Many business owners shy away from writing their own press releases, but it is not as complicated as it may seem. Yes, there are some best practices to follow, but these techniques will be covered in this guide to help business owners to learn how to write their first press release.
Creating a story that a journalist would find interesting is not as hard some people would think. Using writing techniques for the mass media, a business owner engage with the highest regarded publications. A few tips for this include writing in an active voice and keeping the content simple and short. A great method for this is to write using the inverted pyramid method which will be elaborated on.
What Should Be Included
There are several elements that are essential for a press release to be successful, and even to be submitted correctly. If these elements are not present, most press release submission forms will reject the release, or ask for a revised version.
The header is the very first section of the press release. This is the section where the infamous “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” can be found, along with the date the press release will be submitted. This section also contains the contact information of the person writing the press release, or the contact information of the person the business prefers for engaging in conversations with the media.
An exciting headline is arguably the most important part of a press release. If the title is not eye-catching, most reporters will simply pass it by. Great titles should evoke an emotion in the read and make them want to read more. A few great emotions to play on include love, fear, urgency, and anticipation. Interesting emails that the business owner has recently opened are a great place to start, as the subject lines follow similar best practices.
The main part of the press release should follow an inverted triangle layout. The majority of the text should include elaborate answers to the following: who, what, when, where, why and how. The second paragraph is a great place to put any quotes from leaders at the company or customers who have reviewed the product. This is also a good place to add additional details that perhaps did not fit in well in the first paragraph.
The last paragraph is a paragraph that gives vital information about the business. Something that works well for many businesses is to use their company’s mission statement along with links to their website. This should not be an overly complicated section.
HEADLINE (ONE LINE ONLY)
Subhead: Only include more details if needed, one line only
City, State: Information here should be straight to the point. Reporters do not like to dig for the information they need. If the information here is not readily available, it is very likely that nobody will pick up the press release and publish it in print or digitally. As a reminder, this section should include the answers to who, what, where, when, why, and how.
The second paragraph is the best place to use quotes or any other additional, but supporting, details to the story. These items should not be considered the main pieces of the story, but additional, interesting bits of information.
A third paragraph is a great way to send people to a company’s testimonial page, product page, or give more background on the product, service, or company offerings. This paragraph should only offer additional support. If it does not, the information should be left out instead of being used as a filler.
Using bullet points is a good way to break up the content while also being visually appealing and easy to read.
Use language people can actually understand. If you had to use thesaurus.com to find it, delete it.
Perform a final edit before submitting the press release. Does it seem newsworthy? If not, revise and edit as needed.
About Your Company: Use this space to include information about the business. This is also a great spot to include a mission statement and a website url.
Where to Submit Press Releases
The first place that business owners should submit their press releases is press release submission websites. These are websites that will distribute the press release to other free websites for reporters to pick them up. Something to be aware of is that some of these websites will charge money based on where they submit the press releases to. If a business wants their press release to show up on Yahoo! News, they should be prepared to pay a large chunk of money to do so. The most trusted website for submitting free press releases is through http://PR.com. PR.com not only proofs your press release before submitting it, but they also provide educational resources for free on to how to improve your online presence.
The second place a business owner can submit their press release is directly through local and national news outlets. While it is not guaranteed to be featured on the news, it is a possibility. Most news outlets will have a page on their website with instructions on how to submit the press release to their newsroom.