Free Tutorial: Writing Press Releases & Sharing the Good News

in July 19th, 2021
A poster on a post reading "good news is coming"

Managing your company’s media presence can be an interesting, and often unfamiliar, task to juggle. You’ve likely heard the saying ‘there's no such thing as bad publicity.’ Well, there is indeed such a thing, especially when applied to your business. On the contrary, the phrase ‘no news is good news’ doesn't work here either.

Generating positive, honest media attention is a balancing act. Fortunately, it’s not quite as complex as it may seem and there are tools to help you get there.

With the fast-paced, digital consumption of news through online publications and social media, you don’t have to be a big name for journalists to want to write about your brand or products. Regardless of where you are in your company’s timeline, you can build awareness and grow your business by creating and sharing captivating content through press releases and resulting media coverage. 

Why should I prioritize writing press releases?

A press release (also known as a press statement, news release, news announcement, media release, etc.) is a valuable piece of the overall marketing strategy puzzle. It acts as an official announcement, that can be written or recorded, and is distributed to media outlets and beyond. When a company generates positive press – whether it’s due to a new, problem-solving product or their highly sustainable supply chain – it captures the reader's interest and can lead to an increase in sales. And the more positive press you attract, the more demand you’ll likely produce. 

An added benefit to creating press releases is the ability to control your company’s media spotlight. Since you’re creating the narrative, it’s easier to produce genuine, factual stories that make less room for misconceptions or spin articles. But remember, this is public information so keep things honest and don’t oversell yourself, your product, or your brand. 

Creating your press release

Now you’re convinced that your ideas are worth sharing and are just wondering where to begin, right? First and foremost, you want to consider your audience. In this case, your audience consists of journalists so you’ll need to create meaningful news that will make them want to publish an article about you, your company, and/or your product(s).

Press releases are concise and typically only one to two pages in length. You want to ensure that every bit of information you include is relevant and adds value to whatever you are announcing while allowing room for the journalist to write a compelling story. 

Step 1: Focus on a single topic

You’ll need a focus for your writing. Press release topics should include any brand or product insights that aren’t already known to the world and will catch the attention of journalists and their potential audiences. While there’s no clear-cut formula for deciding what to focus on, some ideas to guide your next press release include: 

  • Event announcements
  • New product launches
  • Product updates
  • Awards
  • New hire announcements
  • Community partnerships
  • Branding changes/rebrand announcements
  • Mergers and acquisitions

Step 2: Write your press release while following an outline

If the above topics have your creative juices flowing, you might feel ready to start writing. It’s important to create a press release outline and follow a writing structure suited for news articles, all while staying succinct and newsworthy. Keep in mind that if a journalist has access to a well-organized release, they’re much more likely to envision your content as a news story. The following outline is a general guide to help you along the way and can be customized to suit your needs. 

Formatting 

  • Label your release date at the top left, right, or center of your document. If your content is ready for publication, label it “For immediate release” followed by the date. 
  • Add contact information for the person managing your press correspondence. This can be added to the very bottom of your release.

Headline

  • A creative, attention-grabbing headline that entices the journalist to read your announcement is essential. 
  • You can also include an italicized subheading if further explanation is needed and it adds value.

Body 

  • The body of your release should include the who, what, when, where, why, and how, consolidated into easily digestible language. 
  • The opening paragraph should start with the location and date, followed by a summary of your subject to explain why your announcement is newsworthy. The additional content should include all the necessary details. 
  • Include one or two quote(s) from key team members or affected customers that highlights the context of your story. This gives journalists an idea of how the contents of your announcement apply to real people. 

Boilerplate

  • Include a boilerplate or simple company bio, with a link to your website, at the end of your document. This provides the reader with a quick overview of your company. Keep it separate from the body of your announcement to avoid confusion.

Closing

  • It may seem old school, but it’s important to add a symbol to indicate where the official announcement ends, especially if your release is being submitted to print media outlets. This standard symbol used is – ### – centered at the bottom of the page. You may also see – END – or other closing symbols.

Step 3: Distribute your press release

Now that you’ve written your press release, you’ll want to share the good news. There are several ways to distribute your announcement while trying to obtain the maximum amount of attention. 

  • Email it to a curated list of journalists and include a creative and catchy subject line. Make sure your recipients are familiar with your industry and report on similar topics, they’ll likely be more interested in writing about your announcement.
  • If email isn’t working for you (unfortunately many journalists admit to sitting on 100s of untouched press release emails) you can try snail mail. It’s not a guaranteed approach but it may catch their attention better than an email.
  • For a fee, you can publish your releases on a distribution service such as Businesswire or PR Newswire. These services allow you to target audiences specific to your industry, location, etc.
  • Share your press release with your current audience. You don’t have to rely solely on journalists to share your news. You can send your press release to email subscribers, share it on social media, and/or add it to your website or blog. 

I’ve written and distributed my press release, now what?

You’ve put in the work to get your name out there. Now you need a place to house the media attention you’ve attracted. Incorporating press coverage into your website is the perfect way to showcase your name in the news and maintain control over the narrative. 

Adding a press section to your website doesn’t have to be a huge project – start small and build from there. Begin by adding your press releases and media coverage to an existing webpage. Links to announcement PDFs, articles, and awards can be featured in a section on your about page, or even added to the bottom of your home page. The choice is yours. Whichever route you choose, we’ve shared some tips to consider to help with the process.

  • Add headlines to give your audience an idea of what they’re about to read.
  • Keep your list up to date.
  • List the most recent news first to stay organized and timely.
  • If possible, add the news outlet’s logo with a link to the story.
  • Include subheadings to differentiate between press releases, news stories, and any awards you may be showcasing. 
  • Display contact information for your media correspondent.

These are just a few ideas to help you get started. If you’re feeling ready to incorporate press into your marketing strategy, sign in to your Margo dashboard (or begin for your risk-free trial) and let us guide you through the steps. 

As you begin to gain more media attention than your press section can handle, you can create a standalone press page with some of the fancy features shown in our examples below.

Screenshot of Apple's press page showing different news articles.

Apple uses its newsroom, or press page, to highlight product updates, partnerships, new store openings, and more.

A screenshot of Toast's, a startup company, media page showing news articles.

Toast, a point of sale software company, uses its press page as a one-stop resource for press releases, news coverage, press-related contact information, and a media kit with downloadable assets.

Slack's press page

Slack uses the top of its news page to highlight its feature story, followed by additional news as you scroll through. This press page includes announcements, updates, press releases, and more all in one scrollable library.

TERRA-TORY press page

TERRA-TORY, a small skincare brand, has a simple press page that contains links to all its media coverage.


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