Your Press Release

Press Releases are one of the fastest and most cost-effective tools in your marketing arsenal and their effectiveness and market penetration should not be underestimated.

This guide will give you lots of advise and tips to craft a brilliant Press Release, but you need to bring your own style and flair to make your work unique and make you stand out from the crowd.

1

What is the Goal of the Press Release

What is the primary objective of the press release? What is it that you’re aiming to achieve through this communication? Is it about unveiling a game-changing product, highlighting corporate achievements, or addressing a critical event or development? How do you plan to ensure that your message is not only delivered with precision, but also captivates the attention of journalists, bloggers, and your broader audience?

Are you prioritizing accuracy and credibility in your approach? Ultimately, what impact are you seeking to make, and how do you intend to ensure that your press release accomplishes these goals effectively?

2

Call to Action

The Call to Action (CTA) of a press release is a specific and compelling statement or theme that encourages the reader to take a desired action after consuming the information provided in the press release.

It serves as the culmination of the release’s content, guiding your audience on what steps to take next.

This action can vary depending on the goals of the press release but often includes actions like visiting a website, signing up for a newsletter, purchasing a product, attending an event, or contacting the company for further information.

A well-crafted CTA should be clear, concise, and persuasive, making it easy for the reader to understand what is expected of them and motivating them to act accordingly. Ultimately, the CTA aims to drive engagement and conversions, helping the company or organization achieve its objectives.

3

Is it really Newsworthy?

Is the news you’re considering for your press release truly newsworthy? In a world inundated with information, it’s a pivotal question to ask.

To capture the attention of your target audience and the media, your content must possess a genuine significance or novelty. Are you unveiling a ground-breaking product, announcing a game-changing partnership, or sharing a story that holds real relevance and interest for your audience?

Evaluating the newsworthiness of your news ensures that your press release doesn’t get lost in the noise, but instead stands out as a compelling and relevant story worth sharing with the world.

4

The Theme

Please refer to our themes section for tonnes of ideas your Press Release!

5

Who, what, when, where, and why

A well-crafted press release should encapsulate the essential “who, what, when, where, and why” elements to provide a comprehensive understanding of the news at hand.

“Who” clarifies the individuals, companies, or entities involved, offering a clear picture of the key players.

“What” outlines the core message or the news itself, detailing the significance of the development.

“When” specifies the timing of the event or announcement, adding a temporal context to the story.

“Where” pinpoints the location or scope of the news, ensuring geographic clarity.

Finally, why” delves into the purpose or rationale behind the news, shedding light on its relevance and significance to the audience.

Together, these elements create a robust narrative that not only informs but engages readers, making the press release a powerful tool for communication and storytelling.

6

What to avoid

When crafting a press release, it’s crucial to maintain professionalism and adhere to journalistic standards to ensure your message is well-received and effective. Here are some things writers should avoid including in a press release:

  1. Jargon and Technical Language: Unless the piece is aimed at a specific audience avoid that understands the specific language used, steer clear of industry-specific jargon and technical language that may be difficult for the general audience to understand. Keep your language clear and concise.
  2. Exaggeration and Hype: Avoid hyperbolic or exaggerated claims that could undermine your credibility. Stick to the facts and present them honestly.
  3. Irrelevant Information: Stay focused on the main message of the press release. Avoid including unrelated details or information that doesn’t directly contribute to the news.
  4. Opinions and Personal Bias: Press releases should be objective and unbiased. Avoid injecting personal opinions or bias into the content.
  5. Unsubstantiated Claims: Any claims made in the press release should be backed by credible evidence. Avoid making assertions that cannot be verified.
  6. Confidential Information: Never include sensitive or confidential information that could harm your organization or individuals if it becomes public.
  7. Unsupported Quotes: Quotes should be attributed to real individuals and accurately represent their statements. Avoid fabricating or misrepresenting quotes.

By avoiding these pitfalls, you can create a press release that effectively communicates your message, maintains credibility, and increases the likelihood of media coverage.

7

Facts and Figures

Including facts and figures in a press release is highly important for several reasons:

  1. Credibility: Facts and figures lend credibility to your press release. They provide concrete evidence to support your claims and demonstrate that your information is well-researched and accurate.
  2. Clarity: Numbers can make complex information more understandable. They can quantify the impact of your news, making it easier for readers to grasp the significance of the announcement.
  3. Journalistic Standards: Journalists often rely on facts and figures to write their stories. By providing this information in your press release, you make it easier for journalists to cover your story accurately.
  4. Data-Driven Stories: In an era of data-driven journalism, including statistics and figures can make your press release more appealing to journalists looking for data to support their articles.
  5. Highlighting Achievements: If your press release is about achievements, such as revenue growth, market share, or customer success, including specific numbers can emphasize the magnitude of those achievements.
  6. Differentiation: Numbers can help your press release stand out. A headline or opening sentence with a compelling statistic can grab the reader’s attention.
  7. SEO Benefits: Including relevant data can also benefit your press release’s search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines may give more weight to press releases with factual and informative content.

