How to Write a Press Release the Right Way

by Susan Gunelius on February 4, 2011
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Writing a press release is unlike other forms of marketing communications. That’s because a press release is not a direct marketing tool. It’s an indirect marketing tool that helps you promote your business by spreading interesting news about your company. The biggest mistake you can make in writing a press release is to create a sales piece rather than a news piece.

Follow the template below to write a press release the right way, and we think you’ll find more people will read it, talk about it, and share it.

Here’s how your press release should look:

  • An interesting headline. Write a headline that captures the attention of journalists, clients, and anyone else who sees it. The headline is your opportunity to intrigue people and make them want to learn more about your interesting news. Keep your headline to a single line, include your company name, but leave out the LLC, Inc., or other terms that clutter your headline. Try to include target keywords in your title for search engine optimization.
  • A descriptive subhead. While a subhead is not a press release requirement, it does give you an opportunity to add some spice to your story, which could intrigue more people to keep reading. Again, include keywords for SEO purposes.
  • A succinct lead paragraph. The first paragraph of your press release should deliver the meat of your story quickly and clearly. Keep it short. A couple of sentences should be all you need to get the main point of your press release across to readers. Try to use your target keywords again at least twice in your lead paragraph. Remember, your press release should be written in the third-person. That means no “you” or “I” in the release except within quotes!
  • A clarifying second paragraph. The second paragraph is where you can expound on the who, what, where, when, and why delivered in the lead paragraph. Give supporting details (with keywords) that fill out the gaps left in the succinct lead paragraph so readers get the complete story.
  • A supporting body. The body of your press release should be one or two paragraphs that include quotes from key people within your business or related to the story as well as any quantifying evidence that supports the story. Any marketing pitches can be included within the quotes, and this is where you can use the first or second person. Don’t forget your keywords!
  • A concise boilerplate. All press releases should end with a paragraph about your business that clearly tells what your company does, but, again, avoid including sales pitches within this paragraph. However, you can and should include your company’s website address, awards your company has won, and similar useful pieces of information. Try to keep your press release to a single page or a single page with the boilerplate extending to a second page. The longer your press release is, the less likely people will read it in its entirety. Brevity is best.

That’s all there is to it. Remember that you need to write like a journalist reporting on a story rather than a company marketing a product or service and you’ll stay on the right track.

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