Finding a great press release example to base your next news release on is incredibly helpful to the process of keeping the public and press informed. But it will only take you so far. That’s because your business or organization has unique qualities you’ll need to address to keep the release from being dry as dust.
In the following article, we will be sharing some good examples with you. But don’t ignore that personal touch. Bring your own voice to the proceedings and make the people reading it feel like they are your community.
We’ve put together 13 press release tips in all to show you how it’s done. Before we go any further, however, we need to talk about why you should send a press release in the first place.
Reasons to Send Press Releases
One of the reasons a single news release template isn’t going to cover all the bases is that there are several reasons for sending a press release. And they differ pretty wildly.
The five most common are below. Admittedly, you may never use all of these. (And when it comes to crisis management, let’s hope you don’t have to!)
Perhaps the most common reason to create a press release is media coverage. You have an upcoming event or announcement that you believe will be good public relations, and you want as many eyeballs on it as possible.
When sending it to media outlets, you have to be mindful of the unique news elements involved. These would include things like deadlines, unique angles, and the probability they will have some follow-up questions if they are interested.
Be prepared to direct the media to the subject matter expert within your organization. With media coverage press releases, the overall goal is to start a conversation the media will want to take part in. If your release does that, it’s successful.
Here’s an event press release example that worked. It’s from Bell’s Brewery in honour of the winter solstice. Notice how the company found a way to make their event timely (the solstice).
This type of planning is essential in getting media outlets on board. Follow this lesson and connect your next event to the calendar for better results.
Getting attention for your brand is another reason to pen a press release. But you’ll need something more than gee our company’s swell to sell it.
Use a press release to tie your brand’s mission in with some type of initiative that’s currently in place. Bird Canada has done this very effectively here by promoting its brand through a press release announcing its summer employment program for disadvantaged youth.
Another example of a press release purpose comes in times of crisis. Crisis management requires careful word choice, brevity, and transparency.
Walmart Canada recently issued a press release regarding sales of a “Cocaine Santa” Christmas sweater that was being sold by a third-party seller through its online store. The sweater caused quite a stir on social media. Here’s how they responded.
“These sweaters, sold by a third-party seller on Walmart.ca, do not represent Walmart’s values and have no place on our website,” the company told Global News in a statement. “We have removed these products from our marketplace. We apologize for any unintended offence this may have caused.”
The retail giant was able to quickly disperse of the scandal because it used strong language to describe what happened. It also showed the action Walmart had taken while drawing a contrast between the messaging of the product and that of the company.
Another driving need for writing a press release is gaining backlinks from reputable websites. Notice the word reputable. When it comes to reputation growth, quality always trumps quality.
Now, how do you do it? Well, it’s not easy. You’ll need a unique hook that involves a product, service, or idea that people want to latch onto and talk about.
Shareability is everything. And to get that shareability working in your favor, you’ll need to focus on solving a problem, wowing your audience, educating them, or, if possible, all three.
Take this 2018 study from Nielsen that’s still being backlinked by huge publishers like Fast Company. The subject: how two-thirds of pet owners buy their pets Christmas gifts.
One backlink from a site like Fast Company can generate hundreds of thousands of views to the original release. And FC has used that particular study twice in the last year. Remember, it’s quality backlinks over quantity!
A happy outcome of writing a press release is that you can get a lot of free publicity. While many publications, print and electronic, can charge thousands for one advertisement, a well-done press release can get you featured front-and-center for nothing. Keep that in mind as you consider whether a press release is worth the effort that you may have to put into it.
Get to Writing!
Now that we’ve covered the reasons to write a press release, let’s get into some of the press release tips for writing, formatting, and distributing. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.
Templates help expedite the process. But the more focused your press release is, the better chance it has of getting picked up by a high-profile website or media outlet. Still, we have to start somewhere and this is the blueprint that works for us.
1. Compose a Headline
Your headline is a good place to start though it’s fine to wait until your lede is in place as well. Regardless, it’ll need to sit prominently at the top of the release.
The headline should distill the central purpose of the press release into no more than 15 words. It’s your elevator pitch to whoever may be reading it. The mission is to get them to read more.
Pay attention to formatting guidelines wherever you’re distributing it. If the newswire prefers formatted uploads, use boldface, Heading 1, or Heading 2 to call attention to it.
2. Write Your Lede
Again, many press release writers find it easier to write the release first before slapping a headline on it. If that’s you, just use a placeholder heading above the body of your release until you have a firm handle on things.
