Writing a Press Release

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Press Release Writing Guide – How To Get More Media Coverage

Press releases are one of the essential tools for PR and marketing specialists, helping them seize control over the conversation and create their own news.

It doesn’t matter if your client is a well known tech giant, with flocks of journalists waiting at the door, or an unknown company, trying to stay afloat in a sea of competitors. Press releases will generate more and higher-quality media coverage, build awareness for the brand, take a stance on ongoing issues in the industry and even manage a crisis situation. 

So what are they? 

A press release is an official announcement published on a company’s website and/or distributed via newswire networks. It’s targeted at journalists and media companies, making their jobs easier by giving them a compelling story and all key information to publish a material about the brand.

It seems pretty straightforward, but writing a press release and actually getting press coverage are two entirely different things.

Want to write press releases that actually generate media placement? Stick with us as we explore the ins and outs of press release writing.

When should you write a press release?

Just because you want to get your client in the media, doesn’t mean you should automatically go for a press release. There needs to be a newsworthy story – a reason why any journalist, respectively their readers, should care about the brand you represent.

Here are some of the common press release types in no particular order:

  • New product, service or location launched
  • New research and industry analysis with data to share
  • Organizing an industry event or conference
  • Partnership with a leader in your niche
  • Received an industry award
  • Merger, rebrand, new executives
  • Conflict or crisis involving the brand
  • Work towards public welfare, the environment, or a just cause
  • Solving a big problem in society or making an impact to a local community

Show how you’re leading the field, introducing new technology, innovations and making strides to advance the industry forward.

Spark an emotional response – show how the business is a moral, humane organization that does its part to improve society, resolve a problem, help the community. If customers believe you see them as more than just walking dollar signs, you’ll gain more trust than anything else you do.

If there’s no story to share, create one. Perhaps, hijack breaking news and tie them to your products and services. Find an angle that makes your company relevant to current affairs.

The best tip here is to not waste journalists’ time. They are busy enough and if you don’t have anything valuable to share, not only will they ignore you, they might actually block your email, or even the entire brand in the future. 

How to Structure a Press Release

Assuming you have a great story to tell, it’s time to produce the actual press release. 

Journalists are possibly the toughest crowd there is. They receive dozens of emails just like yours every day. Convincing them to even read your press release is a challenge, what’s to say about spending half their day writing up the story. 

Press releases are relatively short and concise – usually 1-2 pages long. Be concise and to the point. Remove all fluff and make the information easy to find and digest. Think about what journalists are looking for when researching a story. 

Headline

The headline is the most important element of your press release!

You may have cracked the speed of light, found a cure to cancer or solved global poverty. If your headline sucks, nobody will ever know, because reporters will bounce right off, without taking reading any of it.

They don’t have the time to carefully sift through an endless pool of PR pitches, so you have to catch their attention from the start. Use action words, be concise, but comprehensive. 

Here’s an example title:

“California Brewery Gives Free Beer To Companies Fighting Climate Change”

Why it works:

  • Compacts the entire story in a single line, giving out the most important details.
  • Relates to a global, widely talked about issue that provokes an emotional response.
  • The company is doing something positive for the community and the environment.
  • Everybody loves free beer. This is a story that will attract diverse interest.

Bullet point summary

If your press release combines multiple news items, findings, data, it’s best to use a bullet list to quickly summarize the most important information. 

Location and date

Start the first sentence of your first paragraph with the precise location – country, state, city – and date of the release. This information may tell the editor how relevant your story is to their publication, and can be a deciding factor for them to go forward, or not.

Body content

The first paragraph of the body is referred to as the lead. It’s the second most important element of your press release. By the time a writer or editor has finished reading the lead, they have already decided whether they will write the story up or pass. In the second case, they will usually abandon the page altogether. 

It’s important to condense all the essential information from the press release in the lead. Use the 5 Ws rule:

  1. Who is the story about?
  2. What are they doing? What is going on?
  3. When did the story happen? When will it happen?
  4. Where is the event taking place?
  5. Why do we need to care? Why is this story significant?

Here’s an example leading paragraph:

San Diego, CA, 12th August 2021. Beertastic Inc. pledges 5,000 beers every month to California companies that fight climate change. The brewery, which became the first renewable-powered beer manufacturer in the world, will treat employees of companies that work on renewable energy and carbon offsetting projects, as well as businesses that reduce their carbon footprint to free beer every Friday. Beertastic hopes to promote more action towards environmental issues and climate change. 

When writing the body, remember to follow the inverted pyramid strategy, putting the most important information at the top and adding content graded by its significance and relevance. This way you’re catering to a web-based audience, whose attention span is very short and content is consumed mainly by skimming the page. Putting the most important content first ensures it gets read and any hook you insert will have the most effect.

Add at least one quote from the CEO or a key employee of the company. You can write it in their name, closely matching their style of speech and invite them to review and edit it. 

