Get the Word Out: Create an Outstanding Press Release

By: | June 23rd, 2012
How to write press release

How to write press release

Has your business just released a new product? Are you offering a new service? Have you got an important update for your users? Are you planning a partnership with another company? Or do you just want to tell your target audience what you have been up to lately? Well, seems like it’s the time for writing a press release and distributing it through the main wire services.

However, a press release is somewhat different then just a regular post on your website or blog. In this post, we have gathered some important pointers on how to write an outstanding press release and getting it out there. Prick up your ears and listen (well, actually, squint your eyes and read very, very closely).

General Structure: What Every Press Release Should Include

A press release should include the following:

  • A headline – descriptive and concise.
  • An introduction – the introduction is your means of grabbing the reader’s attention. Therefore, it should succinctly answer the 6 ‘Wh- questions’: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.
  • A body copy – the actual story.
  • Information about the company – a short summary of what the company does.
  • Contact details – details of the person for whom questions and comments should be addressed.

The following guidelines should give you some tips and ideas on how to write the various parts of the press release.

Headline: Keep it Concise and include Keywords

Keep your headline to a maximum of 80-100 characters. It should be descriptive and include relevant keywords. If you’re not sure which keywords would be the most effective, try any of these keyword services:

Here’s an example of a ‘slightly’ too long title… ouch.

Press Release Long Title

from PRWeb

The Body of the Text: Make it Short and Clear

The body of the press release should not be too long. You have to get the message across in as few words as possible or else readers will just get bored after the first paragraph and move on. However, try not to write less than 300 words, or else the press release wouldn’t seem ‘juicy’. Try to insert quotes (1 or 2, no more) from company members, users, or critics. Including keywords in the body of the text is extremely important as well – include 3-4 keyword phrases.

Objectivity: Write in the Third Person

The body of the press release should be written in the third person, and utilize the passive form. Avoid using ‘you’ (as in ‘you have to check out our new product’) as it makes the press release sound like an advertisement and wire services could reject it for this reason. Make it sound as objective as possible. Check out this post about The Worst Press Release Ever to see what language to avoid when writing a press release.

Formatting: Include Subheadings, Bullets and Emphasize Key Points

To make the press release easier to read (and also more fit for SEO purposes), try not to write excruciatingly long paragraphs with no breaks in between. That’s a surefire way to bore your target audience. Instead, use subheadings within the body of the text (keep them short but include keywords), use bullets and emphasize important points by using italics or bold writing. Not only will the press release be easier to read, it will also be more SEO-friendly.

Language: Avoid Using Jargon

You may want to elaborate on all the fascinating technical details of your amazing new product, from its design specifications down right to its breath-taking code. However, remember your target audience. They don’t necessarily understand the technical jargon; they would rather you tell them about your product in clear, simple words.

Backlinks: Refer Readers Back to Your Website with Anchor Text

Remember those keywords we talked about earlier? Make good use of them by using them as backlinks that link back to your website. However, take care not just to link back to your homepage but to specific landing pages that contain information about the term you linked from. A backlink from the key term ‘downloading software’ should link to the page in your website that provides details about the downloading software you are offering.

A word of advice: don’t include too many backlinks – you don’t want your press release to appear spammy. Also, PR wire services are not likely to publish a press release that looks like a blatant advertisement for your website.

Embedding: Enrich your Content with Videos, Photos, etc.

Remember our recent post about different types of embeddable content? Now is the perfect time to put that information into good use. Enrich your press release with relevant YouTube videos, audio files, charts, pictures, etc. Your press release will instantly look more interesting to the readers, plus, its visibility on Google will increase a thousandfold.

Here’s an example of a press release which includes both a video and a photo:

Press release that includes video and photo

From Online PR News

The Important Details: Include a General Description and Contact Information

End the press release with relevant information about your business. Write a short summary (2-3 sentences) about what you do and include a link to your hompage. If possible, provide information like your physical location, contact details (phone and e-mail address), as well as links to your pages on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Also, give the details of your company’s media contact (their name, phone and e-mail address) so that anyone who wants to contact your company will be able to do it directly.

Publish: Choose a Newswire that Caters to Your Needs

To publish your press release, find a newswire that is compatible with your needs. For example, if you want to embed multimedia content in your press release (such as videos, photos or graphs), choose a newswire that allows you to upload such content. Some newswire services are free and some are paid, so consider their respective advantages. You can save money with free newswire services, however, paid newswires are sometime considered more reliable and reputable sources by news reporters. Some popular newswire services include:

Got More Ideas on How to Write a Killer Press Release?

We hoped you liked this post and found it useful! However, we are sure there are many more ideas and tips regarding press releases out there that can make this list even better! So, as always, it now comes down to you.

Have you recently published a press release about your product? Would you like to share some insights with us? Have you come across good or bad examples of press releases that you would like to share? We would love to read your comments! 

Image by: wsifrancis

Dafna Ben-Yehoshua Google+

A biologist turned content writer who dances lindy hop for fun. Specializes in multi-tasking and never getting enough sleep. An expert on cats, dark chocolate, and how prevent cats from eating her chocolate.

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