Posted: April 09, 2018
Our daily life here at PR in a Box is concerned with online PR and so we live and breathe press releases on a daily basis. Did you know, for example, that the first press release was sent in 1906 on behalf of the Pennsylvania Railroad by a lady called Ivy Lee? But what is the purpose of a press release, and how should you go about writing one? In this article, we will reveal all!
Press releases are one of those things that people tend to either love or hate. Many people dislike the template style press releases that tend to get sent out verbatim, and that are created by companies in the same way that they have written them for years. In fact, there is a movement at the moment calling for press releases to be re-thought and to be crafted in alternative formats. This makes sense really, as in today's world with all of the advanced technology we have access to, we should be using video, images and text to capture people's attention.
However, press releases are not dead yet. The fact is that everyone knows how they work, as they are based on a common format that the external public recognise. In fact, in some markets, they are a legal form of communication and in the financial market, for example, any statements on public companies must be made via a press release.
The bad feelings around press releases tend to come from the fact that some companies are not using them in the right way. Many companies are not using them to get stories out to the press or key bloggers for example, but are using them as a general purpose document to publish on their website as an easy way to get a particular story out to a wide range of people.
You can't deny that a press release is still a great way to get a story out, especially if you use online press release distribution such as PR in a Box. Using a service such as ours will ensure that your story gets pushed out to a multitude of websites in a relatively easy way for yourself. However, it is also really important to use SEO in your press release so that Google picks up on it as well (we will talk about this in a later blog post).
If you think about it though, there are a lot of press releases being pushed out onto the web on a daily basis and some of them are not filled with the best content, so how do you make yours stand out from the crowd?
Inevitably we have found that the best way to get your online press release noticed is to keep it simple. There is no point spending hours crafting your own take on the story when the journalist or blogger is going to want to put their spin on it anyway. So, just give them the key facts and perhaps some quotes and any relevant financial information - the bare bones they need to build the story around.
Before you write a press release you need to have a few things clear in your head: What is the news value of your press release? Are you telling your intended audience anything new? Are you telling your prospective audience something unexpected? Is it going to be of interest to them?
When it comes to writing a press release it tends to be laid out in the following format:
Date: The issue or publication date of the press release
Contact Information: If the journalist/blogger/influencer wants more information about the items contained in the press release how do they get hold of you? Your contact information should include the name, phone number and email address of the individual who will know the most about the information contained in the release, and is around at the time the press release is going out.
Headline: This is your one chance to grab the attention of your audience, so it should be descriptive yet concise.
Sub-Heading: It is unlikely that most journalist will read past the headline and sub-heading if they are not interested in the story, so this needs to be a summary of your story in less than 20 words.
Story: Break down your story into paragraphs to make it easier to read, and make sure you cover the essentials: Who, What, Why, When and How. Typically each sentence within a paragraph should be 8 to 12 words, and each paragraph should have no more than 3 sentences.
Quotes: Try to include a comment from someone involved in the story in order to add context and information.
Links: Add any links you have to further information available on the internet, including pictures and videos.
Boilerplate: This is information which contains the standard description of your organisation and which can be used by anyone using the story as a point of reference for information.
For more information on our Press Release Distribution in the UK, please contact us by telephone on 020 8720 6914, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the contact us form on our website.