What is a Press Release?

In short, a press release is a documented created by a company to share pertinent information with the media. It is a brief document, that describes the who, what, when, where, and most importantly the why of the information you are releasing to the media. Are you releasing a new product? If so, why is it important that people know about it. Have you just raised money in a new round of funding? Why is that important and what does it mean to the public? You’re not writing a press release just to toot your own horn, you’re writing a press release because something important is happening and you think the public should know.

Length of a Press Release

Although this is not an absolute rule of thumb, a press release should be roughly a page and half including your header, boilerplate (“About Us” statement), and contact information. Reporters don’t have the time to read through overly lengthy releases, so distill your information down as much as possible. To further help the reporter, copy and paste your document into the email rather than attaching it as a file.

The Content

Is your news really news? Often times, companies send in press releases that are not relevant or aren’t newsworthy. Here a couple questions you should dive into before beginning your press release: Who will use your service, app, or product, and how does it work? Who is your audience? How can users access your service or find your product? As a follow-up to you should evaluate your answers with the following questions: Why is this different? Why should I write about his right now? Why should people care?

The Outline

This is a rough outline we use when writing our press releases. It is a good skeleton framework to begin your writing.

Press Release Outline:

  • Headline
  • Subheadline
  • First Paragraph
  • Trend-Tie in
  • Testimonial Quote
  • Call to action
  • Boilerplate

Writing the Headline

The headline is key to a great press release. We suggest that a headline be around 8-12 words. Take your time here brainstorm many different ideas. Write and re-write. Here are some good questions to ask yourself regarding your headline: Is it descriptive and intriguing? What data or information does it provide? Is it direct? Can it be shortened using punctuation?

First Paragraph

Treat the first paragraph like an executive summary – answer the who, what, when, where and why. Aim to make this paragraph around 4-5 sentences so choose your words wisely.

Trend Tie In

Connect your news to current events, why is it important right now? This is where you can pull from statistics, recent studies, or current events to show why your news is relevant.

Testimonial Quote

A testimonial quote is a great way to end your release. This quote lends credibility to the company and provides social proof to the audience.

Releasing Your Press Release on a Newswire

You’ve taken your time and written a great release. Now it’s time to release it to the wolves, or reporters, to pick up and write about. You can use any popular newswire website to do this, we have been using PRWeb as of recently to do so. Simply create an account and follow the instructions to release your press release. There are different payment options depending on who you would like to send you release to, so think wisely about this investment. And that’s it, you have successfully created and sent a press release. You can do this time and time again – it is good to trickle out news slowly over time with press releases creating constant awareness of your company.