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Alert the Media! How to Write a Press Release

You’re launching a new product, opening a new store, or promoting a team member to an important position. It’s time to alert the media. After posting on social media and networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and wherever else you’re active, don’t forget to write the press release.

It may sound old-school, but a press release is essential to your publicity efforts. It gives you more room to tell your story than the short bits that social media limits you to. Snapchat and Twitter are snackable content; the press release is the full meal.

That doesn’t mean you get to stuff yourself. You must still be concise, to the point, and appealing to your audience. Think weeknight dinner, not Thanksgiving feast.

How do you entice your audience – in this case, the media – with what you’re serving?

The 5 Steps for Writing an Attention-Getting Press Release

1. Create a simple, direct header and subhead.

It should be intriguing but state the facts clearly. Your goal is to give the reader the big news, not to be clever or cute. For example, “XYZ Company Announces Record 10% Growth in Third Quarter,” not “XYZ Company Has Most Amazing Quarter Ever!”

The subhead will expand on the header. Such as “President Jane Smith cites new products, expanded markets and reenergized sales staff as key drivers.”

Aim for 7-10 words for the main header and maybe 15-20 in the subhead. The header is usually written in all caps and boldfaced, with the subhead in regular sentence case.

2. Organize the body of the release like a news story.

Give the 5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where and Why.

  • First paragraph: Summarize the most important facts; you can rephrase the information in the header and subhead, but try a different spin.
  • Second paragraph: Add a quote from a company executive or other authoritative representative – but not your public relations or media rep. The PR rep is strictly for giving information and connecting interview subjects.
  • Succeeding paragraphs: Details of the information you’ve introduced.

Keep your sentences short; forget the fluff and just state the facts. Bullet points will help you make your points concisely while adding visual interest.

No jargon, please: Google likes natural language.

3. Wrap up with an offer of assistance.

Offer interviews, research, images (high-res for print), whatever would serve. Publications and media platforms love images, so you’ll raise your chances of getting coverage if you can offer them.

4. End with an informative About boilerplate.

Make this 100 words or less. It’s tempting to go on and on about how great your company is, but the longer your About copy, the less room you have to tell the story in the main release.

5. Create an intriguing email subject line.

You’ll be competing for your target’s attention with a lot of other email, so come up with something that would make your target open and read yours. Something vague and general like “News from x” won’t cut it. A revised version of your header will work, but don’t just repeat it.

Ready to send? Not yet

Don’t hit “Send” without thoroughly proofreading and reviewing your copy. Read it like a reader. Ask yourself honestly, if you got this in your inbox, would you even open it?

Make sure you’ve kept your release simple and concise. Your goal is to inform, not to brag. If your media targets don’t understand what you’re saying, they’re not likely to finish reading your release, let alone write about you.