However, it’s crucial to ensure that the facts and figures you include are accurate, up-to-date, and relevant to your news. Misleading or incorrect data can harm your credibility and reputation. Additionally, be mindful not to overwhelm the reader with excessive numbers; focus on the most critical data points that support your story.

8

Writing Style

The writing style used in press releases is of paramount importance. A well-crafted writing style can significantly impact the effectiveness of your press release. Here’s why it matters:

  1. Clarity and Readability: A clear and easily readable writing style ensures that your message is understood by a broad audience, including journalists and the general public. Journalists, in particular, appreciate press releases that are concise and straightforward, as it makes their job of extracting key information easier.
  2. Professionalism: A professional and polished writing style reflects positively on your organization. It conveys that you take your communications seriously and can enhance your reputation.
  3. Engagement: While press releases should be factual and objective, they can still be engaging. A well-crafted style can make your press release more interesting and compelling to readers.
  4. Consistency: Maintaining a consistent style throughout your press releases helps build a recognizable brand identity and ensures that your audience knows what to expect from your communications.
  5. Journalist-Friendly: Journalists often receive numerous press releases daily. Using a writing style that adheres to journalistic conventions, such as the inverted pyramid structure (putting the most important information first), can make your press release more journalist-friendly and increase the chances of media coverage.
  6. Conciseness: Being concise is crucial in press release writing. Journalists have limited space and time to work with, and a concise style helps you convey your message efficiently.
  7. Relevance: A well-crafted style ensures that you maintain focus on the most relevant information. Avoiding verbosity and tangential information keeps your press release on point.
  8. Keyword Optimization: If you’re distributing your press release online, a well-optimized writing style can improve its search engine visibility, making it easier for interested parties to find.

In summary, the writing style used in press releases is vital for conveying your message clearly, professionally, and engagingly. It can impact how your press release is received by journalists, readers, and the wider public, ultimately influencing its effectiveness in achieving your communication goals.

9

Wordcount

The word count of a press release can vary depending on the complexity of the news or message you’re trying to convey, but there are some general guidelines to consider:

  1. Conciseness: Press releases should be concise and to the point. Most general press releases are between 300 and 600 words. This length allows you to provide essential information without overwhelming readers or journalists with excessive details.
  2. Focus on Key Information: In the first paragraph (the lead), you should summarize the most crucial information concisely. Subsequent paragraphs can provide additional details, quotes, and context.
  3. Journalistic Norms: Journalists often appreciate brevity, as it makes their job easier. Keeping your press release within a reasonable word count helps ensure that your message is more likely to be read and understood.
  4. Avoid Fluff: Avoid filler content or unnecessary words. Every word in your press release should serve a purpose and contribute to the message you’re trying to convey.
  5. SEO: Online publishers follow strict SEO guidelines, and you should aim to deliver at a very minimum 300 words, ideally more.
  6. Complexity of the News: If your news is highly complex and informative, or requires in-depth explanation, it may be necessary to go beyond the typical word count range. However, even in such cases, strive to maintain clarity and conciseness.
  7. Visual Elements: Sometimes, including visual elements like images or infographics can help convey information more efficiently and may allow you to keep the written portion of the press release shorter.

In summary, while there is no strict rule for the word count of a press release, it’s generally recommended to aim for a concise and focused document of around 600 words. This length strikes a balance between providing essential information and maintaining the attention of your audience, including journalists who may be reviewing numerous press releases.

10

Grammar

Good grammar is exceptionally important in a press release. Here’s why:

  1. Credibility: A press release is a formal document representing your organization. Proper grammar and writing conventions contribute to a professional image and establish credibility with journalists and readers.
  2. Clarity: Good grammar ensures that your message is clear and easily understood. Ambiguity or errors in sentence structure can confuse readers and diminish the effectiveness of your press release.
  3. Professionalism: Demonstrating mastery of grammar rules reflects the professionalism of your organization. Errors can create the impression of carelessness or lack of attention to detail.
  4. Respect for Readers: Good grammar is a sign of respect for your audience. It shows that you value their time and effort in reading your press release, and you’ve taken care to present information in a clear and organized manner.
  5. Avoid Misinterpretation: Correct grammar helps prevent misinterpretation or misunderstanding of your message. This is especially crucial when dealing with complex or sensitive topics.
  6. Journalist-Friendly: Journalists often have tight deadlines and may not have the time to decipher poorly written press releases. Good grammar makes your release more journalist-friendly, increasing the likelihood of media coverage.
  7. Online Distribution and SEO: Search engines and online readers tend to favor well-structured and grammatically correct content. Proper grammar can positively impact the search engine optimization (SEO) of your online press release.
  8. Consistency: Consistency in grammar and style throughout your press release enhances the overall reading experience and helps maintain a professional tone.

To ensure good grammar in your press release, consider proofreading or even seeking professional editing services if necessary. Careful attention to grammar, punctuation, and syntax will help your press release effectively convey your message and maintain your organization’s reputation.

