How to Write a Press Release (That Actually Grows Your Business)
A press release can get your business the attention and customers you want, so writing a press release is an essential skill - especially if you want people in the media telling your story to all their viewers.
I’m going to show you how to write a press release that actually grows your business by earning you the attention you deserve, both from media and from potential customers. Ready?
What is a Press Release?
A press release is an announcement by a company or organization that’s sent to media houses and reporters. It’s essentially a one page summary of an event and what key players (like executives and customers) think about it.
A press release can cover anything from a current event to a new milestone achieved to findings from a new study, or anything else that you want the entire world to know about. It’s a way to tell your organization’s story, even if just a small part of it.
Press releases are an integral part of any public relations strategy - but they only work if outlets and reporters pick up your story. Here's how to make sure they do.
How (and Why) to Write a Press Release People Want to Read
There are five concepts you need to work through when creating your press release. I’ll break each of them down, then give you an easy five-step process to use to always write great press releases.
1. When should you write a press release?
There are lots of opportunities to tell your story:
- When you win an award
- Have an upcoming event
- Launch a new product, service, or significant feature
- Establish a new partnership
- Hire or promote a new executive
- Conduct exclusive research
- Hit a major milestone (number of customers, revenue, years in business, etc.)
Whatever it is you want to tell people, make that your headline. The rest of your story should build from there. For example:
Text Request recently passed the $1M annual recurring revenue mark. That’s a major milestone for the company, and they wanted to tell people about it. So they created a press release titled Text Request Breaks Through the $1 Million ARR Threshold.
2. Who should your press release target?
Who are you targeting with your press release? is an important question to ask before determining which channel to promote it through, and even before deciding what to write.
When you know who your press release is for, you’re able to tailor your word choice and value proposition specifically to them. This makes your release more relatable (and interesting), which makes it more likely for you to attract attention.
Creating target personas will help your press release resonate with the right people.
The ideal target varies between press releases, but ask yourself one question: Who do we want seeing this?
- Current customers
- Potential customers
- Other industry professionals
Pick one, and be sure to include at least a paragraph in your release that speaks directly to them.
E.g. if you’re targeting potential customers, talk about the value a customer will get from your new [product, partnership, etc.]. If you’re targeting industry professionals, talk about how this event marks you as a leader or innovator.
3. Why should someone care about your press release?
You’ve done something you think is impressive or important. Great! Now ask Why should anyone outside the company care?
Asking yourself a few other questions will help you answer Why:
- How will this thing you’re talking about affect readers? Will it help or hurt them?
- What’s the next step for your company?
- How does this fit into a larger story or context (e.g. an evolving industry)?
- What's unique about this story?
- What’s the next step a reader should take after reading this story?
- Is there more to your story, or is your press release a dead end?
If you can say here's why this matters to the reader, here's what's unique about this story, and here's how our organization fits into something larger, you will win the attention you want.
In addition to standalone stories, reporters are looking for news to help them fill in other pieces they’re working on. A good quote from a high ranking official can earn you coverage as part of a bigger story that you’d otherwise be unable to get.
For instance, Text Request was quoted in this Forbes article on transformative technologies for marketing. They didn’t get their own write-up, but an editor wanted to include their take in a larger story. The same can happen to you.
4. What should you include in your press release?
The easiest way to explain this is probably to give you a checklist. Make sure any press release you write includes:
- City and state
- Date released
- A one-paragraph intro of what happened and why it matters
- A quote from an official spokesperson or executive
- A description of your company and what you offer
- Relevant background information, statistics, or context for the release
- A next step or call-to-action (like “For more information, visit www.ourbiz.com)
- Spokesperson contact information for media personnel wishing to talk to you about the story
You do have some flexibility with what’s included, but when you include these details in this order, you stand a good chance of creating an effective press release.
5. Where should you promote your press release?
Your press release means nothing if you don’t promote it. Thankfully, you’ve got a lot of options for where you can promote it:
- Major social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
- Niche industry outlets (like online magazines, reputable blogs or podcasts)
- A newswire or press release distributor
- Email newsletter
- Print outlets (newspapers, typically)
The best place to start is normally wherever you can reach your target audience, but the best results normally come from promoting your press release in several places.
Resources like PR Newswire will, for a cost, distribute your message to hundreds or thousands of outlets, and help you get directly in touch with journalists and reporters from your target outlets.
These days, you’ve got to promote your message through social media, too. 68% of Facebook users get news on the site, and 72% of Twitter users get news from Twitter. These platforms will often help you reach a wider audience than you could on your own.
Don't forget about your own people, though. Be sure to include your press release in an email newsletter or company announcement.
Your customers, employees, and subscribers are looking for updates from you. This is a prime opportunity to share!
Regardless of where you promote your press release, you have to promote your message before people will see or care about it. Often, if you can gain traction on your own, media outlets will find your story interesting and reach out for more information.
5 Steps to Write Great Press Releases Every Time
Taking the five concepts we worked through above, here’s a quick five-step process you can use to consistently create great press releases:
- Determine your announcement, and turn it into an informative title to grab readers’ attention
- Add a unique perspective to your story that isn’t easily found elsewhere
- Decide specifically who you want seeing your story, and tailor your messaging to them
- Include the details listed in point 4 above
- Promote your release through the channels your targets will see
One Final Tip
Before you get started, I’ve got one final tip to help you write powerful press releases that grow your business.
To get ahead of the game, look forward to what you plan to happen in your company and what milestones you’re on pace to hit. Then start developing stories with journalists early.
Even an extra month or two can go a long way towards developing a great story for a top tier publication or program with you at the center.
So instead of waiting for something to happen and then announcing it to the world immediately, do some planning. Get the ball rolling early, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by results.