Writing a strong press release requires you to follow best practices if you want to put something effective on the wire. In many cases, you’ll only have a few seconds to grab your target audience’s attention and keep it.
To create an effective press release, your best option is to hire a freelance writer or assign the task to someone in-house with experience. If you decide to take it on yourself, you should pay close attention to best practices like those below.
1. Lead with the announcement.
The first thing press release readers are looking for is the news announcement. Don’t bury the lead; make it the first sentence on the page. And don’t worry too much about formality; you simply want an understandable statement that readers won’t have to translate.
2. Avoid buzzwords and loaded phrases.
Buzzwords like ‘innovative’ or ‘cutting-edge’ may turn readers off immediately. Read through a bunch of the day’s press releases, pick out words you see too often and avoid them in crafting your release.
Loaded phrases represent another press release faux pas. Don’t claim to be the leader of your market if you have no proof. Readers will see through ungrounded promotional phrases.
3. Follow with benefits and differentiators.
What are the benefits of the announcement for your target audience? What makes this announcement different from the competition? Focus on these factors and you’ll have a better chance at grabbing a journalist’s (as well as the reader’s) attention.
4. Clearly identify your target audience.
Who will find this press release useful? If you’re announcing the release of a special edition model Lusitania, for instance, you’ll want to immediately identify the audience as model ship hobbyists. Make it clear whom your press release is for and you’ll reach your target audience.
5. Don’t fluff the quote.
What does a quote that includes the phrase “we’re excited” tell you about the announcement? Probably nothing. If you plan to include a quote in your press release (which isn’t always a necessary strategy), make sure it actually tells the audience something. We assume you’re excited; you spent money on distributing a press release, right?
6. Include a call to action.
Launching a new product? Soliciting charitable donations? Include a link to a landing page on your website. After all, a press release is about promotion; if you don’t direct potential customers to your website, they may never follow up with you.
7. Create a short “About” section (boilerplate).
The body of your release might be a good place for a one-sentence description of your store, but it should focus mostly on the announcement itself. If readers want more information on your online store, they can read the boilerplate: a very brief paragraph at the end of the document that includes only the essentials—what you sell, where you’re located, how long you’ve been around, how to find your store, etc.