A lot of people rely on Grammarly to help them with their writing style and composition, which over time is also a good learning experience.

11

Deadlines & Time Sensitive Content

Deadlines and time-sensitive content in press releases should be handled with precision and urgency. Here’s how to effectively incorporate them into your press release:

  1. Clear and Upfront: Begin your press release with a clear and concise statement of the deadline or the time-sensitive nature of the content. Use the headline, subheadline, or the first paragraph to grab the reader’s attention with this crucial information.
  2. Use Urgent Language: In the body of the press release, use urgent and action-oriented language to emphasize the time-sensitive aspect. Phrases like “limited time offer,” “act now,” or “deadline approaching” can create a sense of urgency.
  3. Specific Date and Time: If applicable, provide the exact date and time of the deadline. This leaves no room for ambiguity and helps readers understand precisely when they need to take action.
  4. Highlight Consequences: Clearly explain the consequences of missing the deadline or not acting promptly. Whether it’s missing out on a special offer, losing an opportunity, or facing a deadline penalty, make sure readers understand the impact of delay.
  5. Contact Information: Include up-to-date contact information for individuals or departments where readers can get more information or take action. Ensure that someone is available to respond to inquiries promptly.
  6. Call to Action (CTA): Incorporate a strong and compelling call to action (CTA) that encourages readers to act immediately. Make it easy for them to understand what they should do and how to do it.
  7. Follow-Up: If the press release includes a time-sensitive event, consider sending a follow-up release or reminder closer to the deadline. This reinforces the urgency and ensures that the information remains fresh in the minds of your audience.
  8. Distribution Timing: Time the distribution of your press release strategically to align with the deadline or time-sensitive event. Ensure that it reaches your target audience with sufficient lead time for them to respond.
  9. Online Channels: If your press release is distributed online, leverage social media, email newsletters, and other online channels to amplify the time-sensitive message and reach a broader audience.
  10. Monitor and Adjust: Continuously monitor the response to your time-sensitive press release. If necessary, adjust your communication strategy based on the level of engagement or response.

By effectively incorporating deadlines and time-sensitive content into your press release, you can create a sense of urgency, motivate action, and maximize the impact of your message within the defined timeframe.

12

Planning for SEO

Incorporating SEO (Search Engine Optimization) into a press release requires careful planning and execution to maximize online visibility and reach. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how the author should plan the inclusion of SEO in their press release:

  1. Keyword Research: Start by conducting keyword research to identify relevant keywords and phrases related to your news or industry. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush to find high-traffic keywords that align with your press release topic.
  2. Select Target Keywords: Choose a primary target keyword or phrase that best represents the main theme of your press release. Additionally, identify a few secondary keywords that are related to the primary one.
  3. Integrate Keywords Naturally: Incorporate your selected keywords naturally into the press release content. Place them in the headline, subheadings, and throughout the body of the release. Ensure that keyword usage sounds natural and not forced.
  4. Optimize the Title: Craft a compelling and keyword-rich title for your press release. The title should accurately reflect the content and include your primary target keyword.
  5. Write a Meta Description: Create an engaging meta description that summarizes the press release and includes relevant keywords. This description should encourage users to click through from search engine results.
  6. Use Headers and Subheadings: Organize your press release using headers and subheadings. Include keywords in these headings to make your content more scannable and SEO-friendly.
  7. Include Hyperlinks: Incorporate relevant internal and external hyperlinks within your press release. Link to your own website or other authoritative sources when appropriate. This can enhance the user experience and provide valuable context to readers.

By following these steps, you can effectively plan and execute the inclusion of SEO in your press release, increasing its chances of ranking well in search engine results and reaching a broader online audience.

13

Imagery

Imagery is very important in a press release, but its significance really depends on the nature of the news and the specific goals of the release. Here are some considerations:

  1. Enhanced Visual Appeal: Including images can make a press release visually engaging and appealing to readers. People are often drawn to content with images, and visuals can help break up long blocks of text, making the release more reader-friendly.
  2. Support for the Story: Images can provide visual context and support for the story or news you’re presenting. They can help readers better understand the subject matter and add depth to the narrative.
  3. Branding and Recognition: Images, such as your company logo or product photos, can reinforce your brand identity. Consistently using visual elements in your press releases helps with brand recognition.
  4. Product or Event Promotion: If your press release is about a product launch or an event, high-quality images can showcase the product or event venue, which can be instrumental in generating interest and excitement.
  5. Journalist Interest: Journalists may find images useful for their own reporting, especially in the case of visual stories, such as product unveilings or events. Providing high-resolution images with proper captions can assist journalists in their coverage.
  6. SEO and Online Distribution: Including relevant images can enhance the search engine optimization (SEO) of your online press release. Search engines may take into account image alt text and captions when indexing your content.
  7. Social Media Sharing: Images can be highly shareable on social media platforms, potentially increasing the reach of your press release when shared by readers or media outlets.

