How To Write a GREAT Press Release
As a Strictly Business reader, you’ve already come across numerous press releases and gathered tons of important information from them. A press release by definition is an official statement issued to press outlets giving information on a particular matter that’s newsworthy. As such, the way you present the information will make all the difference in how it is received and remembered—your ultimate goal is to stand out from the crowd, capture the attention of the reader, and deliver information that is of value to your audience. Writing a press release may be intimidating if you’ve never done it before or don’t know the common guidelines or “rules of the road,” but we can assure you, once you get the hang of it, promoting all of the fantastic things you have to share with the world will be a breeze!
To write a truly GREAT press release there are some key guidelines that you’ll need to follow and we’ve covered them below!
So first thing’s first, why are press releases important anyhow?
- Keep people informed.
If you don’t tell people what your business is doing, how are they supposed to know?
- Educate readers.
The more you can tell our readers about what you do, the more likely they will be to give you their business.
- Toot your own horn!
Yes, testimonials are the best, but sometimes we have to tell others OURSELVES why our business is so great.
- Increase branding/top of mind awareness.
The more times a reader sees your logo/picture and your business name, the more they are likely to think of you.
- Promote your employees!
You’re proud of what your employees are doing, so why not brag?
- Become established as good community partners.
The more you report on working with the community, the more our readers will identify you as good community partners (i.e. someone they want to do business with).
- Tell people where to find you.
If you’ve changed locations, website, phone number, email address…you may be losing customers.
Anatomy of a Strictly Business Press Release
HEADLINE (This is the announcement of the company news) – Must: *Be clear and concise *Utilize as few words as possible (however, keep in mind that strong keywords are critical!). *Attract the attention of the reader. *Since it will also be posted online, always include name of business (and personnel or event title when applicable) for search optimization.
BODY (This is the news itself) – Must: *Have a strong introduction sentence that gets right to the point of the news. *Focus on essential information (less is often more, present most important details first). *Include all basic promotion details. (E.G. For event-specific releases, this would be name, brief description, date, time, location, cost, registration details, contact). *Length and format must fit requirements of specific media (For Strictly Business it’s approx. 200-225 words including headline, body and boilerplate) *Presentation of the information should take audience into account (E.G. Avoid industry-specific terms if the release is reaching a broader population, such as readers of Strictly Business as the publication reaches both the B2B and B2C audiences).
BOILERPLATE (This is the conclusion of your release with company-specific details only) – Must: *Be consistent (You should use this same copy to conclude all PR) *Be no more than 5 sentences. * Include full company/organization name in first sentence. *Present a condensed summary (1-2 sentences) of exactly what you do (If readers are not familiar with you they should be able to get a quick understanding by reading this). *Include appropriate direct contact information. *Include website and any social media pages to direct readers where to find more about your company or upcoming events. *Meet the goal of conveying your company’s identity in the marketplace in order to conclude with the focus on your business and a call to action for those who wish to connect with you.
GRAPHICS (This is the visual element) – Must: *Be included with a release whenever you have the opportunity for optimal promotion (This is an option that’s reserved for Strictly Business clients only). *Be an image that attracts the attention of the reader *Be a high resolution image (300dpi or greater) *Be a logo if no news-related image is available. *Be in the correct format for logos (EPS is best, high quality JPEG is a close second) *Be a photo of an individual if it’s personnel focused to promote facial recognition and familiarity. *Include a cutline if more than one individual is mentioned or if the PR is event-related (E.G. for a group: From left to right: John Doe, Jane Doe, Jeffrey Doe, Jill Doe; E.G. for an event: John Doe (R) received the Excellence Award from Board President Jane Doe (L) at the 2016 Annual Conference) *Always include logo or have the logo visible in the image whenever possible for optimal branding.
Business News Press Release Template
Title: Purpose of press release, including description of what business does.
Eg: Ellerbrock Norris Insurance and Financial Agency Holds Ribbon Cutting
First paragraph: Description of purpose of press release.
Eg: Ellerbrock Norris is pleased to announce they held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the expansion in their location in conjunction with a client appreciation barbeque on Sept. 1st.
Second paragraph: General information on business/company.
Eg: Ellerbrock Norris is a full service insurance and financial products agency with offices in Omaha, Hastings and Kearney. They have been in business in Nebraska for over 100 years and in the Omaha area for nearly 10 years.
Last paragraph: Contact information with phone # and web/email.
Eg: For more information, please visit www.ellerbrock-norris.com or call Andy Bassett at (402) 884-1320.
Ideal number of words: 200
<<<Click here to download a copy of our Press Release Questionnaire>>>
*Keep deadlines and press dates in mind (Our deadline for PR is always set for the 15th of the month prior).
*Keep titles short and to the point.
*ALWAYS include contact information (preferably a phone number, e-mail address and website).
*Include a short paragraph of information on your business in general in addition to whatever your PR topic is about.
*Cross-promote your PRs whenever possible for optimal exposure (on websites, in-house newsletters, etc.).
*Don’t provide too much information or use terms that aren’t widely understood.
*Try not to make your message ‘salesy’, but instead informational.
*Get creative and think outside the box (if you’re not sure if it would warrant a press release, make sure to check out the list of PR topic suggestions we’ve provided!).
*Combine PRs if you have more than one on a similar topic (two new employees, for example).
*Make sure you let the editor know if you need a proof of the release before it runs.
*And finally, remember you can always CREATE news instead of waiting for it to happen!