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How to Write a Press Release Your Audience Will Want to Read (with Examples)

Press releases are a cost-effective and practical way of publicising your company’s news and developments, but ONLY if you observe a key criterion in writing and publishing the press release: relevance.

The relevance of your press release to the target audience—which includes not just your customers, but more importantly, the journalists you distribute the media release to—will determine how much coverage your release gets and how well received it is.

As highlighted in Cision’s 2021 Global State of the Media Report, “More than 1 in 4 journalists (28%) receive over 100 pitches per week with most ending up in the virtual trash due to irrelevance.” The report further elaborated that pitches considered irrelevant include those that sound like marketing brochures and lack transparency.

It takes more effort to create and implement a relevant and targeted PR strategy, but therein lies the key to an effective PR campaign.

If you’re looking for tips on how to write a press release that journalists will want to publish and your audience will want to read, start with this simple but fundamental principle: relevance.

In this comprehensive how-to guide on writing a press release, we’ll cover the following topics:

How to Write a Press Release Your Audience Will Want to Read (with Examples)

What is a Press Release?

In the past, press releases were used primarily to issue formal announcements relating to company news, organisational changes, special events, and official statements. A press release is also commonly referred to as a ‘media release’, ‘news release’, and ‘press statement’.

Over the years, however, press releases have evolved in format and functionality, especially in the digital age. Nowadays, a press release tends to be less formal in structure and distribution. Instead of being limited to newspaper publications, modern press releases are often published on a company’s website as well as other digital media platforms.

Modern press releases have also become valuable marketing tools in PR campaigns, in addition to promoting newsworthy information about a company, brand, product or service.

Well-written press releases are key to attracting consumer eyeballs, promoting brand awareness, and cultivating a positive brand image. A few ground rules to bear in mind when crafting a press release:

  • Make sure your message is relevant to your target audience.
  • Use easily understandable language.
  • Provide the most important information (‘who’, ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘where’) in the first paragraph. This ensures that the release attracts the right readers whom the information benefits most.
  • Don’t exceed 2 pages. Press releases should be as simple, relevant, and succinct as possible.

Why Do You Need a Press Release?

Implemented as part of a well-thought-out PR campaign, a press release helps to achieve the following:

Create media buzz

If the media likes what you have to say in your press release, it’s in their interest to publish it. More exposure equals more opportunity for your brand to reach new audiences.

Promote brand awareness

The more publicity your press release gets, the more visibility it creates for your brand, which reinforces brand recognition amongst your existing and potential customer base.

Enhance SEO

Press releases that contain relevant keywords and are shared widely on the Internet will automatically improve your brand’s SEO ranking on search engines.

Develop rapport with the public

A media release allows you to cultivate a positive rapport with the public via a carefully crafted narrative that promotes the brand’s personality and values.

What’s the Best Day & Time to Send a Press Release?

Research shows that Thursday is the best day of the week to issue a press release, while Wednesdays and Fridays are the worst, with up to 85% of emails getting buried in journalists’ inboxes! Apart from the day, pay attention to the time, as editors are apparently more receptive between 10.00 am and 2.00 pm.

10 Press Release Writing Tips with Examples

For a simple but practical guide on how to write a press release, we’ve curated the best PR examples available to illustrate the following press release writing tips.

1. Pull the audience in with a captivating headline

According to Nectafy, “79% of people don’t read web copy at all; they merely scan and skim.” This trend is supported by a Microsoft study on our shrinking attention span, which has reportedly reduced to a mere 8 seconds.

Readers no longer have the time nor patience to read beyond a headline that does nothing to interest or move them. If you want more eyeballs on your press release, you’ll have to make the effort to craft a compelling headline that pulls the audience in.

A few tips to nail the press release headline:

  • Keep it short and use simple, jargon-free language.
  • Convey the essence of the press release in that single line.
  • Be clear and specific.
  • Use strong action verbs to create interest and excitement.

Example: HEINZ

Its sensational title—HEINZ Is Searching for Its First-Ever ‘Head Burger Artist’—albeit a tad misleading, compels the reader to stop and take a second look. Even though the actual press release isn’t about recruitment as implied by the title, the creative and cleverly worded announcement of their ‘Art of the Burger’ contest keeps one’s interest piqued throughout the entire release.