While imagery can enhance a press release, it’s essential to use visuals judiciously and consider their relevance to the story. Here are a few more tips:

  1. Ensure Images Are High-Quality: Use clear, high-resolution images that are properly formatted for online use.
  2. Include Descriptive Captions/cutlines: Each image should have a descriptive caption that provides context and identifies the subject matter.
  3. Respect Copyright: Only use images for which you have the necessary commercial rights or permissions. Avoid copyright infringement. Always include the name of the copyright owner to be credited.
  4. Balance Text and Visuals: While images are valuable, don’t overwhelm the press release with too many visuals. Maintain a balance between text and imagery.

While imagery can enhance a press release, its importance varies depending on the nature of the news and the audience. When used thoughtfully and in alignment with the content, images can help make your press release more compelling and effective.

14

The Title

Crafting a compelling title for a press release is essential because it’s the first thing readers, including journalists, will see. A good title should grab attention, summarize the news, and entice people to read further.

Do be aware that most editors like to come up with their own titles to suit their publications style, and they have the final decision.

Here are some tips for crafting an effective press release title:

  1. Be Clear and Concise: Keep the title clear and to the point. Avoid overly long or complex titles that may confuse or deter readers. Ideally, a title should be 60-70 characters in length.
  2. Focus on the Most Important Element: Highlight the most significant aspect of your news in the title. Consider what the main takeaway or key point is, and make that the central theme of your title.
  3. Incorporate Keywords: Include relevant keywords in the title, especially the primary keyword related to your news. This can improve the search engine visibility of your press release.
  4. Be Engaging: Use language that sparks interest or curiosity. Consider using action verbs or descriptive adjectives to make the title more engaging.
  5. Mention the Who, What, When, Where, and Why: If possible, include elements of the classic “Five W’s” (Who, What, When, Where, and Why) in your title. This provides context and helps readers understand the essence of the news.
  6. Avoid Hype and Superlatives: While it’s essential to make your title engaging, avoid hype, exaggeration, or overly promotional language. Be truthful and accurate in your representation of the news.
  7. Consider the Target Audience: Think about who your target audience is and what would resonate with them. Tailor the title to appeal to the interests and needs of your intended readers.
  8. Use Proper Capitalization: Follow standard title capitalization rules. Capitalize the first word, proper nouns, and major words in the title. Avoid writing the entire title in uppercase, as it can be perceived as shouting.
  9. Test and Iterate: Don’t be afraid to draft multiple title options and test them with colleagues or peers. Sometimes, a fresh perspective can lead to a more effective title.
  10. Stay Within the Word Limit: If you’re submitting the press release to distribution services or websites, be mindful of any word or character limits for titles.

Remember that the title is just the first step in capturing the reader’s attention. Make it informative, engaging, and relevant to your news, and it will increase the chances of your press release being read and shared.

15

The Subtitle

The subtitle of a press release, while not as critical as the headline, can still be important for providing additional context and information about the news being conveyed. Here’s why the subtitle is important and how to craft an effective one:

Importance of the Subtitle:

  1. Clarifies the Headline: The subtitle can offer more details or clarify the headline, helping readers better understand the press release’s focus. It provides a bit of extra context and can help set expectations for what the reader will find in the release.
  2. Expands on the Key Message: Sometimes, the headline is concise and attention-grabbing but lacks the space to convey all necessary details. The subtitle allows you to expand on the key message, ensuring that the reader gets a fuller picture of the news.
  3. Improves SEO: Search engines often consider the subtitle when indexing content. Including relevant keywords or phrases in the subtitle can enhance the search engine optimization (SEO) of the press release.
  4. Journalist-Friendly: Journalists often appreciate a well-crafted subtitle, as it can provide a quick summary of the press release’s content and help them decide whether it’s worth pursuing for a story.

While the subtitle may not be the first element that readers see, it plays a valuable role in providing context, expanding on key points, and supporting the overall message of the press release. A well-crafted subtitle can make your press release more informative and engaging for your audience.

16

Dateline – AP Style

The Associated Press (AP) Style is commonly used in journalism and press release writing to ensure consistency and clarity in news reporting. The dateline is an essential component of a press release, and it follows specific AP Style guidelines.

Here’s how to use the AP Style for the dateline of a press release:

  1. Placement of the Dateline: The dateline should appear at the beginning of the press release, typically in the upper left-hand corner. It provides essential information about the location and date of the release.
  2. Datelines: Use the city name, followed by the country name in uppercase letters. For example: “LONDON, United Kingdom.”
  3. Date: Following the city (or country), include a space, then the date in numerals, followed by a comma, and the year. Use Arabic numerals, and don’t include “st,” “nd,” “rd,” or “th” after the numerals. For example: “NEW YORK, New York, October 10, 2023,” or “LONDON, United Kingdom, 10 October 2023.”
  4. Commas: Note that there should be a comma after the city and state (or country) and another comma after the date.
  5. No Parentheses: Avoid using parentheses or brackets in the dateline; they are not part of the AP Style.
  6. Abbreviations: When abbreviating state names in the dateline, follow the AP Stylebook’s guidelines for state abbreviations. For example, use “NY” for New York and “CA” for California.

