Press releases are an essential part of any public relations or marketing campaign. Crafting a well-written press release can be challenging, but the effort is worth it when you consider the return on investment a successful press release can provide. Assuming you have something newsworthy to share with the world, here are some tips on how to write and structure a 400-word press release that will help get your message across clearly and effectively.
Before you start writing, it’s important to understand the key components of a press release so that you can structure your information accordingly. In addition to a headline and subheadline, most press releases include the following sections:
The title of your press release should be clear and concise, giving the reader a general idea of what the document is about. For example, “XYZ Corporation Announces New Product Line,” or “ABC Company Wins Contract with DEF Corporation.” Here are some tips to make sure that your title is effective:
i. Use keywords that will be picked up by search engines
When composing your title, be sure to use keywords that you think people will search for when looking for news about your company or industry. This will help ensure that your press release is picked up by search engines and seen by people who are interested in what you have to say. You can do this by including relevant keywords in the title and throughout the body of your press release.
ii. Make it attention-grabbing
Your title should be interesting enough to make people want to read more. Be creative- try to avoid boring, generic titles whenever possible. Readers always appreciate a fresh perspective. For example, rather than “XYZ Corporation Announces New Product Line,” you could try something like “XYZ Corporation’s New Product Line is Revolutionizing the Industry.”
iii. Keep it short and to the point
The title of your press release should be brief- ideally, no more than a few words. The goal is to give readers a general idea of what your press release is about without getting too bogged down in the details.
The dateline is typically located at the beginning of the press release, immediately following the title. It should include the city and state where the press release originated, as well as the date (written out in a month, day, year format). For example: “NEW YORK, NY- October 10, 2018.”
After the dateline, the first paragraph of your press release should provide a general overview of the main points of your announcement. This is often referred to as the “lead” or “lede,” and it’s important to get it right. The lead paragraph should be attention-grabbing and give readers a taste of what’s to come without going into too much detail. For example, if you’re announcing a new product, your lead might read something like this:
“XYZ Corporation is excited to announce the launch of its new product line, which is revolutionizing the industry.” With just a few short sentences, the reader knows what company is responsible for the news, what the news is and why it matters. The rest of the press release should provide more detailed information about the product, including features, benefits, pricing, etc.
The body of your press release should provide further information about your announcement. Be sure to include all of the relevant details, such as product features, benefits, quotes from company spokespeople, etc. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you’re writing the body of your press release:
i. Use simple, easy-to-understand language
Don’t try to impress readers with big words or complex sentence structure. The goal is to communicate your message clearly and effectively, so use language that everyone can understand.
ii. Avoid industry jargon
Similarly, avoid using industry-specific jargon or acronyms that not everyone will be familiar with. Remember, you want your press release to be accessible to as many people as possible, so use language that everyone can understand.
iii. Focus on the key message
As you’re writing, keep your key message in mind and make sure that all of the information in your press release supports it. Every sentence should be related to your main message, so if you find yourself straying off-topic, cut it out.
iv. Keep it concise
Press releases are typically short- no more than a few pages long. This means that every word counts, so make sure that every sentence is necessary and adds value to your message. If you can say something in fewer words, do it.
Including quotes from company spokespeople or other relevant experts is a great way to add credibility and context to your press release. When choosing quotes, look for people who can speak to the main points of your announcement and add value to your story. Be sure to get permission from the quotee before you include their remarks in your press release.
A boilerplate is a short, standard bio that can be used at the end of your press release to provide information about your company. This is generally one or two sentences long and includes basic facts like the company’s history, mission statement, etc. Here’s an example of a boilerplate from Google:
“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
At the end of your press release, you should include your contact information, including your name, phone number, and email address. You should also include the contact information for your company’s PR representative, if applicable. This will give journalists a way to get in touch with you if they have any questions about your story.
Writing a press release can be a daunting task, but with a little practice, it will become second nature. Just remember to keep your key message in mind, focus on the most important details, and use simple, easy-to-understand language. If you do all of those things, you’ll be well on your way to writing a great press release.