How to write a winning press release

Write press release

Not so long ago, PR and marketing professionals were predicting the end of the humble press release as digital communication channels exploded and social media took centre stage.

Press releases were deemed out-dated and old fashioned, but despite the expected demise, they remain an effective and relevant tool for communicating news.

Why is that? Basically, a well written press release can significantly raise the profile of a product, brand, or service by reaching a target audience and ensuring consistent messaging.

So, forget the naysayers, the press release is here to stay and should be considered by any businesses wanting to shout about their work. Keep reading to find out how it works.

Find a newsworthy angle

First and foremost, a press release is a short news story filled with facts that is written for the benefit of the press (hence the name).

Think of the media as the gatekeeper for a story. If they like the press release and it contains a newsworthy angle, then it is highly likely that they will publish it, putting the story in front of the intended audience – their readers.

Use the inverted pyramid structure

The inverted pyramid structure is used to ensure the most important information is featured at the top of the release. That way, if an editor cuts out the final paragraph, the key message will still be included.

Remember, media people are busy people, so it’s crucial to catch their attention straight away.

Here is an example of the inverted pyramid structure:

  • Paragraph 1: sum up the entire story
  • Paragraph 2: add context and explains why it’s important
  • Paragraph 3: include more detail, such as who’s involved
  • Paragraph 4: feature a great quote that adds value to the release
  • Paragraph 5: explain how people can find out more, attend an event, or get in touch

Focus on the ‘w’ questions

The ‘w’ questions will provide the backbone to the press release and will help to define the news angle.

  • Who: the company/person/brand
  • What: e.g. releasing a new product or service; announcing a new client
  • Where: the location where it is based or where something is happening
  • When: the date when the new thing will happen
  • Why: the reason for the development
  • How: the actions involved

Write an attention-grabbing headline

Never underestimate the power of a strong headline. A headline should be clear and concise with simple, powerful language to encourage the reader to keep reading.

Basically, without a great headline, it is unlikely that people will continue to read the rest of the content, no matter how great the writing may be.

And in the online world of digital communications, that means making the headline click-worthy by including SEO keywords for the target audience.

Focus on one story

When writing a press release it can be tempting to reveal everything in one go and shout to the roof tops about how great a company is, but it pays to send out news strategically.

By sticking to one story for each release, the overall message can be carefully controlled, and it then provides the opportunity to send out a second release.

The drip-feed approach is an important strategy to remember in public relations because it helps to generate interest, and press releases play a big role in that.

That’s it in a nutshell. Five tips to write a winning press release. Or, you can hire someone to do it for you – like me. Find out more by sending an email to hello@hayleymaguire.com