You’ve been tasked with creating a big announcement or press release for your company. And now you’re wondering: how exactly do I create a press release? What is needed in order to execute the press release from start to finish? We have your answers.
Before you even get to drafting your press release, it is essential to understand what announcement should be conveyed and its proper format.
Newsworthiness that people actually care about
A press release needs to cover an event that is truly newsworthy. It is important to be able to distinguish the difference between internal company interest and public interest. The subject of the press release must elicit curiosity among publications and their readership. Ask yourself, if I wasn’t working at XYZ company, would I care about this story?
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine if the topic is newsworthy:
- Ask yourself, if I wasn’t working at XYZ company, would I care about this story?
- Is there a clear benefit or impact that comes from this news?
- Why would this news be valuable to the reader?
- What is the angle of the actual press release itself?
- What is the key piece of information within the news release that is timely and relevant?
For example, if your company just rolled out a new version of your product, that has the potential to be newsworthy. It is newsworthy if the benefits are important to the audience. However, if the feature is simply adding a new help area or new UI improvements – it is unlikely to be considered newsworthy.
However, if your new feature has the potential to transform an industry, that is considered newsworthy.
Title and subheading to hook the reader
The title and subheading of the press release are key to capturing the attention of publications and their readership. If these first two lines are not engaging and concise, your audience will stop reading. A compelling title will elicit greater interest among publications, allowing your company amplify the reach of its messaging.
Format your paragraphs with relevant context
An effective press release is structured in three parts: title/sub-heading, introduction paragraph, and body paragraph. Remember, the point of your press release is to convey an internal story and each section should build upon the other.
There is a quote, typically around 2/3 of the way through the news release that is from an executive at your company. The quote should illustrate the impact of the news.
Word length to keep the readers attention
An effective press release is around 300 to 500 words in length. This standard word length will allow your company to hit the sweet spot in terms of SEO-optimization and reader engagement. No one has time to read a three-paragraph essay anymore.
Many of the wire services charge by the length of the press release and the distribution that’s associated with it. Shorter news releases are less expensive and are often time more interesting.
The background information about your company
The end of the press release includes an about section, which provides an overview about your company. There should be an about section that clearly describes who you are and what you do. Someone should be able to easily find your website so they can learn more.
Specific contact information should be at the very end. The contact information makes it easy for a journalist, prospective customer, or other media outlet to reach out in case they want to learn more.
Keep in mind, the word count for the About Us section should not be included in your overall word count for the press release. Keep the About Us section at no more than 100 words long.
Many of the wire services charge by the length of the press release and the distribution that’s associated with it. So if you put together an especially long press release inclusive of a very lengthy About Us portion you’re likely to incur surcharges and no one wants to spend more money for the same amount of content.