Businesses thrive on promotion. Whether you’re a large corporation, a small startup, or a nonprofit, you need to get your brand out there for the world to see. Doing so will increase customer awareness and engagement with your business.
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A press release is one way to do that. It can boost your visibility and get people talking about your business. In fact 68% of businesses saw an increase in brand/product visibility from publishing press releases.
In this post we’ll look at what a press release is and five elements you need to make sure your next press release is a success. Let’s get started!
What is a Press Release?
Media coverage is an essential part of growing any brand. We use articles, blogs, videos, and social media to create buzz and get people talking.
A press release is written by a representative of a press release service to share important information with the public. It could announce big personnel changes, the unveiling of new research, event sponsorship agreements, product launches, or an award win.
Their purpose is to catch the attention of journalists with the hope of creating press coverage. That press coverage works as free advertising, allowing you to reach a wider audience and control your brand’s narrative at the same time.
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5 Essential Elements of a Press Release
There’s an art to writing a good press release. It needs to convey a message in an accessible, digestible way, whilst still addressing all of the information required to tell your story. There are a few elements of a press release that are a must.
So here are a few tips to help you strike that balance.
1. Be newsworthy
Before anything else, it’s important to consider one question: does this information need a press release?
Is the information important to your brand? Does it require a big announcement? Is anyone going to care?
If you’re constantly sending out press releases for the smallest things, media professionals will start marking you as spam and delegating you to their junk folder. Your future communications will never see the light of day.
Remember, a press release is PR for your brand. Make sure you have something important to say before you say it to the world.
Nobody outside of your company cares that Janet from accounting is turning 50. Don’t be the boy who cried wolf.
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2. Use the correct format
If you want to look professional, your press release should follow a format widely accepted by the media.
An eye-catching headline
Journalists read dozens of press releases every day, so yours needs to stand out. Headline is one of the elements of a press release that should grab attention and deliver your message in a highly relevant way. Anyone reading it should understand immediately what they’re getting into.
As for length, a good rule is to keep your headline within the character limit of a tweet. Journalists will frequently share news via tweets, and websites will share tweets via links or images.
The name of your company or your brand logo
A press release is all about getting the word out, so announce yourself.
This will be the first line of your press release, and it will contain the city, region, the date of your announcement, and a dash. Properly formatted, it will look something like this:
BOSTON, Mass. (May 4, 2022) –
The main content
One of the essential elements of a press release is its body. Your word count should be around 300-500 words and should be written in a professional tone, conveying information clearly and concisely. Spelling and grammatical errors look unprofessional, like you just don’t care that much; use things like spell check or a rephrasing tool to review the quality of your writing.
You want to get your point across without waffling or confusing your audience.
The paragraph that follows your main content. This is a standardized paragraph that remains consistent for every press release or article your company puts out. It’s a copy/paste bio of your brand.
Every time you use a boilerplate, that’s free advertising for your business. Tell people about yourself and what you do.
Company contact information
It’s important that people know how to contact you, whether by phone, email, or post.
3. Write content that is valuable and relevant to your audience
Journalists know to cover the five W’s (and one H): who, what, where, when, and how.
Your press release should answer those questions.
Think of it this way: the journalists you’re trying hard to grab the attention of are busy. As we mentioned earlier, they’re probably getting dozens of press releases in their inboxes every day. They might not have time to reach out to you personally.
Think about what you want them to write about, and make sure your press release contains all of that necessary information. Think about how journalists structure their articles, and provide the information to help them write a good story.
Does your announcement contain statistics? High-quality images can help your press release get noticed, so create charts or graphs that journalists can use in their articles. Does your announcement pull from reputable research sources? Include notable quotes that will make it easier for writers to grab the public’s attention.
Keep your press release short, clear, concise, and relevant to your subject. Make sure your spelling and grammar are on point. And don’t be afraid to court the media by providing information that’s SEO friendly.
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4. Provide actionable next steps
Think about what you want your press release to achieve, and have an enticing call to action that is simple to follow.
Your boilerplate should contain the best ways to contact you, and your contact details should be visible and up-to-date. If your call to action is newsletter sign-ups, provide links to subscribe. If your call to action is reading more about your brand, offer links to your website or press kit. But most importantly, if you want members of the press to contact you, give them the simplest and most direct method of doing so.
You don’t want to lose narrative control over your story. Engage your readers with your content, and then give them actionable steps towards telling that story.
5. Have an effective distribution strategy
Now that you’ve written your killer press release, you need an effective distribution strategy that you can use again and again.
Connect with the right audience
First, figure out what kind of audience you’re trying to reach. Is it the general public? If so, you’ll want to send your press release out en masse. If your industry is more niche, though, you might want to focus on more specific journalists or social media influencers.
After that, craft a good email pitch to send along with your press release. This will be the body of the email that you send to journalists. Tell them who you are, what you do, and why you’re reaching out to them. Let them know why the information you’re announcing is important to their audience, and give them simple ways to contact you for more information.
Time it right
Timing is everything, especially when it comes to getting your content noticed.
You don’t want to craft a meticulously planned press release only to have it sit for weeks in someone’s inbox.
Research shows that Thursday is the day journalists are most likely to open your press release email. The most effective time seems to be between 10am and 2pm.
But take other things into account, too. Who are you approaching? If it’s 9-5 journalists, Thursday might be your day. If you’re targeting social media influencers, look at what time they’re most active. And remember to keep time zones in mind when you’re reaching out.
Have a press kit
Every company should have a press kit.
This is a handy guide that offers details about you and your brand that wouldn’t fit into a press release or news article. These are usually located on your website and can be accessed via a link, but some businesses go a step further and create PDFs or even printed brochures.
You can create your press kit from scratch, or use online templates . However you decide to create your press kit, offer the means to access it alongside your sales pitch. It will help journalists craft their stories, as well as allowing people to learn more about you.
Analyze your strategy
Once you’ve distributed your press release, monitor its success. Use tools to check how many articles have been written about your brand, or how many social media mentions you’ve received.
Find the strengths and weaknesses of your distribution strategy and work on them to create an ironclad method you can use again and again.
Make Sure Your Next Press Release Is a Successful One
A press release is an essential tool for your brand. A good press release will spread awareness of your business, boost media coverage, and tell a good story that will make people flock to you.
Use these tips to make sure you’re utilizing every press release in the most effective way possible.
Yauhen Zaremba is the Director of Demand Generation at PandaDoc, an all-in-one document workflow platform to streamline, create, and use ready made templates including this PandaDoc indemnification agreement. He’s been a marketer for 10+ years, and for the last five years, he’s been entirely focused on the electronic signature, proposal, and document management markets. Yauhen has experience speaking at niche conferences where he enjoys sharing his expertise with other curious marketers. And in his spare time, he is an avid fisherman and takes nearly 20 fishing trips every year.