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  • Jerome Cleary

Writing a press release




Headline


The headline or title is arguably the most crucial part of a press release.  On average, 8 out of 10, read the headline, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest of the copy. The goal of the headline is to convince readers to read the introduction.


Here are a few tips for writing headlines: 

  • Keep it short

  • Add statistics to your headline

  • Use action verbs to elicit emotion

  • Focus on informative titles instead of clickbait

  • Identify and use a tone that is suitable for your target audience

  • Use title case 

  • Avoid exclamation marks and punctuation


Date and location

Write the date, state, and city in the first line of the press release. Your dateline should state the date the press release will be published, not the date you wrote it.


Introduction

The introduction summarizes the main purpose of the press release. It should be direct and compelling since it’s likely the first thing a time-strapped journalist will read.


Lead paragraph

Your lead paragraph, or lede, contains the most vital information you want to communicate. It answers the 5 Ws of who, what, when, where, and why. Readers should get all the relevant information in the lead paragraph.


Supporting quotes

Use supporting quotes to humanize your press release. Include a quote from the head of the department where the news is originating from to explain why the news is important. Use quotes from partners and customers to add credibility to your announcement.


Boilerplate

A boilerplate is essentially an “about us” section for the company. It is a brief paragraph (100 words or less) that focuses on the company’s history and what it does. The boilerplate is often separated from the main press release copy using a separate header.


A few tips to guide you when writing the boilerplate include:


  • Determine the angle: Your boilerplate could focus on your company’s history, work culture, brand identity, investors, or accomplishments. Decide which of these best suits your press release. 

  • Business description: Write one to two sentences about your business. 

  • Delve into details: After the intro, include details about what your business does, the industry you are in, any prominent partnerships or investors, recent awards (if any), and market share.

Call to action

A call-to-action (CTA) encourages readers to take action. Here, the action could be visiting a landing page on your website.


To understand the power of a good CTA, let’s use Hubspot as an example. They optimized the CTAs of 12 older posts and saw a 99% increase in the number of leads and an 87% increase in conversion rates.


CTAs are equally important for press releases. Your press release may not generate leads or sales without the right CTA. 


Here’s how you can write a persuasive press release CTA:

  • Start with your goal: Consider the goal of the press release and tailor your CTA accordingly. It could be to generate traffic, increase subscriptions, or boost sales. 

  • Use action verbs: Evoke emotion and urgency by using strong action verbs.

  • Include a link with the full URL: The URL tells your reader where they’re going. You can use hyperlinks in other sections


Contact details


Many PR experts often forget to include their email addresses when sending a press release pitch. In 2019, only 56% of press releases contained contact information.


Add the contact details of the employee in charge of distributing the press release. Include their name, phone number, and email address. 


This information makes it easier for journalists to clear any queries about your company or the release.


Close

After the CTA, use this sign “—###—” at the bottom of the page to signify the end of the press release.


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