order to reach each of these goals, you’ll have to adopt different strategies.
Remember a crowdfunding press release for a new innovation will look a lot different than a nonprofit press release looking for donations!
2. Put Yourself In Their Shoes
Remember, you’re writing a press release for journalists. So when you’re writing a press release, you’ll have to adopt a journalistic style of writing.
How do you do that?
By thinking like one.
Journalists go through hundreds of pitches every day. The last thing they want to do is sift through tons of sentences to find out if it’s relevant.
If relevant information is easily accessible in the title and lead, they’re more likely to give it a chance.
Also, remember that they’re not public relations professionals or influencers on social channels. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your press release writing factual – not exaggerated.
3. Target the Right Beat
I cannot stress how important this is.
You could have the greatest media release ever, but if your sales pitch goes to the wrong journalist or publication, you’re going to go nowhere.
There are two things to keep in mind when you’re about to pitch your press release:
- Whether the journalist or publication you’re pitching to covers the area that your product or service is involved in
- Whether the people who read their work align with your target audience
Think about it.
Can you imagine a book press release being sent to a publication who exclusively deals with music?
Their reader base isn’t going to align with your target audience!
You can find out more about how to pitch to the right journalists and publications here.
4, Know the Right Time
You would ideally want to send a press release at a time when it can get the most exposure. Ideally, your press release should arrive at a time when reporters and editors are willing to go through it.
Here’s a handy infographic about when you should send a press release for maximum media coverage:
Knowing the right time to send your pitch and press release is important, but busy journalists don’t usually respond immediately.
To make sure your journalist saw your pitch, schedule send at an appropriate time (from the cheat sheet) and schedule multiple follow-up emails until they respond.
You can do this easily with JustReachOut because you can schedule all your pitches, follow-up emails and track opens, clicks, scrolls and responses in one platform.
Examples of Actual Press Releases
Here are a few examples of good press releases:
1. Product Releases
4. New Hires
5. Technical Releases
Free Press Release Format and Template
The next step in learning how to write a press release is understanding the press release format.
If your press release conforms to a format that a journalist is familiar with, your odds of getting published are higher.
IMPORTANT: Before you write a press release you MUST do something newsworthy, in other words have news which journalists actually want to cover!
Your hook for the story/finding you’re pitching must be based on a trending topic journalists are covering right now.
Doing your own PR outreach to promote your brand? JustReachOut can help you find and pitch your press release to relevant journalists in minutes! Try our AI powered PR outreach software for free.