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How to write an effective press release

How to Write a Successful Press Release

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Seamless communication on timely matters shouldn’t be complicated, especially for a business owner.

With much of the world and business niches moving toward a more digitally-driven mindset, it is hard to fathom that a press release is still the best way to relay important information.

The truth is, even with social media on the throne of instant communication, press releases are still very much a thing—an important thing at that. 

So, the next time you have something to share, ask yourself, “should we write a press release?”

The answer is a resounding “Yes.”

Despite the push for a more social media-centered world, consumers still view press releases as one of the most reliable and trustworthy sources of brand information. This is especially true when releasing new or important business details that one wouldn’t usually find or trust on social media.

What's more, consistently distributing press releases to the right media outlets allows your business to build credibility with your target market.

The best part is that you can combine the two for even greater leverage.

Businesses that use social media to promote their press releases further boost traffic to their website, build search engine traffic, increase public relations, and extend their brand footprint.

In this blog post, you’ll learn:

  • Why press releases are needed
  • When to use press releases
  • How to write an effective press release
  • How to distribute, share and repurpose your press release for maximum exposure across all digital channels

Why Do I Need a Press Release?

A press release is a quick and efficient content tool used to generate publicity about a newsworthy event or topic objectively and unbiasedly.

Publishing press releases for both the business and the consumer has many benefits.

They are one of the best ways a business can control the narrative during a large-scale change.

Press releases remove speculation, build trust, and establish one primary source of accurate information in a timely and effective manner.

Other benefits of press releases include:

  • Free promotion on different news channels, blog posts, or publications
  • Increased website traffic
  • Boosted rankings in Google News
  • Improved company trust and credibility
  • A more established brand footprint in your respective niche
  • Exclusivity that cannot be obtained with standard social media posts

As a growing brand, learning how to write an effective press release:

  • increases your expertise
  • boosts your authority
  • grows your customer base by creating a sense of trustworthiness

When Should I Use a Press Release?

Now that we understand the benefits of using a press release, knowing precisely when to use one is vital.

As a general rule of thumb, a press release is a great way to leverage information quickly and efficiently to reveal something new or newsworthy.

In general, the term “newsworthiness” refers to a topic that captures the attention of both media publications and your target audience.

Press releases are time sensitive and include relevant and impactful information that could directly affect people in your local community or region.

How Do I Know Which Topics Are Newsworthy?

There can sometimes be a fine line between newsworthy and flop-worthy information. Something you think is important to share may not resonate with your target audience and local media, so it's essential to discuss your ideas with your marketing and communications team before implementation.

Generally, if you have an update, announcement, or message, ensuring it's interesting enough to engage your audience is crucial.

While newsworthy topics can vary based on niche and target audience, there are ten topics we believe make the cut for press releases:

  1. New products or services
  2. Milestones, specials, or promotions
  3. Events and charity work
  4. Grand openings, new locations, or expansions
  5. New partnerships
  6. Rebranding
  7. New staff, promotions, executive promotions, or employment opportunities
  8. Awards, recognitions, and certifications
  9. Current events relevant to your business
  10. Human interest stories

If your topic fits into one of these ten categories, you can green-light it and begin to write the press release.

How Do I Write a Successful Press Release? 

If you’re hoping for a step-by-step process for writing a successful press release, you’re in the right place.

A press release follows a strict format, so there is only one correct way to write a press release from start to finish.

Let’s explore the steps to writing a successful newsworthy press release below.

1. Write an eye-catching headline

A press release aims to capture your audience's attention immediately.

Your headline should be short, sweet, and straight to the point while also compelling. It should spark someone's interest enough that they want to learn more.

Use action verbs to get your point across while drawing in the reader.

2. Be upfront in your first paragraph

Like most content pieces, your press release should be broken down into paragraphs. Similar to a news article, the most critical and timely information should be in your first paragraph.

In the first paragraph, do:

  • Identify the city, state, and date to help the reader quickly identify its timeliness. Place this information in parentheses before the first sentence in your first paragraph.
  • Follow the pertinent details with a first paragraph that fully outlines the scope of your newsworthy press release.
  • Make your first paragraph 1-2 sentences that answer the five “W’s” and one “H” (who, what, when, where, why, and how). Answering all six questions ensures the reader quickly gets the information they want.
  • Include detailed and supporting facts.
  • Avoid packing the paragraph with too much extra fluff in the form of adjectives and lesser important, more minor details.
  • Don’t make your paragraph too lengthy; aim for four sentences max.

3. Use the remaining paragraphs to add supporting detail

The goal of the remaining body copy is to complement the first paragraph with more detailed supporting facts.

The second paragraph expands on the first paragraph and provides additional background information on the newsworthy topic. The second paragraph also covers any of the five W’s and one H that were not covered in the first paragraph.

The third, fourth, and remaining paragraphs will continue to include additional supporting information.

When writing out the body copy, break up big paragraphs with bullet points or numbered lists where appropriate.

