Ah, the timeless PR question: What’s the secret to the perfect press release? You know, the one that gets picked up by multiple outlets, spurs interview requests, produces lots of subsequent content, and drives interested readers to your website?
Well, it’s not so much a secret as it is a recipe for getting coverage (at least that I know of, but if you have the secret, by all means, please shoot me an email). Press releases are the staple of PR content and serve as a sort of megaphone to extoll your company’s achievements, progress, and other major milestones. Whether you’re publishing them to your website’s pressroom, pitching to journalists for a feature, distributing via newswire, and/or sharing on social media and in email newsletters, press releases are your statements to the public. How you craft and put them out into the world matters.
With that said, let’s go over the basics:
Always Include the Press Release Essentials
Press Release 101, the basics of the basics. There are countless articles that harp on writing the perfect headline, addressing the five W’s, and why you as the PR pro should include your contact information. Without regurgitating what we’re pretty much already nodding our heads in agreement on (you are agreeing that a great headline is important, right?), I’m going to summarize.
Every press release must include the following:
- An informative and interesting headline that answers the question, “Why should I care?”
- Well-written and direct copy following AP style guidelines without grammar errors or fluff
- A dateline (yes, AP style)
- An impactful first paragraph that delivers on key takeaways (Who, What, Where, When, and Why)
- A clear call-to-action at the end that directs readers to the specific page on your website that prompted the press release, such as a product webpage, event registration, landing page to access a report, etc.
- Boilerplate (aka your company’s “About” section) copy that includes a link to your website
- PR contact information for convenient follow-up