Whether you’re trying your hand at PR copy for the first time or have been in the game for years, a big part of your writing routine is bound to involve press releases. Essentially, a press release is an official statement related to a specific update that an organisation wants to share with the outside world. It could be a financial announcement, an advisory, a product launch announcement or a breaking news piece.
As the cornerstone of the PR world, a press release can make or break the impact an announcement has, which is why ‘how to write a press release’ is one of the most-searched- for queries in the business. We’ve previously shared tips on how to write good copy and what books to read to amp up your PR game. Here, we share our top tips on crafting simple yet compelling press releases that publications will be glad to run.
- Choose the right angle – Your angle is the perspective that your press release takes, which determines who your key audience will be. For instance, you could be writing about an acquisition, but are you focusing on the fact that a major brand name bought out a start-up that originated in a garage? Or on the fact that the amount in question is a record-breaking sum? Or on the fact that the acquisition is one of many that comprise the big brand’s new expansion campaign? You can still end up including the same set of facts, but the angle you pick will make a big difference on the impact your press release has. If you need to, therefore, write the same press release from different angles to attract multiple audiences.
- Have a strong opener – You probably don’t need us to tell you that an attention- grabbing headline is crucial for any press release. But did you know that your opening paragraph needs to be just as impactful? Stick to one or two sentences and use your opener to state the key fact that the press release is talking about, with power words as necessary. Your opener sets the tone for the rest of the piece, so be sure it encapsulates the angle you’ve picked.
- Follow a consistent structure – With the barrage of media updates put out every day, journalists have many calls on their limited time. That’s why it’s vital to follow the standard press release structure, namely, headline-opener-source-essentials-quotes- contact-boilerplate. This allows journalists to know straight away whether your press release is something they want to cover or not. It also portrays you as an experienced PR writer who knows the value of time.
- Keep it brief – Apart from a lack of structure, there’s nothing that puts off journalists quite as much as rambling content. Keep your sentences strictly on point and break up your content into paragraphs for better readability. Your entire press release should ideally fit into a single Microsoft Word/Google Docs page.
- Don’t skip the sources – Press releases are all about facts, and including external sources adds legitimacy to what you’re saying. If you’re mentioning a statistic or date, cite the source and add a link to it. Other news articles, moreover, don’t count as sources. Stick to official company documents or industry reports.
- Include meaningful quotes – A press release is a piece of reportage. As such, it needs to have quotes from the actual stakeholders involved. Quotes about future plans and expressions of confidence in the product/event are always a good idea. Stick to two or three quotes and weave them throughout the press release.
- End with a boilerplate – It’s safe to assume that anyone reading your press release would like some background on the company you’re writing about, especially if they haven’t encountered the name before. Have a boilerplate of about three to five sentences with the salient facts on what the company does and where they can be reached. It’s best to ask the company whether they have their own pre-drafted summary that they’d like to use in PR pieces. You can always tweak it for conciseness should you need to.
At the end of the day, your press release should read authentically, and that’s where being concise helps so much. Stick to the main points, cut out the jargon and let the impact of your announcement do the talking. Need some expert input? Reach out to us at Star Squared PR. We’ve been delivering top-notch PR content for years and would love to help.