When you start writing a press release, please do not mix up public relations with marketing. To write a great press release, you have to have something to say that is of interest to journalists, consumers, decision-makers or influencers – or all of the above. Some aspects of a press release should be kept in mind as you write it, because these will make your news more engaging, readable and more likely to be reported on, shared and followed.
Headline and lead paragraph
Write a compelling headline. For search engines and Google, it’s essential to have SEO keywords included in the first 50 characters. KISS: keep it short and simple, and get to the point in the first paragraph.
Make your news engaging by focusing on the story and what’s of interest. Be authentic and focus on facts. Stay away from using words like ‘pleased’ or ‘proud’, as in ‘We’re proud to announce …’. Never use ‘we’ or ‘I’ – leave that for quotations.
The five ‘W’s
When you start writing a press release, build a framework for your content by answering these five questions: who, what, where, when and why. The answers to these questions will build the framework of your press release story. Fill it with valuable content, but do not sell your product or service. Instead, tell the story behind it.
Quotations and credibility
Use quotations from your organisation’s CEO or industry experts to create a bit of personal engagement. They will increase the credibility of your story, and if journalists like your story, you can be sure that they will use the quotations in their articles. Do not use more than two quotations unless multiple companies are involved in the media story. Write the quotations in the present tense: ‘says’, ‘comments’, ‘adds’.
Try to keep your press release between 450 and 600 words. Use easily understandable wording and make sure that the content is grammatically correct. It’s about providing better information, not just more of it.
Additional information in the press release
Add professional images (no passport photos) and video, and always include a logo to create a visually compelling press release. Plain-text-only press releases lose the reader’s interest.
Always include links to your website, social media links or additional background information. This also helps keep your news release short and sweet – and to the point.
Boilerplate and contact information
Add a ‘boilerplate’ (an ‘about us’ for your organisation) at the bottom of the press release, but make it short or even provide a link to your website. Please do not mix it up with text from a marketing brochure.
A boilerplate is a standardised last paragraph giving an outline of the company’s products, services, awards, positioning and purpose. The text can also include the company’s size, location, number of employees, key sites and its website and social media profile links.
Please always include the media contact’s information, including email, full name and phone number.