Your lede (and yes, that’s how it’s spelled) will answer six questions. They are:
Example: Disney (who) will host a holiday giveaway (what) on Dec. 23 (when) on its social media channels (where) to give some family the cruise of a lifetime (why). One lucky household will get to join director JJ Abrams for a private tour of the new addition to the Star Wars theme park (how).
Now, don’t get your hopes up. That’s a fictional release, but you can see how it hits all the boxes. That’s what your lede should be doing as well.
3. Start the Body
After your lede is in place, it’s time to go into the remaining details. For this, you’ll want to use the inverted pyramid style of writing.
An inverted pyramid style starts with the biggest detail and works incrementally towards the least important. Let’s say you have five points you want to make. Start by prioritizing them.
Let’s keep going with the Star Wars example above. What else do your readers need to know about this giveaway?
- The winners will also get to meet “key cast members” from the nine Star Wars films
- Enjoy a $1,000 shopping spree at any Disney retail store
- Receive one year of Disney Plus streaming for free
- Have their travel expenses paid for
- And get free meals at Disney resorts while in town
Those are all some pretty great incentives. But some are cooler than others. You’ll want to focus on the ones with the most wow factor first.
We would pick 1, 2, 4, 5, and 3. What would your picks be?
4. Include Quotes
Quotes may seem disposable but that’s only if they’re generic in what they add to the text. To spice it up, you may want to slide some of your lesser surprises in between the quotation marks and attribute them to a Disney executive to add some legitimacy.
5. Give the Audience Something to Do
You might say this is your call to action. In the Star Wars example, it would be how to enter. If you’re writing about a breaking news crisis, it might be telling the public to avoid a certain area for their own safety.
People need to understand why the press release is relevant to them. And if you give them a specific action, they’ll have their answer!
6. Use Headings and Subs As Necessary
The longer your press release goes, the likelier it will be that your audience’s eyes glaze over. Remember that your press release isn’t a novel. It’s there to get attention for what you have to say.
Don’t feel like you have to throw in everything and the kitchen sink. But if all included details are necessary, make sure you break them up with headings and subheadings. From a formatting perspective, make sure the headings and subheadings are of a lesser font than the headline.
7. Add Contact Information
This goes at the end. It’s usually reserved for the public relations firm or specialist. If people want to know more, they will contact him or her and it will be their job to connect the contact with the appropriate subject matter expert.
8. Educate the Audience on Who You Are and What You Do
This is where your boilerplate copy is supposed to go. Boilerplates give relevant information about your company to the press (i.e., how long you’ve been in business, where you’re based, what you do, your mission, etc.).
9. Denote the End
Most press releases reach their conclusion after the contact information and boilerplate copy. However, for formatting purposes, a distribution service may want you to follow the tradition of formally marking the conclusion with “-30-” or “###.” Read the instructions and tweak the format to whatever is required.
10. Apply to Letterhead
Once all the text is ready, it’s time to make this thing official. You do that by pasting your press release onto the official company or organizational letterhead.
Most press releases are no longer sent through the mail. Still, you’ll want to do this if sending the release as a PDF or Word document. You also might consider using it inline in the body of an email for the sake of uniformity.
11. Include Multiple Formats
We actually recommend including the same press release in a few different formats if sending by email. The most common are PDF, Word, and TXT.
These formats will give media outlets choices in how they use the release. And the easier you make it on them, the more likely they’ll be to throw something up on their site or in their publication.
If submitting to a press release distribution service, you’ll only use one format. Follow their preferences when uploading.
12. Keep a Press Release Example On Hand
The longer you’re operational, the more likely you’ll need a press release for every type of occasion. Make copies of your best ones and rename them something like MEDIA COVERAGE PR, BRAND AWARENESS PR, CRISIS MANAGEMENT PR, etc.
From there, choose one of these the next time you have a situation that matches it, save as a new document, and plug in the new information. This greatly speeds up your communications and allows for faster distribution.
13. Submit for Use
You are ready to go. Keep as many personal contacts as you can once you start getting traction. Sending future PRs via personal email is highly effective at getting published.
But don’t stop sending it to distribution services. And while you’re at it, put your release up on all your social networks as well. You’ll want to tweak it based on the formatting of the platform.
For example, you may want to include a link to your blog with a brief tease on Facebook or an image of the entire letterheaded release on Twitter. Do what makes sense.
Press Releases Still Work!
We hope the press release example texts presented here will give you proper insight for how to use, craft, format, and distribute these vital pieces of communication to the public. For further help or to put an experienced team to work for your publicity needs, contact Brandlume today.