Press releases are an excellent way to generate positive buzz for your business. Whether promoting a corporate milestone, new product launch, or a blockbuster event, a well-crafted press release strategy can open the door for your organization to build new relationships with media outlets and potential new customers. Regularly publishing valuable news will help an organization build mindshare with news outlets, so when a journalist needs a quote for an article relevant to your industry they’ll be more likely to call those with whom they have an established rapport.
Goals and Objectives of a Press Release
A press release should generate positive publicity for your organization—whether that is a corporate milestone, brand promotion, or newsworthy event—while simultaneously exposing your brand the broader readership of news outlets.
How To Write An Effective Press Release
Choose A Newsworthy Topic
When deciding on a topic for your press release, ask yourself these questions:
- Is this topic relevant to journalists and reporters?
- Are the readers of your targeted news outlet interested in this topic?
- Is a press release the best vehicle for sharing this information?
If your answer to these questions is “yes”, it’s time to write.
The Five W’s
When sitting down to write a press release, start by listing out the answers to the five W’s as each relates to your readers:
- Who is the subject of the press release? Who is the news relevant to?
- What story are you telling to the broader audience about your organization? What is happening?
- What time is your event happening? And for how long?
- Where is your company located? Where is your event? Remember, “where” can also refer to an online location.
- Why is this significant to the organization and the audience? Always put your message into context for the reader.
Include the five W’s in the first paragraph of your press release to provide readers with a quick overview. You can go into detail about specific items in other paragraphs, which your readers will now look for thanks to your summary first paragraph. However, while it is important to include relevant details, keep your press releases short and sweet—journalists are busy and don’t appreciate it when others waste their time with fluff.
Press Release Format
Press releases all follow the same format so that readers know where to find different information.
The title of your press release and its primary purpose.
One or two sentences that summarize the press release.
Location and Date
Always include the city, state, and date so readers can put your press release into context.
Two to four paragraphs that go into more detail about your topic.
A general description of your organization as it relates to the audience.
The PR person who should be contacted for more information. Always include job title, email address, and phone number.
Now you have the general format of a press release, it’s time to customize it to meet your organization’s goals and objectives. Below are 10 press release template examples to help you get started.
10 Press Release Templates
1. New Product Launches (or Updates to Existing Products)
When you're launching a new product or service, the information is usually best communicated in written form—especially when the details, such as new features or a change to pricing structures, are central to your message. However, just because your press release goes into depth describing your new product doesn’t mean it can’t also catch your audience’s eye.
For example, this Apple iMac Pro press release uses images to highlight the design of their new product, while telling a story about the new product features and improvements. The result is a highly effective press release that will pique the interest of both media outlets and customers.
2. Mergers and Acquisitions
For times when you need to write a press release on a topic that is inherently difficult to generate excitement around, consider using an alternative format (such as video). This ScribbleLive video press release is a great example of how to provide reporters with everything they will need to republish your news—all in a thorough two-minute video where the CEO talks about the company’s latest acquisition.
3. News Release
For publishers and content creators, announcing a news initiative through a press release will help generate buzz leading up to the publication date. To make sure your news release piques the interest of your audience, be sure to explain what readers or viewers can expect to learn when your content is live. Remember, you want to provide them with just enough information—the who, what, when, where, why—so they mark the publication date on their calendars; provide too much information and there will be no incentive for your readers to show up on publication day.
This CNN news release is a good example of a press release that provides just enough information to pique readers interest. Not only does the title explain what is happening, but the press release is short and to the point.
4. Hosting Or Attending An Event
One of the most important things to remember when writing a press release is to ensure it aligns with your brand. Correct branding is even more important if your press release is about an event your company is hosting or attending.
Take this press release from Škoda, a car manufacturer based in the Czech Republic, as an example: the sleek and eye-catching images that open the press release feature vehicles in the same vibrant green color that is used throughout the company’s website. To provide more content around the two events being promoted, the press release uses three bullet points that provide a helpful summary and concludes with action shots.
5. Opening A New Office
When you open a new office, it's difficult to get others excited with written words alone. To generate the “oohs” and “ah's” that result in press coverage, including photo highlights of your new digs like Peapod did in this press release. By placing the photos of their new office at the top of the press release, the online grocery store gives readers a flavor of what it’s like to work for Peapod.
In addition to the vibrant photos, Peapod also includes a quote from the Mayor of Chicago right below the headline—a subtle hint to reporters that this is the remark Peapod is most interested in sharing with readers. And, at the end of the press release, Peapod take the usual boilerplate text and isolates it in a dark gray box. Not only is this a better reading experience for the audience, but it also prevents the story from getting lost in a long wall of text.
6. Introducing A New Partnership
When introducing a new partnership via a press release, always be sure that your new partner signs off on it before distribution. To create a press release that equally benefits both partners, always include the names of both companies in the headline before diving into what the partnership does for customers in the first paragraph. Use the second paragraph to provide more details before sharing more information around why this partnership is important and how it will help both partners reach their goals.
Organizations re-brand themselves for a wide variety of reasons, from merging multiple acquisitions into one company to responding to market shifts and changes. Announcing your company’s re-brand via press release will allow you to control the narrative, something that is important when customers and other stakeholders might experience confusion around the old and new brand.
A re-branding press release should contain details about the company, the specific details and changes around the re-brand, the effective date, reasons for the change and how the re-brand will help achieve overall goals.
8. Promoting Or Hiring A New Executive
When adding a new person to your executive team, sharing the news via a press release will make it more likely to be picked up by industry news outlets. Besides the new hire’s name, title, and bio, use the press release as a way to explain the duties and responsibilities they will take on and how those fit into the company’s overall goals. Adding a quote from the new hire, like in this press release from EverBlue Training, is another way to contextualize the information in the press release.
9. Receiving An Award
Receiving an award is exciting and you will want to share the news! To craft a message that conveys the importance of the success, always include the name of the recipient or company, the name of the award and its reason and frequency, a quote from the award organizer and winner, and images and logos from both organizations.
10. Sharing Research
A press release is a perfect format to share breakthrough research with news outlets. In this example from The Hormel Institute, the press release contains information about the research team that made the breakthrough, provides background on the research and how it got started, and how this breakthrough contributes to the overall goal (in this case, curing a disease).
Gone are the days when press releases were only a way to get coverage in a local newspaper article or on a TV news segment. Today, businesses of all types and sizes can use press releases to get featured in online articles, digital editions of print publications, email newsletters, and social media posts, giving this tried-and-true marketing vehicle longer legs.