2. Include a quick teaser or blurb

A useful way to capture the reader’s attention is to include a summary, either in the form of short bullet points or a one-liner, before the first paragraph. This gives journalists and the public a quick overview of the highlights and increases the chances of them staying engaged.

Continuing the HEINZ example above, the press release started with the following quirky blurb as a quick intro:

“‘Art of the Burger’ contest winner will receive $25,000, consult on the next HEINZ condiment, travel to taste-test the best burgers in the U.S., and receive free HEINZ condiments for life.”

In a simple sentence, HEINZ clearly spells out the incentive for readers to keep reading, starting with the enticing cash prize followed by the list of attractive perks for the winner.

3. Include the date and location

This might be stating the obvious, but including the date of the press release and the location of the business or event establishes the relevance of the news. It gives the reader a frame of reference as to where and when the news originated.

4. Give your readers a reason to care

The #1 question on the reader’s mind is always: “Why is this piece of content worth my time and attention?” If the answer isn’t clear from the get-go, readers will quickly tune out and stop reading after the first paragraph.

The structure of your press release should present the most important and interesting information first before delving into the details or less important points. This ensures that the right target audience will keep reading beyond the first paragraph, which needs to answer the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, why’, and ‘how’.

Example: LEGO 

For LEGO’s ‘Rebuild the World’ campaign, the first two paragraphs of their press release clearly conveyed the campaign’s importance and relevance in helping nurture the next generation’s creative skills:

“Today, the LEGO Group and musician Mark Ronson launch Rebuild The World, a campaign to help nurture the creative skills of the next generation.

Over 100 children will meet Mark and other inspiring figures, such as 19-year-old David Aguilar, who built several prosthetic arms from LEGO® elements, at the LEGO House, Billund, to explore the infinite potential of creativity. Their imaginations will also be fired up in a series of workshops, where they’ll be challenged to rebuild the world they see around them.”

5. Add context with interesting background information

Once you’ve presented the most important aspects of the release, it’s time to add context so your readers can fully appreciate the significance and relevance of your announcement. This is where you provide details that support your narrative, starting with the most important and working your way down.

Example: Happsy

In promoting their affordable organic mattresses, Happsy’s press release provided factual and pertinent background information as evidence of their product quality and eco-friendly claims:

“With its direct-to-consumer model, the brand’s innovative approach was recently recognized by Good Housekeeping as the “Best Organic Boxed Mattress to Buy Online in 2021.” After reviewing over 126,000 data points with responses from over 5,500 mattress owners, Happsy was selected for its use of natural materials like certified organic cotton, latex, and wool, which stood out from other boxed mattresses that are typically made using polyurethane foam and synthetic fabrics.”

“The mattress is certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and its latex is certified by the Global Organic Latex Standards (GOLS), so you know the manufacturing process follows strict environmental standards. It stands out from other organic mattresses because it ships compressed in a box, and uses premium materials,” notes Good Housekeeping editors, with one user relaying that it’s “the best mattress I have ever owned!”

6. Support claims with facts and figures

Anyone can say that their product or service is “the best”, but it means nothing without external validation. Making unfounded claims only serves to dilute your brand credibility and put off journalists and readers.

For this reason, it’s imperative to ensure an honest and unbiased narrative when crafting your press release. Any claims have to be supported or endorsed by external parties, as demonstrated in the Happsy example above.

7. Keep the jargon minimal

The best press releases are written in plain, simple English to ensure that they are easily understood by the public. Jargon should be eliminated or kept to a minimum.

It’s a common mistake for businesses to assume that everyone understands jargon, whether corporate or technical. This often results in complicated press releases that leave journalists and readers baffled about what exactly the company does, and what the press release is all about.

Not only is it imperative to describe the nature of the company’s business in simple, everyday language, but it’s also equally important to ensure clarity of the message from the start.

Example: Microsoft

When Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard, a video game publisher, they made every effort to emphasise the value of the acquisition in human terms. Their press release headline reads “Microsoft to Acquire Activision Blizzard to Bring the Joy and Community of Gaming to Everyone, Across Every Device”.