By following these AP Style guidelines for the dateline, you ensure that your press release is formatted consistently with industry standards and that readers, including journalists, can quickly identify the location and date of the release.

17

Leading Paragraph

The leading paragraph of a press release, often referred to as the “lead” or “lede,” is arguably the most crucial part of the press release.

It should grab the reader’s attention, provide essential information, and summarize the most critical aspects of the news. Here’s how to write an effective leading paragraph for a press release:

  1. Start with a Strong Hook: Begin with a compelling hook that piques the reader’s interest. This can be a surprising statistic, a thought-provoking question, a noteworthy achievement, or a brief, attention-grabbing statement related to your news.
  2. Summarize the Key Message: In the first sentence or two, provide a concise summary of the most important information in your press release. Answer the “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “why” to give the reader an immediate understanding of the news.
  3. Focus on the News Angle: Highlight the unique or newsworthy aspect of your announcement. What makes this news significant, and why should the reader care? Make sure this angle is clear in the lead.
  4. Keep it Concise: While the lead is crucial, keep it concise. Aim for 25-35 words in your opening paragraph. Avoid excessive details or background information; save those for the body of the press release.
  5. Avoid Hype: While it’s essential to make your lead engaging, avoid exaggerated claims or promotional language. Stick to the facts and maintain a professional tone.
  6. Be Clear and Direct: Use straightforward language that is easy to understand. Avoid jargon or technical terms that may confuse readers.
  7. Include the Dateline at the start of the paragraph.: As per AP Style, include the dateline immediately following the lead paragraph to provide information about the location and date of the release.

18

The Body

The main layout or body of a press release follows the lead paragraph and provides the full details, context, and additional information about the news or announcement.

It should be organized in a clear and structured manner to ensure that readers, including journalists, can easily understand the key points. Here’s how to write the main layout of a press release:

  1. Organize Information Logically: Arrange the information in a logical order. The inverted pyramid structure is often used in press releases, with the most important information at the beginning and supporting details following in descending order of importance.
  2. Use Short Paragraphs: Keep paragraphs relatively short, typically 2-3 sentences, to make the content more digestible. Short paragraphs help maintain reader engagement and make it easier for journalists to extract key information.
  3. Include Quotes: Incorporate quotes from relevant individuals, such as company executives, experts, or stakeholders. Quotes provide credibility and a human element to the story.
  4. Provide Details: Offer specific details related to the news, such as statistics, figures, dates, locations, and product features. Ensure that all information is accurate and well-supported.
  5. Address the Five W’s: Continue to address the “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “why” throughout the main layout. Each paragraph or section should provide information related to one or more of these key questions.
  6. Include Background Information: If necessary, add a section that provides background information, context, or history related to the news. Keep this section concise and relevant to the announcement.
  7. Highlight Benefits and Impact: Explain the benefits or significance of the news. How does it affect customers, stakeholders, or the industry? Focus on the impact and implications.
  8. Use Subheadings: Consider using subheadings to break up the content into sections, especially if your press release is longer. Subheadings make it easier for readers to scan and find specific information.
  9. Maintain Consistency: Maintain a consistent writing style and tone throughout the main layout. Avoid jargon or overly technical language unless your audience consists of industry experts who would understand it.
  10. Proofread and Edit: Carefully proofread and edit the main layout to eliminate grammatical errors, typos, and formatting issues. Ensure that the content is polished and professional.
  11. Include Contact Information: At the end of the main layout, provide contact information for media inquiries. This typically includes the name, email address, and phone number of a spokesperson or media relations contact.
  12. End with a Boilerplate: After the main content, include a brief company or organization “boilerplate” that provides an overview of the company, its mission, and relevant background information. This is often used for context and branding.

Remember that the main layout should provide comprehensive information while maintaining clarity and readability. It should tell the complete story, leaving no critical questions unanswered.

19

Subheadings – break it up

The use of subheadings in a press release can be important, especially in longer or more complex releases, for several reasons:

  1. Improved Readability: Subheadings break up long blocks of text, making the press release more visually appealing and easier to read. Readers can quickly scan the subheadings to find the information they’re interested in.
  2. Organized Structure: Subheadings help organize the content and provide a clear structure to the press release. This makes it easier for both journalists and readers to navigate and understand the key points.
  3. Highlight Key Information: Subheadings allow you to highlight key information, such as major announcements, statistics, or important details related to the news. They draw attention to critical points within the release.
  4. Enhanced SEO: When press releases are published online, subheadings can improve search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines often use subheadings to understand the content’s structure and relevance to specific keywords.
  5. Support for Journalists: Journalists often appreciate well-structured press releases with subheadings because it helps them quickly identify key details and quotes for their reporting.
  6. Clarity: Subheadings can clarify the focus of each section or paragraph, making it easier for readers to grasp the purpose and content of that section.
  7. Content Segmentation: In press releases with multiple sections, such as product announcements or event summaries, subheadings provide a way to segment and organize content, ensuring that each aspect of the news is addressed.

