HOW TO WRITE A KILLER PRESS RELEASE
By Shelby White
Powerful press releases can take your message to new heights.
They are one of the strongest tools we have in our public relations arsenal because they can help control the narrative and establish credibility. They allow you to generate your own buzz and tell your business’s story on your terms before others tell it for you.
Whether your company won an award, is opening a new location or releasing a new product or service, routinely sharing press releases and other news with the media can help you stand out in journalists’ minds over time and enhance the public perception of your organization.
But oftentimes, professionals and entrepreneurs don’t know how to create one, so we are outlining a few steps you can take to write a killer press release:
1. Use an attention-grabbing headline.
A succinct, captivating headline will stand out to journalists, who are bombarded with press releases every day. Your headline should answer the question: “Why should I care?” Strong headlines are also specific and use numbers when possible. And they use active verbs and power words.
Quick Tip: Don’t neglect the subject line of the email you’ll be sending to the media. It is the first thing reporters will see, so write it thoughtfully.
2. Craft a catchy hook.
Catchy hooks pull us into an extraordinary story. They pique our curiosity and make us eager to keep reading. Be creative but get straight to the point and be sure to cover the five W’s: who, what, where, when, and why. Practice writing clever hooks and see what a difference it can make to the effectiveness of your press release.
3. Be thorough but concise.
Press releases should be comprehensive yet concise. Include as much relevant information about your new product or service as possible. Provide links to other websites with more information. Hard facts and numbers back up your news and make it more enticing to the reader.
Just keep in mind that explaining the key points of your announcement in the clearest way possible will give it a better shot of being picked up by reporters, who don’t have time to pour through press releases.
4. Include interesting quotes.
Quotes are an excellent way to give your press release more context. Your quotes should come from credible people who are relevant to the announcement, such as your company’s CEO or project leader. Journalists will need quotes to use in the article they write about your news, so make their job easy and include them in your press release. Plus, providing quotes of your choosing, rather than the reporter’s, will help you control the narrative.
5. Avoid jargon.
Some industries, especially when it comes to science and technology, already have intricate subject matter. Remember, not everyone is an expert in your industry or company. As such, don’t use brand-specific or industry-specific language. Try to cut to the relevant points and explain them like you’re talking to your grandmother.
6. Include boiler plate information.
Provide a boilerplate, or “about us” statement, which is a brief, standardized paragraph at the end of a press release that includes background information on your organization.
Quick Tip: It’s best practice to include “###” at the end of your press release to indicate there is no further copy to come. Center the signifier in the footer at the end of the final page.
7. Share your news.
Spread the word by sending your press release to journalists, trade publications and anyone else who can help share the news. Be sure to include contact information at the end.
Quick Tip: Be available to respond quickly to inquiries from the press who often have short deadlines to meet.
To summarize, here’s what you need to know about writing a press release:
- Write a short, clever headline that tells readers why your news is important.
- Cut to the chase but provide context.
- Include colorful quotes and avoid industry jargon.
- Present your press release to reporters in a standard format that makes it easy for them to read and digest.
Press releases are a powerful public relations tool that if used correctly, can help amplify your message and build your brand.
Find examples of Greater Lafayette Commerce press releases here.
Shelby White is Greater Lafayette Commerce’s content marketing specialist.