[This article was written by Qamar Zaman.]
When creating a strategy for public relations, the importance of press releases can’t be denied. Through a press release, you can share a written report with specific information regarding a product launch, an event, or other happening with the media. While numerous people know what a press release is, few know how to use them.
With that said, distributing the press release to the media doesn’t guarantee that they will run it. All the media outlets will determine whether or not that piece of information will benefit their readers/viewers or the community. Therefore, the way you create the press release plays a major part here.
So, how should you write a press release in a way that grabs the attention of the media outlets and motivates them to share it with their audience?
Here are the steps for writing a press release for your business:
Determining the Topic & Your Target Audience
What information do you want to share with your target audience? Is it newsworthy? Will it be beneficial to them? Understanding the topic of the press release is the first thing that can help you in crafting the entire press release.
Make sure that you outline the message or news clearly. Typically, businesses use press releases to announce the launch of a new service or product, a business event, industry recognition or award, or collaboration with another company or organization.
When you identify the information you want to share and your target audience, it gets easier to assemble the content you want to include.
Creating the Headline
The headline of a press release is 65 to 80 characters long. This headline serves as the title and must be at the top of the document and centered. The headline should be compelling and concise, and must communicate your main news or message.
Consider adding in the right keywords in the title to rank it higher in Google searches. While press releases are not about SEO, they still appear in the search results if you use suitable keywords. Additionally, remember never to overstuff keywords in the body of the press release.
Writing a Subheader
The subheader comes right under the headline and should not exceed 20 words. The main aim of a subheader is to offer some more details about the news to encourage the readers to keep reading the content. Make sure that it is consistent with the headline’s tone, but gives additional information.
Crafting a Powerful Opening
Now create the lead paragraph, which should not be more than 50 words long. This paragraph should start with the location of your business and the date it will be published. You must separate this information from the rest of the paragraph with a dash.
This paragraph is rather important and must answer the “who, what, when, where, and why” questions in three to four sentences. Mention all the relevant and important information here and leave the additional details for the other paragraphs.
Developing the Body
The body must be around three to five paragraphs long, and ideally about 300 words. Make sure that you include all the details about the news you shared in the first paragraph of the press release. For increased credibility and interest, add in a direct quote of an authority figure and close with a call to action.
The quote should be from an outside source sharing unbiased support for your topic. It can be a standalone paragraph within the body of the release. Try to keep the quote within 80 words. A quote from business owners, CEOs, senior employees, or managers is a good choice.
The call to action must be concise, actionable, and clear enough to encourage the reader to take action. For instance, if the press release is about an upcoming event, add the link from where interested individuals can buy tickets.
Adding the Boilerplate
Another important section of the press release is the boilerplate of your company. This section includes a brief description of the company to help readers understand what your company does. The boilerplate should be around 30 to 100 words long and comes at the end of the press release.
Here is the information you should include in the boilerplate:
- The full name of your business
- The years your business has been operational
- What services or products your business sells
- How many places the business is located in
- Recent achievement or awards
You can end it by adding in the link to the website of your website.
Including Contact Information
Right underneath the boilerplate, add in the pound sign three times (###). It indicates the end of the press release. Next, include the contact information of your business so that the media personnel can easily contact you in case they have any queries. Be sure to add the name of employee handling PR, and their phone number and email address.
Formatting the Document
The press release must be properly formatted. Consistent formatting makes it easy for media professionals to go through the content quickly. Select the standard formatting for the margins and paper size in the word document. Make sure you include the letterhead and logo of your business at the top.
The color, size, and font must also be standard for easy readability. The color must be black, and the font should be either Arial or Times New Roman. The size of the body text should be 12, the sub-header should be 13, and the headline should be 14.
These steps will help you in making an effective press release to share the recent happenings of your business. Once you have created your press release and formatted it properly, it is time to distribute it to reporters, journalists, and media representatives. Opt for a distribution service to help you in ensuring the right media outlets receive your press release.
You should also post the press release on your website. Make sure to create a separate webpage where you can add all press releases. To make the most out of the release, you should share it on all your social media channels to spread the news among your followers as well.
Qamar Zaman is the founder and CEO of Kiss PR Storytelling Framework, a Dallas-based digital and SEO organization that was founded in 2003. With over 28,000 stories that increase by the day, the company aims at helping small to medium-sized businesses succeed in their target markets.