However, while subheadings can be valuable, they should be used judiciously and appropriately. Here are some tips:

  1. Don’t overuse subheadings: Use them when they genuinely enhance the structure and clarity of the press release.
  2. Relevant: Ensure that subheadings are relevant and accurately reflect the content of the section they precede.
  3. Concise: Keep subheadings concise and informative. They should give readers a clear idea of what to expect in that section.

In summary, subheadings can play a valuable role in enhancing the organization, readability, and clarity of a press release. When used effectively, they can make it easier for both journalists and readers to understand the key points and navigate the content.

20

Links

Including links in a press release can enhance the content’s value and provide additional resources for readers. Here are some tips on how to use links effectively in a press release:

  1. Relevance: Ensure that the links you include are relevant to the content of the press release. Links should add value by providing additional information or context related to the news.
  2. Anchor Text: Use descriptive anchor text for your links. Instead of using generic phrases like “click here” or “read more,” use keywords or phrases that accurately describe the content readers will find when they click the link.
  3. Internal Links: If your press release references specific pages on your website or other internal resources, include internal links to those pages. This can help direct traffic to relevant areas of your website.
  4. External Links: When referencing external sources, studies, or reports, include hyperlinks to the original sources. This allows readers to access the full context and verify the information independently.
  5. Quality over Quantity: Avoid overloading your press release with links. While links can be valuable, too many can distract readers and dilute your message. Include links sparingly and strategically.
  6. Check for Broken Links: Before distributing your press release, thoroughly check all links to ensure they are working correctly. Broken links can frustrate readers and reflect poorly on your content.
  7. Disclosure: If your press release includes affiliate links or links to products or services for promotional purposes, clearly disclose this information to maintain transparency.

21

Citations

Citations play a crucial role in enhancing the credibility and trustworthiness of a press release. They provide references to external sources, studies, reports, or expert opinions, adding authenticity and context to the news being presented. Here’s why citations are important in a press release:

  1. Credibility: Citations demonstrate that the information presented in the press release is based on reliable sources. This enhances the credibility of the release and builds trust with readers, including journalists.
  2. Verification: Journalists and readers may want to verify the claims or information provided in the press release. Citations allow them to do so by providing references to the original sources.
  3. Context: Citations provide additional context for the information presented. They allow readers to understand the broader context of the news and where the data or statements are coming from.
  4. Attribution: If your press release includes quotes or statements from experts, citing their names and affiliations attributes those statements correctly. It also gives credit to the individuals or organizations that provided the information.
  5. Support for Claims: When making factual claims or presenting data, citing the source of that information lends support to those claims. It shows that your statements are backed by evidence.
  6. Transparency: Including citations demonstrates transparency and a commitment to providing accurate and well-supported information. It reassures readers that you are not making unfounded claims.
  7. Legal and Ethical Compliance: In some cases, citing sources may be necessary for legal or ethical reasons, especially when using data or research findings owned by others.
  8. Journalist-Friendly: Journalists often rely on press releases as sources for their own reporting. Citations make it easier for journalists to fact-check and incorporate information into their articles.
  9. Avoiding Plagiarism: Proper citations help you avoid unintentional plagiarism when using information or quotes from external sources. Plagiarism can harm your organization’s reputation.

When including citations in a press release, follow these best practices:

  1. Clearly identify the source, including the name of the publication, the publication date, and, if applicable, the author’s name.
  2. Provide links to the original sources when possible, especially for online press releases.
  3. Use a consistent citation style, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, depending on your industry and audience’s expectations.
  4. Ensure the information you are citing is relevant and directly supports the content of the press release.

Overall, citations contribute to the overall professionalism and reliability of a press release, making it a more credible source of information for both journalists and the general public.

22

Quotations

Quotations, often referred to as quotes, are an essential element of a press release. When used effectively, quotes can enhance the readability, credibility, and impact of your press release.

Here’s why quotations are important in a press release and some best practices for using them:

Importance of Quotations in a Press Release:

  1. Human Element: Quotes provide a human element to your press release by attributing statements to real individuals. This adds authenticity and makes the content more relatable.
  2. Credibility: Including quotes from authoritative sources, such as company executives, experts, or stakeholders, adds credibility to your press release. It demonstrates that knowledgeable individuals are endorsing or commenting on the news.
  3. Engagement: Well-crafted quotes can engage readers and draw their attention to key messages or insights. They break up the text and make the press release more dynamic.
  4. Direct Communication: Quotes allow you to convey important messages, opinions, or insights directly from the source. This can be especially effective when sharing the company’s perspective or highlighting unique aspects of the news.
  5. Journalist-Friendly: Journalists often use quotes in their reporting, and providing them in your press release makes it easier for journalists to incorporate your content into their stories.