Here’s an example quote: 

“Farm boys like us feel climate change every year and it’s getting worse. Draughts, fires, then flash floods and severe storms. They’re killing the crop and turning more land to barren desert. The brewers here are very proud of their work and we’re happy to treat anyone who stands up for nature to a nice cold beer.”

Kenny Lyle – Master Brewer at Beertastic Inc.

Make it sound natural. A brewer likely won’t sound exactly the same as a communications major. Don’t try to use fancy words and overly complex sentences, if that’s not the way they talk.

Also, don’t forget to add any data or statistics you have. It gives context to the story and puts your efforts into quantifiable terms. Data is easily shared and discussed, so journalists would love to add some in their content.

Boilerplate information

Even if you represent a well known company, often journalists will find it difficult to figure out its mission statement. A boilerplate information is basically your “About us” page condensed into one or two paragraphs, explaining how the company started, what it does and what are its values and goals.

You place this snippet at the bottom of the press release body.

Here’s an example boilerplate information:

Beertastic Inc. is the only 100% solar-powered beer manufacturer in the world. Powered only by the golden rays of the Southern California sun, Beertastic blends locally-grown malt, hop and exotic ingredients to brew unique craft beers like the widely regarded Pineapple Pale, Baja Thirst Quencher, and SoCal Cactus Brew, as well as more traditional lager and ale beers.

Founded in 2017 in San Diego, California, Beertastic Inc. leads the beer industry into a new age of sustainable, environmentally-friendly brewing through technologies like photovoltaics, advanced vessel design and locally-grown, water-efficient crops.

Media contacts

Obviously, you want to include contacts for a representative, who would answer any media questions and assist journalists if they need any help getting their material produced and published. Triple check the email and phone are accurate and make sure they are monitored constantly once the press release goes live. 

Graphical media

Finally, if you have the means to, try to produce some graphical media – either high quality photos or video or both to accompany your press release. These are not mandatory, but in today’s age, visual materials will go a long way to get you noticed. Giving some visual content to reporters will help them get the article done faster and get you more coverage, that’s more appealing to readers and viewers. 

Press Release Example

Okay, let’s put it all together and see what we got. 

 

California Brewery Gives Free Beer To Companies Fighting Climate Change

San Diego, CA, 12th August 2021. Beertastic Inc. pledges 5,000 beers every month to California companies that fight climate change. The brewery, which became the first renewable-powered beer manufacturer in the world, will treat employees of companies that work on renewable energy and carbon offsetting projects, as well as businesses that reduce their carbon footprint to free beer every Friday. Beertastic hopes to promote more action towards environmental issues and climate change.

The company already delivered the first batch of ice-cold, freshly-brewed lager to California’s biggest photovoltaic company Cal PV. Over 600 employees enjoyed a cold beer at the end of a very hot Friday on August the 9th, after successfully completing the first in a series of projects to power San Diego schools with photovoltaic panels.

“Farm boys like us feel climate change every year and it’s getting worse. Draughts, fires, then flash floods and severe storms. They’re killing the crop and turning more land to barren desert. The brewers here are very proud of their work and we’re happy to treat anyone who stands up for nature to a nice cold beer.” said Kenny Lyle, Master Brewer at Beertastic Inc.

Beertastic became famous around the world in 2017, when the company unveiled a state of the art brewing facility, near San Diego, powered entirely by a massive array of 12,030 photovoltaic panels positioned next door. The solar farm converts Southern California’s scorching sun into electricity for the production facilities or the local grid when demand is low.

Now, the company wants to extend their efforts against climate change by encouraging businesses in California that deal with renewable energy and carbon-offsetting projects, or take responsibility for their own footprint. Any company who fits the criteria can apply to receive a batch of Beertastic’s full assortment to treat its employees for their hard work and dedication to making the planet cleaner and safer for us all.

 

About Beertastic Inc.

Beertastic Inc. is the only 100% solar-powered beer manufacturer in the world. Powered only by the golden rays of the Southern California sun, Beertastic blends locally-grown malt, hop and exotic ingredients to brew unique craft beers like the widely regarded Pineapple Pale, Baja Thirst Quencher, and SoCal Cactus Brew, as well as more traditional lager and ale beers.

Founded in 2017 in San Diego, California, Beertastic Inc. leads the beer industry into a new age of sustainable, environmentally-friendly brewing through technologies like photovoltaics, advanced vessel design and locally-grown, water-efficient crops.

Media Contact:

Michael Cross | Green Relations

949.111.1111. | email@email.com

 

Note: The example is entirely made up, so don’t take any information seriously.

Distributing your press release

So, you crafted a most excellent press release. Now what? 

 

Your first option is to distribute it using PR wire networks. You’ll have to pay a modest amount to get your press release delivered to a large list of publications, but there’s no guarantee how much coverage you will get. 

 

The second option is to pitch your press release to carefully curated list of editors.

  • Industry publications
  • Industry partners
  • Local newspapers
  • General news sites
  • Bloggers
  • Influencers

 

The media pitch of course, is it’s own art and science no easier than writing the press release. You have to absolutely kill it, if you hope to get your material read, let alone published.