1. Use a Clear and Informative Headline
With blog posts, you’ll usually implement many different techniques to capture attention. Take a look at this post’s title, for example – it’s descriptive, but we also provide extra information about what you’ll get (i.e. a press release template.) This is great for blog posts, but not so much for a press release given the target reader will need to sort through hundreds of similar emails.
The best way to grab a journalist’s attention is to summarize your press release within its title. Here are a few examples of real press release titles we like:
TV Ears Unveils the First Senior-Friendly HDTV at Consumer Electronics Show.
The Powerline Group Announces New College Scholarship Program For Long Island and National Students.
Day Translations Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary.
Each of these press releases describes exactly what the content will discuss. If you’re used to writing ‘clickbaity’ titles, it’s a habit you need to get out of when writing a press release.
We also recommend you keep post titles relatively short most of the time. This way, they’ll show up in their entirety within the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). However, you should look to include as much detail as you can offer within your titles. It’s a hard balance to get right.
2. Get People’s Attention With Your First Paragraph
It’s an unfortunate truth, but many readers of your content don’t actually do anything of the sort. Studies suggest online readers skim a lot – in other words, they jump from one section to another and are only concerned with the specific information they’re searching for.
In practice, this means you need to make an extra effort to engage readers, especially for your press releases. When you write a press release, you need to provide all of the most pertinent information. There are five key elements to cover:
Who your press release is about.
What the core subject of the press release is.
When the events within the press release will occur.
Where your news, event, or promotion will take place.
Why readers should be interested, or why the press release is newsworthy.
There’s a lot to cover, but you’re helped due to a press release simply containing facts. In contrast, other types of content usually need a narrative of some kind. What’s more, you don’t necessarily have to write in the order we’ve presented. For example, check out this example opener:
New York, Nov. 5, 2018. The Handsome Puppy Shelter will be holding an adoption drive on November 10th, 2018. The initiative is spearheaded by John and Jane Doe, who run the shelter and will organize the event. The drive will take place at the Nepperhan Community Center (342 Warburton Avenue), and it’s a great opportunity if you’re looking to find a forever home for ‘Man’s Best Friend.’
You’ll notice we presented the five points in the best order on this occasion. Each press release is different, so you feel free to play around with the structure. Also, depending on what your news is, it may not be necessary to hit all five of those elements, and they may even be a little abstract. For example, if there isn’t going to a physical event, the ‘where’ is irrelevant. However, you may want to provide company location details to tie the press release to local news outlets.
3. Include Quotes Whenever Possible
Many journalists love quotes because they give social proof and a more personal touch to their stories. Take a look at this snippet from the example near the beginning of this article. You’ll notice part of the second paragraph is a quote from bank President:
“We are proud to celebrate 80 years of business. We’ve been fortunate to have a great team that has served generations of families in north Alabama. We are grateful for the relationships we have with our customers, and the trust they place in us. They have a lot of options these days, so it is not something we take for granted” says Gates Little, President of The Southern Bank Company.
The quote could easily feature in the full news article. Plus, it includes information about where the quote came from, which saves the editor more time on research.
As far as quotes go, you’ll usually want to stick to people from within your business. Preferably, this person will be someone with authority and relevancy, as they’ll need to give some insight about the news you’re trying to share.
4. Add Some Boilerplate Information About Your Business
Unless you’re well-known, the recipients of your press release will have little idea of what your business does. Ideally, your press release’s first paragraph will take care of this somewhat with the ‘who’ element. However, it’s always a good practice to devote part of your press release to giving a basic introduction to your business.
You’ll normally add ‘boilerplate’ information to the end of the press release, and it should be even more factual and formal than your press release’s body copy. For the uninitiated, here’s a quick example of what we mean:
The Handsome Puppy Shelter is a non-profit organization based in Yonkers that rescues dogs from the streets, provides veterinarian assistance, and regularly holds drives to foster adoption. The shelter is run by John and Jane Doe. For more information, visit puppyshelter.com, or email email@example.com
The goal here is to provide all of the most basic information for whoever’s tasked with reading the press release. A decent journalist will often still carry out further research, but including this information is still considered good practice.