Best Practices for Using Quotations in a Press Release:

  1. Attribution: Clearly attribute quotes to the individual who made the statement. Include their name, title, and affiliation within the organization.
  2. Relevance: Ensure that the quotes are relevant to the news or announcement and contribute to the overall message. Avoid including quotes that are tangential or unrelated.
  3. Clarity: Use concise and clear language in quotes. Avoid jargon or technical terms that may confuse readers. Quotes should be easily understood by a broad audience.
  4. Accuracy: Ensure that the quotes are accurate and reflect the speaker’s actual words. Misquoting or taking statements out of context can harm your credibility.
  5. Quotation Marks: Use quotation marks around the quoted text to clearly indicate that it is a direct statement from the source.
  6. Variety: Consider using quotes from different individuals within the organization to provide multiple perspectives on the news. This can add depth to your press release.
  7. Balance: While quotes are valuable, don’t overuse them. A press release should have a balanced mix of narrative text and quotes to maintain readability.
  8. Diversity: When appropriate, include diverse voices in your quotes to showcase a range of perspectives and promote inclusivity.
  9. Emphasis: Use quotes to emphasize key messages or highlight the significance of the news. They should provide additional insight or context.

23

Boilerplate

Boilerplate is a standardized, pre-written section that provides essential background information about a company, organization, or individual. It serves as a brief summary of key details that are often repeated in multiple documents, such as press releases, company profiles, or marketing materials.

The term boilerplate comes from the steel industry, where standardized plates were used in making steam boilers, hence boilerplate text is something that can be reused.

In a press release, the boilerplate should typically be included at the end, following the main body of the release. This is the standard and expected placement for a boilerplate in press release formatting.

Here’s why and how to use a boilerplate effectively:

Placement of the Boilerplate:

  1. Consistency: Placing the boilerplate at the end of the press release is a widely accepted convention in the industry. Journalists and readers expect to find it there, and it provides a consistent structure to press releases.
  2. Clean Presentation: It helps maintain a clean and organized presentation of the main news in the press release. Placing the boilerplate at the end avoids clutter and ensures that readers can focus on the key message without distractions.
  3. Information Hierarchy: Press releases are structured with the most important information at the beginning (lead paragraph) and gradually less critical information following. The boilerplate, being background information, naturally fits at the end.

How to Use the Boilerplate Effectively:

  1. Keep It Short: Boilerplates should be concise, typically no longer than a few paragraphs. Highlight key information about your organization while avoiding excessive detail.
  2. Relevance: Tailor the boilerplate to the specific news or announcement in the press release. While some elements may remain consistent, ensure that it aligns with the context of the release.
  3. Contact Information: Include a media contact or spokesperson’s contact information within the boilerplate so that journalists can easily reach out for inquiries or interviews.
  4. Link to Website: Provide your company’s website URL in the boilerplate for readers who want to access additional information.
  5. Legal Considerations: If necessary, include any legal disclaimers or copyright notices that apply to your organization or press release content.

While the boilerplate is typically placed at the end of the press release, you can weave essential information from it into the body of the release as needed. For instance, if you mention a company’s mission or a key executive’s name within the main body of the release, you can still refer to the full boilerplate at the end for more comprehensive details.

Ultimately, the goal of a press release is to convey newsworthy information clearly and efficiently. Placing the boilerplate at the end helps achieve this by providing a standardized location for background information while allowing the main body of the release to focus on the news itself.

24

Close with a Call to Action that won’t be cut

Closing a press release with a compelling call to action (CTA) can be an effective way to encourage readers, including journalists and the public, to take specific actions or engage with your organization further.

To increase the likelihood that your CTA won’t be edited out, consider these tips:

  1. Make It Relevant: Ensure that your CTA is directly related to the content of the press release. It should align with the news or announcement you’ve presented.
  2. Keep It Clear and Concise: Craft a CTA that is clear, concise, and easy to understand. Avoid vague or ambiguous language. State exactly what you want readers to do.
  3. Use Strong Verbs: Use action-oriented verbs to drive the desired behavior. For example, “Visit our website,” “Contact us,” “Attend our event,” “Subscribe to our newsletter,” or “Download our whitepaper.”
  4. Highlight Benefits: Explain the benefits or value proposition of taking the action. What will readers gain or learn by following through with the CTA?
  5. Provide Contact Information: If your CTA involves contacting your organization, provide the necessary contact information, such as an email address or phone number.
  6. Include a Sense of Urgency: If applicable, add a sense of urgency to the CTA. For instance, use phrases like “Act now,” “Limited time offer,” or “Don’t miss out.”
  7. Use Formatting: Make the CTA stand out visually by using formatting elements like bold text or a different font color, but be mindful of maintaining a professional and readable appearance.
  8. Positioning: Place the CTA near the end of the press release, following the main body of the content. This is a standard location for a CTA, making it less likely to be edited out.
  9. Reinforce the Message: The CTA should reinforce the message or purpose of the press release. It should provide a logical next step for readers interested in the news.
  10. Consider Journalists’ Needs: Recognize that journalists may have different goals when reading a press release. While your primary audience may include the general public, ensure that the CTA doesn’t hinder journalists’ ability to extract information for their stories.

25

— END —

A standard practice in many countries is to conclude a press release with the word “End” after the body of the Press Release. This traditional approach serves as a clear and formal signal that the communication has come to its conclusion, ultimately promoting effective communication.

