Trying to learn how to write a press release that grabs attention and gets you noticed? Keep reading
The hidden power of the press release
Press releases are one of the most valuable, yet misunderstood sales tools businesses have at their disposal.
Most modern day marketers focus their energy on creating shareable web content that grabs the attention of their audience. It’s what gets social engagement, boosts traffic, and establishes the brand as an industry thought leader. Stacked up next to fancy “top 10” lists and visually pleasing infographics, the idea of a press release sounds nothing short of outdated and boring.
But in reality, press releases are essential to promoting a business.
To better explain that concept, let’s first answer an essential question.
What is a press release?
As the name implies, a “press release” is the release of information to news sources and other outlets. Specifically, information regarding an announcement or important milestone within a business.
But if you view it exclusively as a sales tool, each press release represents the opportunity to connect. To establish a relationship with each and every person in your audience — from potential and existing customers to stakeholders and reporters.
What truly makes a press release effective, is how it’s written. An effective press release gets straight to the point while supplying all the important details.
It’s concise, it’s informative, and it’s what you need to know.
Reasons to write a press release
If the incentive of company news reaching thousands of people isn’t enough, here are a few specific reasons why press releases are essential.
A well-written press release can:
- Help acquire new clients
- Promote new products
- Celebrate a partnership
- Announce important changes/updates
- Catch the attention of influencers
and industry leaders
The last bullet point is especially important.
Because in this post, we’re not only teaching you how to write a press release, but how to write one that gets noticed. So follow all the steps we outline, and you’ll have a press release that attracts all the right attention.
How To Write A Press Release That Gets Noticed
7 Steps For Writing An Effective Press Release
Who, What, When, Where, and Why (…and How)
You can hear your elementary school teacher echoing these timeless words into your head:
“Who, what, when, where, and why.”
You’ve heard them plenty of times before, those magic “Five Ws”. They’re the key to painting the full picture, regardless of what you’re writing about. And with press release writing, they’re your bread and butter.
Right out the gate, the first paragraph in a press release should answer these five important questions.
Because most of the people who read your press release won’t have the time for an ornate, lavish, and purely, “sensational” narrative.
Nope. They want the full story as quick as possible, especially in the age of the internet. So give it to them.
This is the difference between a memorable press release, and one forgotten in the static of information overload.
So remember your Five Ws:
WHO: Who is it about?
WHAT: What’s your main announcement?
WHEN: When did/is the event you’re announcing take/taking place?
WHERE: Where did/is this event take (or, taking) place?
WHY: Why did it happen and why does it matter?
Oh, and the How? That comes in a little bit later.
Create a headline that can’t be ignored
Be honest, would you have been equally motivated to click on this article if the title was instead, “Press Release Tips”?
Probably not — that’s way too general and bland.
But if you get a bit more descriptive with “How To Write A Press Release That Gets Noticed”, suddenly everything changes. Not only does the headline hint at useful press release writing tips, but it also lets you know why you need them. Making it far more enticing to learn more.
But aside from getting you to click, this kind of headline does something even more important:
It delivers the full story in one line. One of the most important points to remember when writing a press release.
Well, we could have easily given this article a top-notch click bait headline like, “This Secret Press Release Formula Will Skyrocket Your Conversions and Triple Your Sales”. But boy would you have felt misled after clicking.
Nowhere in this article do we discuss a secret press release formula, or guarantee the promise of making more money. Sure, it may very well be possible, but it’s not what the article is about. Point being, stick to the facts.
Make your headline concise, informative, and appealing and enjoy a foolproof recipe for clicks.
Dress to impress with good format and style
Your press release can have the freshest, most appealing information under the sun. But if it’s structured like one big amorphous blob of text, good luck getting anyone to read it, let alone share it.
In both the online and business worlds, aesthetics matter. Hence why it’s best to ensure that your press release matches a professional standard.
This means a few things:
As we said earlier, a good press release is concise.
Sure, you may want to decorate your PR with lengthy, eloquent sentences. Or pack it to the brim with bright imagery, overly vivid details, and prolonged transitional phrasing galore. But unfortunately, no one will appreciate that as much as you.
Instead, keep your press release around 300 to 800 words. This range gives you plenty of room to get through the five Ws, elaborate on the “how”, and provide important company background info. Basically, with this limit, you have enough space to provide what’s essential while staying brief enough to keep your reader interested.
Good spacing keeps your ideas organized. It creates a visual structure that makes your press release easy to read and digest.
So break up your main ideas into paragraphs. Make it easier for your reader to follow along.
Here’s a simple press release format to get you started:
Paragraph: Five Ws
Paragraph: Quote w/explanation
Paragraph: About your company
This structure is suitable for most press releases and can easily be built upon if needed.
Although header usage is far more significant in blog post writing, it has its place in press releases as well.
Your headers help give that extra boost to your visual structure. Use them sparingly on longer press releases or for labeling main sections like your company bio or quote.
Make sure it’s newsworthy
Probably one the most obvious yet essential tips on how to write a press release you’ll ever read.
Before you even think about putting pen to paper, seriously consider whether or not your message is worth sharing — if it’s newsworthy.
Is your message one that your customers, stakeholders, or the general public will benefit from knowing?
Can you name at least one major way your company will benefit from sharing the information?
Is it important?
If you answered yes to all three of those questions, then congratulations, you have a newsworthy story on your hands. If not, a quick tweet or social post will probably suffice.
Write like a journalist, not an employee
You’re not writing your press release as an employee of the company, or even as the CEO. You’re writing it objectively, just like a journalist would. As a reference, think of how a story on the news sounds, or how a column in your local newspaper reads.
You don’t need a verbose, drawn-out press release riddled with personal anecdotes. You need a concise, organized story, so let’s establish this rule right now:
Keep your press release in the third person, just like a reporter (with the exception of quotes).
Because it’s the most effective and media-friendly way to write a press release. Plus, it stops you from getting too personal and wordy (word count).
Edit and proofread to enhance
Once you finish writing your press release, step away from it for a few minutes. Let a few hours pass, maybe a day, then revisit it with a fresh set of eyes.
This makes it much easier to catch typos and whatever grammar/punctuation errors exist.
Now you don’t have to go chopping and hacking your press release to literary perfection. When it comes to the content, just make sure all the essential information is there, then cut out the fluff.
We could explain the editing process down to the specifics, but these tips for being your own editor are far more helpful.
Make sure contact info is correct
Even though including contact information is standard procedure, it’s crucial to make sure that the information you provide is correct and up to date. Because there’s nothing worse than your readers wanting to contact you but not knowing how.
Include a quote
Nothing adds that special touch like the voice of your company. The literal voice of your company.
Including a relevant, company quote adds that extra layer of legitimacy and persuasion to your writing. It gives it that “human touch.” The quote can be from an executive member of the company or an industry thought leader. Just make sure to attribute credit.
Include the quote naturally, in a way that strengthens the focus of the press release. In other words, make sure the quote has, and serves a purpose.
Creating a press release that gets the results you want can be tough. But when you know how and where to focus your energy, those results are far more attainable. Because the key to an effective press release is simply understanding what makes it effective in the first place.
Having an appealing headline, the right content, and clean structure goes a long way. But it’s knowing who you’re writing for and why your story matters to them that makes the biggest difference.
But at the end of the day, getting your press release to sound exactly how you want can still be a challenge. That’s why we recommend checking out these tips for improving your writing.
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