How To: Write a Press Release
As its name suggests, a press release is a document released to the media announcing something newsworthy — whether it’s an event, activity, new campaign, product launches, research release, managing crises, announcing a policy position, or a new hire.
Companies across many industries put out press releases everyday in the hopes of grabbing media attention and garnering press coverage, but what steps can you take to make your press release stand out? Media reporters, bookers, assignment editors inboxes are flooded daily, standing out and making it easy for the media goes a long way.
Consider these tips:
- Keep your headline short-and-sweet. Have you heard that the human attention span is now shorter than a goldfish’s? That statistics may be debatable, but, chances are, if your release’s headline is too long or too complex, media will tune you out (aka delete your release pitch) before even opening your release to get to the body and meat of the release. Remember to keep it catchy and relevant to your media targets to engage them.
- Make your hook newsworthy. A reporter will be more likely to report on your release if it is connected to a story already in the news. Think about the news cycle like a wave – you never surf on flat water (you won’t get anywhere!) and want to ride the wave while it’s high (high demand). For example, if you put out a release on the impact of inflation on holiday shopping, it’s unlikely the piece is going to gain much traction if you publish it over the summer!
- Keep it relatively short — tight! You want to provide enough detail, but also keep the content short and sweet — the sweet spot is 600 words or less. Readers are looking for information and quick answers; the important details should be covered right away in your headline or first paragraph, so lead with the “why”. On average, press release length is around 686 words. We see a sharp drop off in time spent on the page as the press release gets longer.
- Incorporate a killer quote. It is in your best interest to always include a quote in your release. The quote should summarize your main point since it’s the portion of the release most likely to be included in a reporter’s story. Your quote should stand out and provide a different point of view (POV) than others, or move a story along.
- Multimedia is essential. Visual content draws more attention to your story and drives more engagement. Give them something they can use. A press release with photos drives more than double the click-throughs when compared to a text-only press release. Unable to find a multimedia asset to include with your news? Look on your affiliated company’s website and social channels.
- Limit the number of hyperlinks. Limit the number of hyperlinks throughout your press release. Google recommends 1-3 unique links, make sure not to duplicate any. When you include too many links, it can be overwhelming to the reader. By keeping it to 1-3 total, it better directs the reader to your call to action and what you want them to click next.
- Don’t forget the date and contact details. If the reporter has a question or wants additional information, they need to know who to contact. Email is standard, but a phone number works too.