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How to create a killer press release template

Read Time 12 mins | Written by: Sam Carney

Developing a solid press release template to follow makes it easier to get your important company news in front of key influencers by giving them everything they need to know in an interesting way.

But it's not just about getting seen by the media. A well-written press release, distributed through the correct channels, can increase traffic to your site, boost brand awareness and improve search engine rankings. A big part of this success relies on being able to react to trending issues and breaking news quickly, so it’s worth developing a solid press release template to follow, so you can get your message out there quickly.

Table of contents

  1. What is a press release?
  2. What makes a good press release?
  3. How to write a killer press release template
    1. Think about your message
    2. Craft a catchy headline
    3. Focus on the top line
    4. If in doubt, cut it out
    5. Choose your quote carefully
    6. Write in the third person
    7. Be creative
    8. Signpost audiences to further information
  4. Takeaway

What is a press release?

A press release is a written communication that is typically sent to members of the media to announce a news event, such as:

  • product launches
  • company milestones
  • promotions
  • partnerships
  • upcoming events

It can also get your company talked about in the media by issuing a release reacting to issues and news items that are relevant to your company.

The goal of a press release is to get the attention of journalists and editors so that they will write a news story or feature about the event and help to spread the word to a wider audience.

Press releases are an important tool for businesses, organisations and individuals to promote their brand, products or services. They can be used to generate publicity, build brand awareness and establish credibility in the industry. As a cornerstone of PR (public relations), press releases can also help to create buzz and generate interest in a particular event or initiative, which can ultimately lead to increased sales or attendance.

What makes a good press release?

A good press release should have the following elements:

  1. A clear and attention-grabbing headline that accurately summarises the content of the release.
  2. A concise, engaging lead paragraph that expands on the headline and provides an overview of the news or announcement.
  3. An informative and detailed body that provides relevant facts, quotes and statistics to support the news or announcement.
  4. Contact information for a spokesperson or representative who can be reached for further information or interviews.
  5. Proper formatting and structure, including a dateline, boilerplate and clear paragraphs.
  6. A newsworthy angle that is relevant to the audience of the media outlet or publication.
  7. Proper grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Overall, a good press release should be informative, newsworthy and written in a clear and concise manner that is easy for journalists and editors to understand and use. It should provide all the necessary information and resources for the media to write a story or feature about the news or announcement.

How to write a killer press release template

Whether you want to know how to write an online press release or a press release for traditional media, the basic hallmarks are the same. Follow these steps for how to write a press release template for your company: 

1. Think about your message

Before you start, understand that there is no strict formula for writing a successful press release. To adopt a few bits of fishing terminology: it’s not a ‘one bait catches all’ process; you might have to cast your line out for a while before you get a bite.

Start by listing variations of the following questions at the top of your press release template:

• What am I trying to say?
• Why is it worth saying?
• How am I going to say it?
• Who am I targeting?
• Where is this appearing?

These should get you thinking of the bigger picture, in regard to its purpose, and what you hope it can achieve for your brand.

2. Craft a catchy headline

Highlight the importance of choosing an eye-catching title in your press release template. There’s a reason why newspapers jostle for space outside newsagents with clever headlines that make people stop in their tracks, buy the paper and read more. The same rationale applies to picking an enticing title for your press release.

Imagine your story being printed on a front page. What heading do you think would get people to stop and read it?

Of course, you don’t want to mislead people with ‘clickbait’ or robotised sales copy, so pick a title that conveys what you’re trying to get across, without being too heavy on keywords. You want people to be persuaded into reading your release and to find the answer they're looking for once they've done reading it.

It may help to write the headline after you’ve composed the rest of the release, so you know exactly what the most important or engaging part of your message is.

3. Focus on the top line

The next ‘box to tick’, if you will, is the press release’s top line. This thrusts the reader into the point of the release while still engaging them to want to read further.

Your opening sentence should summarise what the release is about and, once again, it should read like the introduction to a news story. That means a journalistic tone of voice and thinking about covering the who, what, why, where, when of journalism.

As Copyblogger highlights: “Your average information-hungry consumer won’t stand two seconds for dry, self-indulgent marketing babble.” If you’re writing about the launch of a new store, for example, just announce it: people don’t need or want to hear about your turnover or USPs – yet!

4. If in doubt, cut it out

In the words of the English language’s greatest communicator, brevity is the soul of wit – so don’t go overboard. Use every word carefully and, if in doubt, cut.

Jeremy Porter highlights a particularly bad, jargon-filled release, while also quickly remedying its faults and producing an easier-to-read example that still communicates the original message.

5. Choose your quote carefully

All good press releases will include a handpicked quotation from a relevant individual that adds to the provenance of the piece. Ensure quotations aren’t platitudinous and don’t merely repeat the points made in the main copy.

Think about how this soundbite will represent your company too and whether it can be taken out of context. It's likely to be the key statement news outlets and audiences remember so bear this in mind.

6. Write in the third person

Always write in the third person – stamp this in capitals across the top of your outline if you like! Anything else and it’ll just sound like sales copy.

Remember: keep it journalistic in tone. It might help to imagine how a famous news anchor would read it.

7. Be creative

Think outside the box! Brands are no longer constrained by two-dimensional black and white print, so tell your press release writer to review the article and include informative links, pictures or videos, where necessary.

Hannah Fleishman of HubSpot is particularly vocal on this, pointing out that it’s worth sitting down together as a team to discuss how you can include infographics, slideshows and the like to increase the likelihood of your content being shared across different channels.

You can find example press releases that include infographics and videos that demonstrate the value of the product being offered, while still providing fully formed content that can be spun into a news story. Of course, the publisher doesn’t have to use the video, but it could help pique their interest.

8. Signpost audiences to further information

Don’t forget that, after telling the story, you need to include some details about your company. The benefit of this is it gives journalists and online publishers an easy life, making them more likely to publish your story, but it also contributes to your content marketing strategy!

Contact details are vital, but don’t provide a long list – choose between phone number, email address, website URL and social media handle, depending on the type of release and the nature of your business.

Takeaway

The key to success here is quality. Your releases should be written with the human consumer in mind. Make them relevant, informative, attractive and readable, and you should start to notice just how effective they can be.

Finally, don’t forget to proofread thoroughly for grammar, punctuation and spelling before you send – releases are often published as is, and you don’t want your business to look unprofessional!

✏️Want to know how to get someone to write a press release for you? At Copify, you can order on-demand content for quick delivery! 


Main image: Bank Phrom

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Sam Carney

Sam is a freelance journalist who has been working as a copywriter and proofreader since graduating from Lancaster University in 2014. Sam mainly writes about sports, in particular football, and has been published by the Guardian, Manchester United and the Manchester Evening News. In his spare time, he likes to read, travel to new places, go on walks to the Lake District and attend live music events.