Your company it’s sitting on a bunch of topics for press releases, your company news is perfect for regenerating interesting press releases.

Before outlining the information required for your press release, think about how your news announcement will be seen by the editors or writers at the publications receiving your press release.

How to write an effective press release lead paragraph

The lead paragraph, or lead, is the most important part of your press release. It boils down all the essential facts of your news announcement. Get these into a concise paragraph containing all the required who/won/why/where/why in information, fully summarizing the entire press release.

The lead of a press release should be so self-contained that it would give a reader the gist of your news story if it were to be lifted from the rest of the press release and printed by itself. In fact, lead paragraphs for press releases are intended for this purpose. This allows the editors and writers to just copy and paste the first paragraph release into one paragraph news announcements for their publications.

company press release

The lead paragraph of your press release should be ready to conform to the standard press release format. When you were sketching out a lead for your company’s press release that will be rewritten by your digital marketing agency or PR firm. You only need to combine the notes you first jotted down in your previous steps:

  • Who/where: company name, city, state
  • What: free background description of your company
  • When: news action—announces has now introduced
  • Why: single most important fact from
  • How: main benefits
  • (optional): context information

Here is an example of a lead paragraph for a press release, with the who/what/why/where/why and factual news information combined into a concise lead paragraph for a press release:

“Environmental risk information in imaging services of Denver Colorado, an industry-leading supplier of property-specific environmental information to the engineering, financial, legal, insurance, in real estate markets, has introduced a new environmental information service and property scoring system that allows lenders, insurance underwriters and other holders of large real estate property portfolios to quickly and inexpensively screen multiple properties for environmental liability risk.”

By itself, the lead gives an editor or writer at the publication enough information about the new product to decide whether it’s of Interest. The rest of the release tells the rest of the story and fills in the other essential product details, applications, and benefits.

If you’re writing your press release for your company, go over to these news outlets. News outlets like PR Newswire and Business Wire, to see thousands of examples of press releases for companies in a wide range of industries. Read press releases here for some good ideas and inspiration for writing your own companies press release.

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Filling in the details: The body copy of your press release

After your lead, the body of your press release tells a story of your news announcement by expanding the essential facts summarized in your lead paragraph. If your digital marketing agency or marketing consultant is writing your company’s press release, they can use your outline notes as background material for writing the final release.

If you’re writing your own press release, once you’ve written a solid lead paragraph, you will find that writing the rest of the release it’s a process of expanding each of the key facts of your news announcement and arranging them in order of their importance.

5 Ws rule

The inverted pyramid

Like the 5 W’s rule used for writing the lead paragraph of your press release, the format of the body of your press release is borrowed from the inverted pyramid newspaper writing style. This is where the most important fact is discussed in the first paragraph after the lead, the second most important fact is covered next, and so on.

This writing format puts the most important content of your press release up front in the first few paragraphs. Just like it helps busy newspaper readers get the essential details of an article by reading the first few paragraphs, the inverted pyramid style is busy editors and writers the most important pieces of information in your release quickly, as they decide whether to cover your story.

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Expand the key fact you’ve sketched out for your press release

Start writing the body copy of your press release by expanding on each of these key facts—the statement, features, and benefits—you’ve already sketched out for your news announcement. Answering the following questions about each fact helps you generate the information you’ll need to fill in the body text of your press release:

  • How does this fact add value to your existing product or service?
  • How does this product help potential users of your company’s product
  • How do you currently users benefit from this fact?
  • Is this fact important to more than one type of user and your market?
  • If so, who are these other users, and how do each of them benefit?
  • How does this fact add value to your company?
  • How does this fact make your product or service unique, or different from, your competitor’s products?
  • How does this distinctiveness improve the industry or marketplace is serves?

You’ll notice some of these questions are variations on the same what are the benefits? questions, but each is proposed in a slightly different way. Writing a specific answer to each of these questions helps you to write about the benefits of your news announcement.

This way goes beyond the promotionally oriented language of your company sales copy and helps you extract every important detail from each essential fact of your news announcement.

Since these are also the kinds of questions that a writer or reporter at a trade publication would ask you about your announcement. Answering them in your press release provides the editor or writer with all the detail they need to help them write their story in a way that’s interesting to their readers, increasing the odds that your news will be covered in their publication.

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Write these answers out in a narrative form as if you were telling them to someone sitting next to you. As you fill in the detail, each pack becomes a paragraph of its own.

