Some people may say that the press release is dead. If you’ve heard my previous podcast on press releases you’ll know that I don’t prescribe to that school of thought, there has definitely been an evolution of the press release and how it’s used. These days press releases are more or less designed as a resource for media and should be considered part of a larger multi-channel strategy. A solid press release will be able to relay your important news, keep you visible, and even support your sales or other ROI.

In this blog, I’ll outline the structure for a solid press release. Remember that when you’re writing a press release you need to take off your marketing hat. This isn’t the place to be verbose or flowery,  focus on the facts and the impact that your news will make. If you don’t have those news-making elements, you may want to rethink your release and see if it may serve better in a different format like a blog or media alert. So here’s how we start.

HEADLINE – With the headline, think first, better, best. Make sure you are concise and to the point.
Subhead – Subhead is a secondary header and gives supportive detail to the headline.

DATELINE – Introduce your news in the first paragraph, be specific and direct. Make sure to say exactly what the news is, your role, and why its news. This particular section should be no longer than 3-5 sentences. If you have more to say you can follow up this short para with a longer descriptive paragraph after.

DESCRIPTIVE PARAGRAPH (Optional) – I tend to add a descriptive paragraph here when I have more to say about the news above but didn’t want to complicate the introduction. Remember to take a top-down approach with the most important information at the top and the least important information below. If you have some important supportive material, I would include it here.

QUOTE #1 – There are typically two quotes in any press release. The quotes are used to support your press release vision or augment its credibility. The first quote may be from your C-level executive, addressing the news and why its important.

DETAILS AND TRENDWORTHY TIE-INS – What is the deeper link to the industry and how are you shaping the future of it? Maybe there are additional details about your product or news that you need to include. Do it here!

QUOTE #2 (Optional)– This quote is typically the one that validates your news or can be a testimonial from a customer. This quote builds trust around your news.

CALL TO ACTION – Most people don’t realize that a  press release in fact does have a call to action, more than just being an announcement, you’re guiding your audience to the next step. What do you want the reader to do after learning more about your announcement? Are you selling a product or service? Will you be hosting a webinar and want them to register? Include your Call to Action here.

BOILER PLATE – Last but not least, this is a paragraph about your company that is basically a positioning statement about the brand. The boilerplate should include the website and contact info.

Typically a press release can range anywhere from 400-600 words. You don’t need to share everything you know in the press release. The press release is more like the attention getter for the media to get more information from you or to be able to write a short article that has enough information to get their reader to take the next step. I hope this was helpful and you’re off to writing your next announcement.

If you want to get a second pair of eyes on it, feel free to send it to me at Ronjini (at) WARNING:  I have a BIG RED PEN!

Good luck writing!