Writing and distributing a press release is an effective way to generate awareness, traffic, and profits for your business. It can be an integral part of your content marketing strategy. However, writing a press release is a bit different than writing a blog post. It has a unique format and goals.
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This brainstorming sheet will help you create an effective press release every time.
What’s Your Press Release Goal?
Before you put pen to paper, consider what you want your press release to accomplish. There are several goals to consider ranging from building awareness for your company to increasing sales. Identify your goal first. You can then structure your press release to help you achieve your goal.
What’s the Story and What’s the News?
What is the news that you’re sharing? Start with this piece of information and write it down in a sentence or two. For example, maybe you’re getting ready to publish a new report, white paper, or case study. That’s what your press release is about but that isn’t newsworthy. To be newsworthy, it has to be relevant to the audience. Readers don’t care that you’re publishing new research. They care about how the research impacts them. That is the story.
How does your story affect the readers? Why will they care? Does it offer readers new hope or a solution to a problem? Write down several reasons why your audience might care about your story. That’s your news and that is your press release angle.
Summarize Your News
With a press release, you generally have a headline, a subheading, an introduction or summary and then the body of your release. The first three components, the headline through the summary, are what most people read first. These three pieces are the most important. If relevant and well written, they will tempt readers to click on the release to read more. If not, it may seem uninteresting and readers will click away.
What is your release about? Summarize it in no more than two sentences. For example, “New research shows that it’s easier to cut back on sugar consumption if you drink coffee.” When you’re writing your press release, you’ll want to make the summary as specific and brief as possible. You can also use your summary to help craft a headline. For example, “New study shows sugar consumption cut in half for coffee drinkers.”
What are the key points of the story?
With the summary and a rough headline drafted (and these can be rough, you’re only brainstorming right now, not writing the final draft) you can now focus on the body of your press release. Answer the 5 W’s:
Once you’ve answered these, outline the points that you want to cover in your press release beyond these 5 W’s. What do people need to know?
Quotes, Facts, and Personality
You probably don’t have your quotes yet, but it’s always a good idea to start thinking about where you can use quotes, who you might quote, and what facts you need to present in your press release. Jot down those thoughts and ideas now. You can start the process of gathering information.
What is the call-to-action?
Once someone has read your press release, what do you want them to do? Go back to the goal. If your goal was to boost sales, then your call to action might send them to a sales page or a free demonstration. If your goal was to generate awareness, then you might invite them to sign up for free information. Write your call to action next.
Where Should You Send Your Release?
Who would be interested in receiving your release? How might you get it into their hands? Answer these questions and list potential media outlets that would be interested in the story. What about bloggers, email subscribers, and customers? You have distribution choices to make. You can distribute via:
- Email pitch – send your press release to handpicked media representatives.
- Press release distribution service – these submit your press release to a variety of media channels but many charge a fee.
- Social media
- Your website
- Your email list
Use this brainstorming sheet to work through a rough outline of your press release. From that outline, you should be able to fill in the gaps and polish the copy to make it as succinct and interesting as possible. A press release is an effective content marketing format, when newsworthy information is written and used correctly.
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