26

Notes for Editors

The “Notes to Editors” section of a press release, sometimes referred to as the “Editor’s Notes” or “Editor’s Information,” is a brief, informative section specifically directed at journalists and editors. Its purpose is to provide additional context and background information to help journalists understand the press release, its relevance, and how they can use the content for their news stories.

Here’s what you should include in the “Notes to Editors” section:

  1. Release Date: Begin with the release date, which is the date the press release is issued. This helps journalists determine the timeliness of the news.
  2. Embargo Information (if applicable): If the release is under embargo, specify the date and time when journalists can publish the story. Include instructions on how to honor the embargo.
  3. For Immediate Release (if applicable): If there are no restrictions on the release, you can include “For Immediate Release” to indicate that the news can be published immediately.
  4. Suggested SEO Information: The companies Social Media Usernames and Tags should be included along with suggestions for SEO Keywords and Post Tags.
  5. Cutlines for images: If images are supplied it may be appropriate to suggest captions for these to identify people, places and equipment. You could either list the file name then the cutline, or include smaller version of the image alongside the cutline to make it really easy for your images to be used correctly.
  6. Post Source for Attribution (if applicable): If you want the article to be credited to your company, or client, then include this information here with their Company Name, and contact information, including their website link.
  7. Author Information and Bio for Attribution (if applicable): If the piece is to be credited to an author then include their details here together with a brief bio and if appropriate their contact information or links.
  8. Contact Information: Provide the name, email address, and phone number of the media contact person or spokesperson who can assist journalists with inquiries or interviews.
  9. Background Information: Summarize the key points or background information about the news or announcement. This could include details about the company, product, event, or research findings.
  10. Additional Resources: Mention if there are additional resources available, such as high-resolution images, videos, infographics, or supporting documents. Provide instructions on how journalists can access these resources.
  11. Availability for Interviews: Indicate the availability of company representatives or experts for interviews. Include details about who can be interviewed and how to schedule an interview.
  12. Additional Contacts: If there are other individuals or departments within your organization who can provide specific information or perspectives related to the news, list their contact information.
  13. Boilerplate: Include a brief boilerplate about your organization, summarizing your mission, history, and core values.

27

Editing, Error checking & Proof Reading

Press releases should undergo thorough editing, error checking, and proofreading for several important reasons:

  1. Accuracy: Press releases are a reflection of your organization’s professionalism and credibility. Errors or inaccuracies can damage your reputation. Editing and proofreading help ensure that all information is correct.
  2. Clarity: A well-edited and proofread press release is more reader-friendly. Clarity in language and structure helps journalists and the public understand the news you are sharing.
  3. Professionalism: A polished press release demonstrates attention to detail and professionalism, which can enhance your organization’s image.
  4. Credibility: Error-free content builds trust with your audience, including journalists who may use your press release as a source for their own articles.
  5. Legal and Ethical Compliance: Accurate and clear communication in press releases is essential to avoid legal issues and ethical concerns, especially when making claims or sharing sensitive information.
  6. Effective Communication: Well-edited press releases effectively convey your message and increase the chances of your news being picked up by journalists.

Here are the best ways to edit, error check, and proofread press releases:

  1. Multiple Reviews: Assign the task of editing and proofreading to multiple individuals. Fresh eyes are more likely to catch errors that others may have missed.
  2. Editing Software: Utilize spelling and grammar checkers and editing software like Grammarly, ProWritingAid, or Microsoft Word’s built-in features. These tools can help identify common errors.
  3. Print and Review: Printing a hard copy of the press release often makes it easier to catch errors. Reading a physical document can reveal issues that might be overlooked on a screen.
  4. Read Aloud: Reading the press release aloud can help you identify awkward phrasing, redundancies, and errors in sentence structure.
  5. Style Guide: Follow a consistent style guide, such as The Associated Press Stylebook, to ensure uniformity in punctuation, capitalization, and writing style.
  6. Fact-Check: Verify all facts, statistics, and claims in the press release. Ensure that data is accurate and up-to-date.
  7. Consistency: Maintain consistency in formatting, including fonts, headings, spacing, and any other design elements throughout the press release.
  8. Third-Party Review: Consider having an outside, professional editor review the press release, especially for important or high-profile announcements.
  9. Peer Review: If possible, ask colleagues or team members who were not involved in writing the press release to review it. They can provide a fresh perspective.
  10. Proofreading Checklist: Create a checklist of common errors to look for during the proofreading process, such as spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting.
  11. Version Control: Keep track of different versions of the press release, and clearly label drafts to prevent confusion.
  12. Check for Legal Compliance: Ensure that the press release complies with all relevant laws and regulations, especially if it includes financial or healthcare-related information.
  13. Final Review: Conduct a final review after making any necessary revisions. This is your last opportunity to catch any remaining errors.

Remember that the more time and effort you invest in editing, error checking, and proofreading your press release, the more professional and credible it will appear to your audience and the media.