What is a press release?
When reaching out to journalists, there is a good format that you can use to make sure your story is as appealing as can be before they even read it. This is known as a ‘press release’, which comes from the term ‘press’ (deriving from the term used in a newspaper) and ‘release’ (to release your story to the world).
A press release is usually around 300-700 words and is direct to the point of the story. Anything more than this is usually seen as too long, and anything less than this is usually seen as too short. Therefore, it’s important to get the right detail into the right number of words.
So how do you do that?
That’s where our handy press release structure comes into play. This structure is great for being flexible in your press release, so do make sure your story doesn’t get cut short or miss important details for the structure below.
How to structure a press release
So, you’ve got some great news for your business, and you’re ready to share it out. Great! Here’s the structure to guide you into creating a great press release.
The first thing your press release should include is when you’d like it to be published. For small businesses, the sooner the better is often the case, which is where you’d put ‘For Immediate Release’ at the top of the press release.
Otherwise, specify the date you’d like the press release to be published.
Your headline needs to be short and snappy, but most importantly, attention-grabbing It needs to have a hook to get the reader to want to learn more and read your press release, and the first person to read it will be a journalist. If they aren’t hooked and want to learn more, why would they want to publish it? That’s why it’s so important to have a clear, catchy headline.
Here’s an example of one of ours:
Headline - 1 Year On; Lincolnshire Business Success Recognised by Theo Paphitis
This headline is the one we went for as it clearly explains the press release with a good hook but doesn’t give too much away.
Here are some headlines that didn’t make the cut:
- Sentry Collective Looks Back on #SBS Award
- One Year Later: Lincolnshire Business Looks Back on Latest Award
- How Sentry Collective Changed After Becoming an #SBS Winner
Do you see the importance of a catchy headline?
Almost like a subheading, your lead sentence should be just as catchy as the headline but compliment it and hook your readers in further.
Again, here’s ours: On the 14th of September, 2020, Sentry Collective were officially announced as #SBS winners. Read on to learn about how the award has helped their business and how they made the most of the opportunity.
Summary Bullet Point(s)
Summary bullet points allow you to add a couple of key pointers to your press release. They aren’t always needed, but they’re a good way of summarising key points of information in your press release if needed.
Try to keep to three or less if you can.
This is where you introduce the topic of your press release. Your audience should be invested to learn more from your gripping heading and lead sentence, and this started to fulfil their desire to learn more. Try to explain the full story here, but keep it short and sweet. You can then use the further paragraphs to add extra details.
This is a good place to introduce a quote. Your audience now knows about your news and what this means, so a quote here allows you to keep it personal and add some emotion. Why are you proud of this news? How does this news make you and your team feel? These are key things that you could include in your quote. Try to keep this one in the present tense – what does this mean to you right now?
Here you can continue to add more information into your press release. Continue to add more information about your chosen topic and include all important details you need to.
Third Paragraph +
Some stories are longer than others, and it’s important to let them be that way! Add a third and even fourth paragraph if you feel this is needed to tell the story in full, but make sure to keep it short and snappy as you do.
This quote should look to the future – what will this mean for your business? How will this help you move forward? These are a few examples of things that you could include in the second quote. Perhaps this could come from somebody else who is involved in the press release too to give an extra angle.
This is a standard on the bottom of all press releases that your company sends out. If you don’t have a boilerplate yet, it’s simply a set of sentences that explains what your business does to give a background to your company. As it’s included on the bottom of all press releases, take the time to make sure you’re happy with the one you have!
Always include some contact details in your press release so that people can get in touch with you. It may be a new customer, or someone looking to cover your story in local media. You never know what the next opportunity could be!
You should aim to include:
Name of Press Release Contact
Press releases are a great way of sharing exciting news, however, they all vary in different ways due to the difference in the type of story. The above structure doesn’t guarantee a perfect press release every time, but it should help you to share your exciting news in a well-formatted way and give you some ideas of how to share your story.