Note how they’ve used the terms ‘joy’ and ‘community’ for the feel-good factor and underscored their inclusive approach (everyone) and accessibility (across every device). They also included the following blurb below the headline, which provides a concise overview of what the release is about:

“Legendary games, immersive interactive entertainment and publishing expertise accelerate growth in Microsoft’s Gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud.”

In contrast with most acquisition press releases that often feature a little too heavily on the dry and technical business aspects, this is a great example of a business announcement that’s relatable and easy to digest.

8. Include insightful or inspiring quotes

Quotes offer context and perspective. They add a meaningful personal touch to the press release, especially when they’re from the management team or the CEO of the company. Thoughtful quotes underscore the significance of the news being presented and provide a useful way to shape the narrative.

Returning to the example of HEINZ, of course, their press release featured a colourful and illustrative quote that makes us immediately want to get our hands on a delicious burger and slather it with HEINZ ketchup!

“Here at HEINZ, we recognize the magic in making memories on burger night thanks to the way our condiments are used to create unique burger masterpieces,” said Ashleigh Gibson, Brand Director, HEINZ. “Through our ‘Art of the Burger’ contest, we are celebrating burgers everywhere, and giving the ultimate HEINZ-adorned burger maker a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

9. Provide contact details

No press release is complete without contact details for media and public enquiries. Make sure to provide the latest contact information for the respective person in charge, which includes their full name, email address, and phone number. Your website URL and social media handles should also be included for easy reference.

10. End with a simple but concise boilerplate summary

Make it easy for journalists and readers to get a quick introduction to your business. The boilerplate summary often featured at the bottom of a press release acts as a quick ‘About Us’ overview used across a company’s marketing materials.

As always, keep it simple, concise, and relevant, like Happsy:

About Happsy: 

Happsy is an online mattress brand focused exclusively on offering high-quality, certified organic mattresses and bedding at affordable prices. All Happsy mattresses, toppers and other bedding products are certified to the rigorous organic and non-toxic standards of the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and MADE SAFE. Produced in the U.S., Happsy uses the highest quality materials without ever using adhesives, flame retardant chemicals or synthetic foams, and is a Climate Neutral Certified company. Learn more at Happsy.com.”

Before Issuing Your Press Release

Once you’ve completed the draft of your press release, make sure to proofread it thoroughly and edit it as much as necessary. Share it with a few trusted colleagues or friends for an objective perspective. The goal is to ensure that it’s easy to understand and interesting enough to keep the reader engaged throughout.

You might be surprised at how valuable unbiased feedback can be in helping you improve the clarity and effectiveness of your message. When you’ve created the best possible version of it, it’s time to get it published!

A 4-Step Checklist for Publishing Press Releases

Now that you’ve learned how to write a press release that will keep readers engaged, make sure you check the following boxes to ensure it’s actually published!

At the start of this post, we pointed out the key criterion for getting your press release published and read by your audience: relevance, and it’s only fitting that we end by stressing the same point. To ensure maximum exposure for your carefully crafted press release, do the following:

  • 1. Send it to relevant journalists.

It might take less effort to blast a press release to any and all journalists, but the blanket approach also yields a much lower take-up rate compared to sending it to a carefully curated list of journalists who are focused on covering your industry or niche. Pro tip: personalise your pitch to each journalist you’re contacting so you stand out from the hundreds of pitches they receive.

  • 2. Send out your release a day before.

To allow journalists sufficient time to craft a great story for your release, send it to them a day before the official release, under embargo. This ensures the news won’t be released until the specified date and time.

  • 3. Avoid publishing your release on the hour.

Since most companies tend to schedule their releases on the hour, e.g. 3.00 p.m. or 5.00 p.m., your press release might get lost if it’s a busy news day. Opt for a less conventional time, e.g. 3.23 p.m. or 5.18 p.m., to ensure maximum visibility.

  • 4. Spread the word on your media coverage.

Once your press release has gone out, keep the buzz going by sharing the media coverage on your digital and social media channels. This will generate additional awareness and interest in your news, giving your brand added visibility.

It takes a targeted approach with careful planning to craft a well-written press release and get it published, but this how-to guide sets you on the right track to success. For professional guidance and help producing an effective PR campaign, talk to us about your needs and requirements!

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