FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HOW TO WRITE A GREAT PRESS RELEASE
Tell a great story concisely and cleverly, add pithy subheads and easy-to-remember bullet points, and call readers to action.
Washington DC, Today’s Date — “The goal for any good press release is to grab the reader’s attention, encourage them to attend an event or learn more about a product or service, and intrigue reporters to cover your project,” knows Inkandescent Public Relations founder Hope Katz Gibbs, a veteran journalist who for more than a decade has been happily writing exciting press releases that get picked up by the media.
“Whenever I’m writing a release, my purpose is to tell a story—albeit briefly—that makes readers want to learn more about the topic I’m discussing,” she says. “Of course, it’s also rewarding to write a press release in a way so that it reads like a mini article since this gives it a greater chance of being picked up by newspapers, magazines, and blogs.”
Subheads are valuable ways to keep the reader engaged.
The reason is simple: Subheads break up the text with quick thoughts that summarize the essence of the release and provide a helpful place to explain your idea’s gist briefly. A fun exercise to try is to write subheads that are so tight and valuable to the story that if readers only scanned the subheads, they’d understand the purpose of the release.
Bulleted action items serve to draw the reader’s eye to essential information.
- Bullets should contain short, concise statements that flesh out the critical elements of the press release.
- They reinforce the points that you are trying to make
- Never provide less than three bulleted items—five is ideal, and seven is the maximum
If there is a concluding statement you’d like to add or an ending quote that sums up the points you are trying to make, do it briefly here.
Keep the release short, filled with keywords, and know what you hope to achieve.
Here’s why: If the press release is hefty on content, additional subheads are helpful in chunking out the essential elements of the story you are telling. Think of subheads as an abbreviated argument you are making, then describe the main features you want the reader to know.
Length: The ideal length of a press release is one page, or about 350–500 words, depending on the complexity of the topic you are writing. Some press releases that offer interesting details can run two pages, but even the longer ones should not exceed 1,500 words.
Keywords: Picking keywords for maximum Search Engine Optimization is essential, but the goal of your press release should be on telling a good story. When you do, the right keywords will naturally find their way into the press release.
Goals: There are three goals for any effective press release, so be sure to keep your eye on the prize.
- Good: Post your press release on a reputable website where it will be picked up by Internet robots and bump up the organization’s search engine rankings.
- Great: Have a publication pick it up and run the release as an article.
- Ideal: Grab the attention of reporters or bloggers so that they contact you to do a full-length article on the topic, founder, event, etc.
What are some of the best websites to post your press release?
There are dozens of options to choose from—from free sites to those that charge hundreds per posting. Here are some of our favorites:
- PR Buzz: Post unlimited press release distribution for $299 per year.
- PRWeb: Services range from Basic ($89/release), to host the release and have it show up on search engines and news sites; to Financial ($499/release), which promises that your news will appear on top business and financial sites including Yahoo! Finance, Bloomberg, and The Wall Street Journal.
- PRNewswire: Starting with its Search Reach package ($129/release), this package includes posting on prnewswire.com; making your release “findable” by Google, Bing, and Yahoo!; driving traffic to your site with “live site preview”; a helpful RSS feed and search-friendly permalink URL; and a social media toolbar. Additional options include more services, such as adding an image with Web Reach ($299/release) and WebReach Plus ($399/release), which also lets you receive a “webeam snapshot” of your photo and headline.
- There are also dozens of free distribution sites: And yes, free is always nice. But buyer beware. The adage “you get what you pay for” applies here.
About the organization
In this final section, be sure to include about 100–150 words of useful, interesting information about the organization that is releasing the press release. Be sure to include details about how the reader can contact the company. In this case, we’d highlight Inkandescent Public Relations, a full-service PR, marketing, web development, and design firm that helps entrepreneurs gain more visibility. For more information, visit www.InkandescentPR.com.
Save the date
If the press release is announcing an upcoming event, be sure to include details about the date, time, location, any fees, and a link where the reader can find additional information. Key contact details should be precise at the top of the press release and then listed again at the bottom to drive home the point.