How to Write a Press Release: A 5-Step Formula

So, you want to announce something new and exciting about your business, your event, or little ole you? Time to write a press release. PRs have been around for a while. They’re in newspapers, heard on the radio, and seen on tv. More importantly, in this new millennium, you better believe they’re online.

If that has your gut squirming, relax. First-timers may find writing a press release intimidating, but here’s the secret: there’s a formula.

Writing a Press Release in 5 Easy Steps

That’s right, there’s no need to fret. If you want to know how to write a press release, you just follow these 5 steps.

1. Write a Catchy PR Headline

Readers are flooded with messages and promises from bloggers, journalists and media every day. If your headline isn’t dynamic (catchy but short), then your PR will just be another press release lost in the background.

A good headline should be about 70 characters or less, ready for that quick scan people are willing to give it. It should captivate and pull the reader in, make them want to read more.
Do that and you have something special, something that’ll not only get you views and page clicks but will also be perfect for sharing on social media.

2. Get to the Point

Once you knock out that perfect, dynamic headline, it’s time to write the bulk of your press release. Problem is, your audience still isn’t hooked. Sure, the headline was enough to get them to read further, but now you need to maintain their interest.

Try summarizing what you want to say in your first paragraph. It gives the audience a taste of what’s to come and drives the hook in more so you can reel them in.

Think of it this way: have you ever been hungry? Well, imagine you’re hungry and you smell food cooking. It doesn’t matter what’s in the oven, you can’t get it off your mind. Your saliva glands go into overdrive, your stomach growls, and your brain can hardly focus on anything else. You want it on your plate, want it gliding over your tongue, want it filling your gut. That’s exactly what your opening paragraph should do for your readers.

Pro tip: don’t repeat your headline yet. Have you ever tried to define a word with the word? That’s what you’re doing when you repeat your headline. Don’t do that.

3. Make it Sexy

Press releases are short. They’re meant to be. They get in and out, engaging the reader, telling the story, and exiting, leaving them wanting more. You need to use your words carefully.
The good news is that our world is a visual world. A specifically designed or chosen image or video press release will push your point home, draw more eyes, and keep readers (and potential customers) entertained.

Even statistics compiled into a graph or chart will improve the message of the PR and draw your readers in. Remember, when you’re short on words, a picture or video is worth 1000 of them.

4. Make Your Audience Care

Here’s a hard truth about press releases: no matter how much work you put into them, no matter how perfectly crafted they are, if a PR doesn’t focus on its audience, it’s going to fail.

Want to engage your audience? Make them care, and to do that you need to think about who you’re speaking to, what they like, what they dislike, and their specific interests. Research your audience ahead of time and address your PR specifically to them. What do parents really want to hear? What about teenagers, or middle age men? Is your PR about meeting their needs or about providing a release from the routine? Understand your audience and you’ll be successful.

As an added bonus, if your PR includes social media links, readers will direct it to their friends (more people in your target audience), who’ll pass it on to their friends. That translates to more eyes on your PR – AKA more success.

5. Be Professional

Finally, keep it professional. I know, I know, sometimes you want to make it fun, funny, or nonchalant, but if you do, you risk distributing a PR that won’t get picked up by media outlets.

So, keep using that spell checker and make sure your grammar is on point. Re-read it out loud to make sure it flows well. Above all else, edit, edit, edit. Make it sparkle and shine. Nothing turns off a reader or customer faster than a misspelled word.

Bonus

Okay, I know I said 5 steps, but I figure that nobody will complain about a couple of extra tips.

Keywords
Use keywords to help optimize search results for your PRs. I’d suggest playing the odds and putting together some long-tail keywords. For example, San Francisco Emergency Veterinarians as opposed to just Emergency Veterinarians.

Quotes
Including at least one quote in your PR will often help for a number of reasons. First, it will confirm your expertise in your field. This is pretty important since no one wants to be swindled by a snake oil salesman. Your readers will want to know that you know what you’re talking about and that your PR is valid. Second, it gives the press release a human touch, and allows for using the first person and pronouns in your PR. Suddenly, your PR isn’t just words on a screen, now they’re from another person, an honest-to-goodness, flesh and blood human being. A quote, in this case, and especially in the form of a testimony, helps to build familiarity and trust. It’s a win-win.

So, you want to write a press release, huh? Well, all you need to do is follow these 5 easy steps and you’re on your way:

Use a Catchy Headline
Get to the Point
Make it Sexy
Make Your Audience Care
Be Professional

A press release is the cornerstone of your marketing strategy. Though the idea of a press release has been around for some time, it has really evolved with technological advances of the new millennium. No need to get nervous, just follow the steps above and check out how prREACH can help you write an amazing press release today.

 

 

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