I’ve assembled some press release samples and some of the best expert advice on how to get media attention with a well-written press release. Think the press release is a thing of the past? Think again. Press releases are still the standard way to communicate with media outlets about an event, a person or topic of interest. Their purpose: to make a story go viral. Don’t overlook this valuable tool.
A press release will help you get the word out and boost your content marketing efforts. But you need to write them well – so they do their job.
Here’s what the experts have to say:
1. Press Release Samples: Learn The Do’s and Don’ts
A 2016 Forbes article tells us the process of writing a press release is “simple but not easy.” There’s a difference between press releases that do the job and those that don’t. What makes the difference is the intent when writing the press release.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “What’s in it for me?” This holds true with press releases. You must offer a reason for a journalist to publish your story.
On average, reporters can receive as many as 500 to 1,000 emails a day. That’s why your headline must state exactly what the press release is about. In fact, one journalist states he deletes emails after about .5 seconds when reading the subject line.
A previous Forbes article offers some do’s and don’ts from journalists:
- Attach the press release in a Word or pdf document.
- Include the press release as a hyperlink to a press release posted online.
- Use all caps – it looks like your shouting.
- Use dense and tedious language.
- Confuse with acronyms.
- Oversell with words like “groundbreaking,” unless it truly is that.
- Send the same press release many times to the same journalist.
- “Speak to everybody and appeal to nobody.”
- Get straight to the point in your subject line and in your first paragraph.
- Address the reporter personally.
- Spell their name correctly.
- Speak directly. Say what it is. Say why it’s timely and important.
- Share other resources, such as links to websites with more information.
- Make the key takeaway clear.
- Send relevant information. A journalist who covers science and technology does not want a press release about real estate.
- Provide context to the story so the reader understands what it really means.
- Show that you understand the publication and the type of stories they cover.
- Provide detailed information on who to contact and make sure you will be able to reply immediately.
2. Follow PR Web’s Editorial Best Practices & Press Release Samples
To demonstrate, the Editorial Guidelines for News Releases over at PRWeb give us best practices, complete with press release samples. When writing your press release, follow these guidelines to make sure you do it right:
Just because something is happening does not mean it’s news. Make sure your announcement is timely and relevant. State the key point clearly in the headline.
Avoid using personal pronouns such as “you,” “I,” or “we” as this implies the content is an advertisement rather than a news release. In the same way, refrain from making exaggerated product/service claims, or using adjectives such as “amazing.” Any forms of hype diminish the credibility of your announcement.
If you’re writing about legal matters such as court cases or criminal matters, you’ll need to reference case numbers, complaint numbers, etc.
Make sure to include a valid phone number and email address of the company issuing the press release. Don’t use an email address that you don’t check often. If a journalist contacts you about your news release, you’ll want to respond right away.
You must have permission from a company executive. For example, if you are an independent representative of a network marketing company, you’ll need to obtain written consent from a company executive before distributing a press release.
Your press release must be between 300 and 800 words. Stay within the standard length for a press release. Anything that is too short or too long might not be indexed well in search engines. In the same way, limit the length of your Summary Paragraph to one or two sentences.
It must be free of spelling and grammar errors. Proofread everything.
It must be written entirely in English. Make sure to define any industry jargon or acronyms so the reader can understand what you’re talking about.
Include your business name as the news source in the headline. This is you or your company, not a marketing firm or other agency acting on your behalf. You must state clearly how you or your business relates to the announcement.
3. Use The Correct Press Release Format
The correct style and formatting for your press release are important so that journalists view it as credible. We again turn to the experts at PR Web on how to format a press release. Here’s what’s included in a properly written press release:
Your headline needs to clearly state what your announcement is about so it captures attention within .5 seconds. Keep the length to 170 characters or less so that is clear and concise.
This paragraph should be italicized. Briefly explain what the release is about. It should be no more than one or two sentences. This is where you answer, “What is the main point?” and “Why is this newsworthy?”
Location and Date Line
You’ll open the press release with a new paragraph below the summary. It always begins with the city and state of your business and the date of the announcement – in the month, day, year format.
Following the location and date, on the same line, add a dash with a space on each side. Then begin writing your announcement. It will be about 2-3 paragraphs, single-spaced, with one line between each paragraph. Each paragraph should be just a few sentences and cover one topic.
Here you’ll provide a basic overview of the facts about your company.
Include the contact information of who is issuing the press release. Specify the name of the person, phone number, email address, links to social media and company website URL.
4. Use Press Release Samples and Templates As Your Guide
To simplify the process, here are some press release samples and templates you can use when writing your own press releases:
Press release samples make it easy. Here’s an easy to follow basic sample press release template.
All things considered, press releases can be highly effective for instant exposure – when you write them effectively. If you want to get the message out to the world about your business, new book, new product, upcoming event, don’t overlook the all-important press release.
I recommend PR Web’ Press Release Distribution Service where they help you reach 30,000 journalists, bloggers, and influencers. (I do make a small referral fee for recommending their services.)
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