The last paragraph should comprehensively summarize the information provided and include a call to action (CTA). Some of the most popular CTAs include:

  • Contact Us
  • Learn More
  • Share With Others
  • Buy Now

14 Press Release Best Practices

  1. Use your company letterhead on all press releases for formality and brand recognition.
  2. Write an engaging headline. Aim for a two hundred eighty characters limit but remember that Google search results only display the first 55-70 characters, so choose your words wisely.
  3. Include your company name in the headline.
  4. Choose a perspective that will matter to your target audience.
  5. Always write in first-person.
  6. Double-space.
  7. Add keywords and supporting keywords for better search engine optimization.
  8. Keep bullet points to one to three sentences.
  9. Write simple, short sentences.
  10. Do not include marketing jargon that takes away from the goal of the press release.
  11. Include valuable background information.
  12. Add relevant images, videos, and links.
  13. Before sending, review for spelling and grammar.
  14. Always include your contact information at the end.

6 SEO Best Practices for Press Releases

Now that you know how to write a successful press release, it is important to understand how to integrate SEO for higher visibility and conversion.

Here are our top six ways to incorporate SEO into your press release:

  1. Conduct competitive research. Search for and emulate competitor press releases that cover similar topics.
  2. Include keywords. Keywords are the best way for others to find your press release online. Research relevant keywords and include them in your title, headings, and paragraphs. When adding them throughout your content, ensure it is done naturally so that the press release doesn't sound robotic or fake.
  3. Bold and hyperlink the first SEO keywords. This tactic helps to boost your organic SEO rankings and increases clicks.
  4. Include relevant content within the first 250 words. Placing the most relevant content at the beginning of your text helps search engine algorithms understand the intent of your press release, allowing humans to access it more easily.
  5. Don’t shy away from links. A press release is the same as a paid link in the eyes of Google AI. Including certain links in press releases can be spam, leading to unnecessary content flags. When adding links, make sure that you:
    • Do include one navigational link leading to your main website.
    • Do not include transactional links; instead, use clear attributes such as rel="nofollow" or rel="sponsored" to alert search engines they are not solely to boost SEO.
  6. Don’t forget the importance of keywords for images. Include keywords in file names, captions, and photo alt text to help Google understand your image and how it is tied into your press release.

How to Publish and Distribute Your Press Release

Once you’ve completed your press release, it is imperative that you distribute, share, and repurpose it in a helpful way—for both you and your target audience.

Here are three important tips that can lead to maximum exposure for your company:

1. Use a viable press release distribution service.

Selecting the right distribution service is crucial in extending your reach, especially when your press release pertains to industry or niche-specific content.

When deciding on a distribution service, consider and weigh these factors in your final decision. Are they:

  • Industry-specific?
  • Reasonable with pricing?
  • Able to provide extensive reporting?
  • Well-known? Do they have a list of media outlets readily available?

You will also want to choose a distributor that has:

  • Knowledge and understanding of your target audience
  • Extra features such as customizable and interactive content and multimedia capabilities
  • A customer-centric support system that can help with technical and editorial support
  • Search and SEO visibility
  • A secure and easy-to-use platform

2. Add published press releases to your website.

Once your press release is published, it is essential to post a summary on your website.

This small but vital action will:

  • Support SEO efforts
  • Increase website traffic
  • Improve domain authority
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Boost conversion rates

3. Use the power of social media and email to get the word out.

Just as important as your website, social media posts about your press release are crucial to extending your reach, sharing information with a broader range of your target audience, and boosting brand awareness.

If your post is interesting and valuable to your social media following, they will share it with others, boosting your word-of-mouth brand awareness and consumer gain.

Sharing your press release via email to a targeted group of current and potential clients will help to keep your business top of mind and up to date on all happenings.

Both email and social media content have been linked to more profound site traffic and higher conversion rates across all markets.

How Can I Repurpose & Share My Press Release?

The broadest answer is that it is up to you.

While there is always the option to write and distribute your press release on your own, resources like a PR firm can effectively help maximize your exposure, especially when facing a crisis or business-changing event or wanting more long-term and consistent coverage of the newsworthy situation.

Whether you decide to go with a PR firm or not, here are some practical ways to repurpose your press release:

  • Contact notable publications.
    While some journalists and news channels may see your press release on release day, it's always best to email your favorite publications and journalists beforehand. Consider what publications could benefit from the newsworthy message you plan to output and give them the heads up before it’s released.

This will allow them ample time to prepare for the news. The extra time also allows them to ask questions and plan a feature for your business leading to maximum exposure.

  • Share positive media coverage.
    Good news is meant to be shared. Even if you’ve already shared your press release on social media, via email, and on your website, always re-share any media coverage you receive. This draws higher website traffic and continues to spread the news long after the initial release.
  • Dedicate a blog post to your press release.
    Once your press release has been distributed, you can post a news summary on your blog.

This strategy allows you to send your current and potential client base a targeted email and include links to essential media coverage you want to highlight.

Blogs are less limiting than press releases, so it is the perfect opportunity to share and expand on the points that you mentioned within the press release. It is also a great time to direct blog visitors to other important pages on your website.,

When blogging, ensure you utilize the exact SEO-rich keywords you had in your press release. It will drive more traffic to your website, improving domain authority and increasing brand recognition.

Final Thoughts

Press releases are an essential part of your content marketing strategy.

Whether you’re hoping to spread newsworthy information on a new product launch, rebrand, or a company announcement, press releases are the best way to ensure the news reaches a large portion of your target audience.

Follow these best practices to write and distribute your next press release.

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