How to Write a Successful Press Release

The press release remains the primary tool through which a company can communicate important information to the general public, even through niche media channels. If properly designed and distributed, it results in a splash of visibility on a strategic message, giving the company even more credibility.

What is a press release?

A press release is an official announcement sent by a company to media organizations and others. Whether we call it a ‘press release,’ a ‘press statement,’ or a ‘media release,’ we are always talking about the same thing.

When writing a press release, the language used must be clear, precise, and error-free. Furthermore, it must be highly readable; avoid using excessively formal or unnecessary language. The message conveyed through the release should be written in an appealing manner in order to pique the interest of members of the media or other target audiences. It is more than just a sales tool for businesses. Rather, it is a news article based on real facts that should answer the questions “who?”, “what?”, “when?”, “where?”, “why?”, and “how?” from the first paragraph.

Press releases can be written for a variety of purposes, including new product launches, acquisitions, product updates, new partnerships, promotions, staff changes or new hires, awards or events, and so on.

What is the purpose of a press release?

The press release is a communication tool used to convey important information to media outlets about a specific topic, with the goal of being published and becoming public knowledge. When used correctly and contextually, press releases can increase a company’s or individual’s visibility and credibility in the eyes of journalists as well as existing and potential customers, thereby aiding in the development of a positive public image.

Press release structure

The headline of a press release must be short, to the point, and compelling in order to stand out among the many emails a journalist receives every day.

The first paragraph will expand on the information presented in the headline and provide journalists with the details they expect, in the style of a news story, answering as many basic questions as possible: who, what, where, when, and possibly how.

The second paragraph will provide relevant information and arguments to support the development (studies, analyses, statistics, opinions).

We recommend using at least one quote from a person who is representative of what is being communicated to reinforce the claims (company manager, CEO or CFO, as appropriate). The information he or she presents should be new, not repeat what has already been said, and should add value (figures, important data) to ensure that the quote is remembered by journalists. It should be placed as high as possible in order to emphasize the strategic message.

The fourth paragraph is typically reserved for background information such as company history, similar events held in the past, or background details related to the subject of the release.

Most press releases are one or two pages long, depending on the subject’s complexity. If more information is required, a journalist will never hesitate to request it if the subject is of interest to them.

Do-s & Don’t-s

To be successful with a press release

  • provide new, topical information, don’t repeat what has already been said
  • never ignore the socio-political context of the moment and adapt the content as much as possible
  • learn who the journalists who cover the subject of the release are, how they write, and what information they present, so that you only send it to those who are truly interested
  • send the release first thing in the morning and make sure that key journalists have received it
  • include a message, and always include a relevant professional photo, ideally a representative video.
  • avoid sending only commercial information in an attempt to sell.

If you want to be successful, avoid the following:

  • spread misinformation
  • exaggerate certain figures/facts
  • invent quotes from famous people
  • brag, and use a lot of adjectives
  • bombard journalists with information that is irrelevant to the vast majority of their audience

While it may be tempting to write a press release that exaggerates your company’s achievements or changes the facts to make the story more appealing to the media, keep in mind that press releases are available in the public domain, which means anyone can access them and verify what’s written. Remember, reputations are very laboriously built but very easily lost. Good luck!