How to Write Your Own Press Releases

Writing your own press releases for your business may sound frightening but it really isn’t.  A press release isn’t that complicated, it only consists of a few parts:

  1. Compelling Headline
  2. Opening Sentence
  3. Body of the Article (the story you want to tell)
  4. Your Contact Information

If you break it down into manageable chunks then the whole thing really doesn’t seem that bad does it?  If you’re still skeptical then let us show you how to write your own press releases.

Purpose of a Press Release

Tons of businesses use Press Releases as a way to enhance their SEO efforts but a good press release is more than that.  At the same time it is not a place where you list the features and benefits of your products.  You are not here to pitch something rather they are where you officially announce something new or significant about your business.  Have you opened new offices or hired a new CFO then those are worthy of a Press Release.  Press releases are where you talk about you yet you still need to stick to the facts.

The Headline

The headline needs to be short and catchy and attract attention.  This is the most important part of the whole thing and where you should spend the most time.  If your headline sucks no one is going to read the rest.  A good headline does more than attract attention it also makes the reader think.  A headline really isn’t that different from a really clever tweet. Here is some help writing a good headline.

Opening Paragraph

The opening paragraph needs to provide a short but compelling summary of what your press release is all about.  Some words of caution, don’t repeat yourself, don’t just regurgitate your headline, you will do your business more harm than good.

The Body

The body is where you tell your story.  You can elaborate on your headline and opening paragraphs but at the same time you want your writing style to be clear and concise, especially if your business is in technology or science.  Use data to back up your claims, answer questions that potential customers may have and paint a picture for the reader. Make the body of your article compelling and something that you yourself would want to read.

Lastly you need to include your contact information.  If someone is intrigued by your press release and is eager to learn more then there has to be a way to contact your company.  Writing press release isn’t complicated, that being said it isn’t easy so take your time or hire a good PR company to do the writing for you.

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How to write a great headline

Credit where credit is due, this is a blog post from cision.com , it covers a lot of what you need to know about writing a great headline. Headline writers are amount the best paid writers and it is hard not to understand why.

If a headline fails then everything else fails . The headlines job is to attract attention, to stop the person reading the headline in their tracks and then almost compel them to read further.

Again if this fails then all the work on the copy behind the headline has been a waste of time as it will remain unread. The story not told. You can see why there is so much pressure on headline writers to get the job done.

When it comes to getting more people to read your press release, nothing does the job better than a well-written headline. After all, it’s the first thing people see, and if it sucks, they won’t click it to read your release. On the other hand, a killer headline can attract journalists and customers alike to your release, where they can click back to your website. We polled PR and brand experts to get 10 amazing tips you can use to improve your press release headlines.

1. Write as if it Were a Front Page Article

Envision your press release on the front page of a newspaper to determine if it’s newsworthy or not. Does the headline grab attention? If not, it probably needs some work.

Melissa L. James, marketing director at The Curtis Group, takes that idea one step further. She says writing your headlines as they’d look in a newspaper article can “show the reporter the article through his/her readers’ eyes.” This is a great strategy to appeal to journalists who you want to write about your news.

2. Use Active Voice

The style of your writing in the headline is as important as the words you use to attract readers. In general, passive voice takes readers out of the action and makes content less appealing. To engage your audience, use active voice. Brad Hem, account director at The Dialog Lab, also suggests avoiding “be” verbs.

3. Use Appealing Data

“Get to the heart of what your press release is really about in the headline,” Carrie Winans, public relations officer for SmartSign says. It’s important to include the most interesting details there, “always prioritize statistics that prove the story is unique.” So, if your release talks about how you can reduce plaque by 48 percent — then use that statistic in the headline!

4. Use Clever Headlines

Judy Crockett, a retail management consultant, has had great luck using sensational or double-meaning headlines. “I worked with a jeweler that was having trouble earning the respect of his business colleagues. He spent a great deal on marketing and promotion,” she says. “Other business leaders in the downtown area where his store was located commented to each other that the jeweler would be ‘belly up’ with all this promotion. “So, I wrote a press release and sent it to the media with a photo. HEADLINE: ‘Jeweler Goes Belly Up.’ I included a photo of the jeweler lying on the floor of his store — belly up. Text: ‘Jimmy the Jeweler went belly up giving away one too many diamonds. To commemorate this momentous occasion, the store is giving away a one-karat diamond. Simply stop in and guess the “dead weight” of the jeweler.’ The media loved it and ran the story and photo. Several business members cut the press release out and brought it into the store — with a change of attitude.”

5. Paint a Picture

Dave Manzer, managing director of Dave Manzer PR & Marketing, encourages you to use strong language in your headlines. “No, I’m not recommending you use profanity in your headline! But you should choose language that paints a picture,” he says. Consider how you can add sizzle to your headline to get more clicks.

6. Answer the Question

Christian Kendzierski, director of media relations at Mount Saint Mary’s University, says she boils her headline down to what journalists want to know. “I often will give my stories/pitches (or press releases) headlines that either give the writer their first question she or he would ask or give them the answer to their first question … so immediately the headline cuts through the wordage and gets to the meat of the story.”

7. Write the Headline Last

“Don’t waste time trying to pick the perfect headline before you’ve even written the release,” says Cathy K. Hayes, principal/director of Crescendo-Public Relations Turned Up. “Write the story first, and then come up with the headline last,” she says. “This way you see the story as a whole, and you can better identify the most newsworthy title.”

8. Harness the Power of Punctuation

Knowing your punctuation can make you a smarter headline writer. Mandy Bray, chief copywriter at Bohlsen Group, says the colon is great for press release headlines. “You want to include a snappy header, but you can’t leave readers in a state of mystery. Use a colon to transition from artful to exposition in a short space. Example: ‘When Nurses Unite: A call for leadership and advocacy in nursing.’”

9. Apply Alliteration

Christine Blain, senior account executive at SHIFT Communications, says alliteration is a great way to get people to read your press release. “Employing this classic writing technique often results in a catchy headline that’s more likely to pique interest and stay in readers’ minds.”

10. Answer “Who cares?”

The big challenge with your press release is to make sure that people read your headline and care about learning more. Anthony Kirlew, founder and chief strategist at Infinion Marketing, says, in your headline, you need to: “Answer the ‘who cares’ question. Many do not and therefore don’t get the desired exposure.”

Want to get the most out of your next press release? Download our Quick and Easy Guide to Sharing Your Press Release With the World.

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