The main issue with press releases is that a bunch of them simply get ignored. But that doesn’t need to be an issue, once you learn how to write and market them properly. Not only are we going to show you how to do it, but we will also provide you with 7 outstanding press release template ideas.
Whether you refer to it as a ‘press release’, ‘media release’, ‘news release’, or ‘press statement’, in most cases it’s one and the same thing. Hubspot broadly defines a press release as an official announcement that an organization issues to the news media and beyond. It can be either written or recorded.
A quality press release is generally expected to be succinct, concise, and to the point. It is to be considered as a valuable piece of marketing content that presents valuable information about your company and enables you to reach prospective customers. The majority of top-notch press releases are just one page long. Two pages at the most. In fact, some of the best practices have shown that a press release should be kept to about 500 words or less.
There are two main phases in the implementation of press releases – production and distribution. But still, there is much more to consider than just writing and publishing – from reaching media and influencers to driving traffic and sales. If all your focus goes into storytelling and writing, it’s easy to neglect those other, equally important aspects of press release creation and usage.
In order to be able to focus on all the important aspects, we suggest using a press release template or sample as a starting point or inspiration. Still, be careful, because, as with most other things, one size does not fit all.
“Study Shows Bacon is Beneficial to Your Health”
Now that we’ve got your attention, we have to disappoint you. Unfortunately, the beneficial effects of bacon on your health have not been proven (yet). But, what’s been proven numerous times, with all kinds of content, is the importance of headlines. In fact, adjusting your headline copy can boost your conversion rate by 40%.
Just like an amazing online quiz, a great press release starts with a compelling headline. So, be sure to make that one line of text count. How do you do that? Be concise, use actionable words and clear and understandable language. More importantly, do your best to make it interesting and compelling, as you’d want to grab the reader’s’ attention from the very start.
When writing a press release, you should keep in mind that 57% of publishers receive between 50 and 500 pitches per week. So, you need to write something that will stand out from the crowd and keep your release away from the trash bin. In order not to waste any more of their (and your) time, you have to show them upfront why they should care about your release.
Ideally, the first paragraph of your press release should cover all 5 Ws and an H (who? what? why? when? where? and how?) of your announcement. It’s vital that you clearly explain what your company does and what the release is announcing. Almost every high-quality press release is based on the inverted pyramid structure. So, after you’ve provided the most fundamental facts in the first paragraph, the non-essential details should appear in the following paragraphs, in the order of importance.
After setting the scene, you would like to establish some authority. This can be done by including a relevant quote, preferably by some of the key stakeholders in your company or some of the people directly affected by your announcement or the new development. Include reference links for every citation you incorporate. In fact, citations are more important for SEO than you may realize. In a local SEO case study, this agency used citation-rich press releases to improve their client’s local rankings for 20 positions, pushing them to #1.
Once you’ve provided the readers with all the crucial information (and a tempting quote), you can use the last paragraph to give additional background details to support or strengthen your claims. Make sure to invest some extra time into writing a killer boilerplate, as it will find its way into every press release you publish. Moreover, a quality boilerplate can have immense effect on your press outreach.
Try to think more like a digital marketer and less like a journalist. Instead of using plenty of heavy jargon and words an average reader would need a dictionary to understand, try to adjust your content to the modern online world. Add graphics, videos, SlideShares, anything that would make it more social media-friendly.
Check out the following press release template by PR Newswire:
Over the years, journalists and marketers have developed a standard format for a press release that includes the same basic information. As can be seen from the example above, almost every press release template contains the following sections:
Although you can write a press release on literally anything, there are certain occasions for which a press release may be highly beneficial, such as:
When it comes to release date, you have two options – immediate or embargoed release. If a press release is labeled with words “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” at the top, it means that it can be published and shared as soon as it’s made public.
If, on the other hand, your press release is embargoed, it means that there are certain restrictions as to who and when can publish it. For example, if you don’t want it to publish before a certain date, you can put an embargo on it.
Writing is only half of the work, as you still need to find ways for your release to reach its audience. What’s the use of having a perfect release nobody’s going to read? When it comes to publishing and distribution, the easiest steps are to publish it on your own website/blog and share with your own army of social media followers. But, in most cases, this isn’t enough.
Unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg himself and already have more followers than you could ever wish for, you should aim for a much higher coverage. Here are some tips on how to achieve it
Instead of spamming every single journalist whose contact info you can find, focus on targeting specific journalists who actually have experience in your industry. Try to find some way to relate what’s in your press release to what they normally write about. We’ve already shown you how to use BuzzSumo and similar tools to find the right influencers to target.
As already mentioned, most journalists have their email bombarded with tens or hundreds of similar offers every week. That’s why you may want to consider a slightly different approach and pitch them offline (eg. via regular mail or try to find another more creative channel). That way, you will make a statement and stand out from the crowd. Snail mail, cold calls and face-to-face communication are just some of offline marketing strategies that still work today.
This may be a useful strategy for avoiding competition, especially if you’re using distribution services like Business Wire. We suggest you avoid publishing on the hour (e.g. 10 am, 3 pm, 4 pm, etc.), as that’s when most companies schedule their releases to be published. By publishing at some more distinguishable time (such as 10:12 am or 3:39 pm), you may avoid getting lost in the clutter.
Let’s say everything goes according to the plan and your release gets published. Why stop there? We suggest using your internal promotion channels (your website and social media profiles) for a second round of distribution by sharing those specific stories from the media that revolve around your press release. There are many other ways to amplify your media coverage. For example, you could leverage LinkedIn’s Mentioned in the News feature to promote your B2B content.
Looking for a ready-made press release template to fill in? Maybe you’ll find something adequate on the links below:
Looking for inspiration? Check out these awesome press release samples and get some ideas for your own.