When you read each finished paragraph, certain important points may jump out—the key aspect of your news announcement, or a major reader benefit that an editor or writer should see.

They should be moved into the head of each paragraph and rewarded to make them into a lead sentence for each paragraph.

After you expand each of these essential facts, organize them in your release, from most important to the least important fact, after you leave paragraph. Next, read your entire press release with new eyes, as if you knew nothing about your company or product. And you are an editor writer reading it for the very first time.

  • Did I get the gist of the announcement from reading most of the lead paragraph, in the first sentence in each of these first few paragraphs?
  • Does it answer the most commonly asked questions a reader would be likely to ask about the announcement?
  • Have I made it easy for the busy reader to understand, by minimizing unnecessary technical jargon, marketing buzzwords, and other barriers to readability?
  • Have I walked the reader through my announcement, clearly presenting each essential fact, eliminating all doubt that any key fact has been omitted, or not explained well enough?

Writing style tips for press releases

Whether you are writing your own companies press releases, or assigning this task to your outside digital marketing agency or marketing consultant, here are some additional pointers on press release presentation style.

Write for the publication:  The more you can make the press release read as if it were a news article. The higher the chances it will attract the notice of the editors and writers who cover your industry. The most effective press releases are written in a dry, factual style.

Written as if the writer of the press release was an outsider assigned to report the news of your company. Your press really should read so much like a news article. An article that an editor or writer could lift the entire paragraph from it wholesale and use it in their publication as many do.

It’s news, not hype: Banish a marketing hype, buzz words, and unnecessary technical jargon from your press releases. Marketing managers and their digital marketing firms fall into the habit of stringing together marketing buzz phrases into meaningless, shopworn boilerplate.

Editors grow tired of reading press releases from growth-oriented companies whose products are industry compliant and that provide a complete solution. Nothing dooms a company’s news announcement more than a release peppered with wall-to-wall marketing buzzwords.

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Writing your press release headline

The headline is a very important part of your press release. Like a headline to a new story, it is a concise summary of your company’s news announcement. Your headline helps the editor or writer at the publication make it quick, yes or no decision on whether to run your announcement, and if they should take a closer look.

If you’re writing your own press release, write the headline after you’ve written your release. This way, you’ll be better able to distill your news announcement into a single best sentence that describes it, using the fewest words possible.

The most common way to write a headline for your press releases to join the who/what parts of your news announcement, as in who is the company, and what has it done.

Here are some examples of news release headlines from Denver, Colorado companies:

  • SendGrid. Headline: Publishes Industry’s First Inbox Protection Rate to Increase Cybersecurity and Privacy Transparency Around the Holidays
  • DaVita Physician Solutions, Headline: New Technology Helps Nephrologists Better Manage Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Another option is to substitute your product or service for the who and then combine it with a what that describes it:

  • New cell phone accessory lets users make and receive wireless calls from wired home phone systems
  • New fuel-cell system adds low-cost backup power options for the utility industry

The who/what method of headline writing is the one used most often in press releases. You can develop some very interesting and eye-catching headlines by picking out informing different combinations of any who/what/why/how parts of your news release. Whichever way you go, the most effective headline is usually the shortest one that best summarizes the content of your news announcement.

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Other press release elements

To put your press release into final form, add the following elements:

Contact heading in date. Place the following text above the headline of your press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: [currently  date here]

contact: [your name and title, our PR firm contact name and title]

[contact phone number and email address]

Put the name and phone number of the person responsible for speaking to the news media about this announcement. This is usually the PR rep if your digital marketing agency or marketing consultant is handling PR for your company. Or it’s you if you’re handling your company’s PR effort.

The date of your releases tells editors and writers how current your announcement is. And it serves as a kind of stamp date for older release was posted in the news length of your company’s website.

Contact closing paragraph

As the last paragraph of your press release, let editors and writers know where they can call or email you to get more detail on your announcement:

“For more information on ___________,  call [name, title] of [company/PR firm]  at [phone number and email address].”

The time when a busy editor working against the same day publication deadlines and wants to cover your news announcement always seems to be the time when your contact information goes missing. So make sure to include it as the last paragraph of your news release.

Backgrounder

At the bottom of your press release, and set in small tight, print a single paragraph that gives writers and editors a brief, general description of your company, it’s background, the markets in industries it serves,

Length of a press release

Generally, a press release should feel just one side of a full-size page (about 500 Words). Any longer than this, and it’s likely that only the first page will be read.

Quoting company executives in press releases

When quoting executives for company news announcements, many PR agencies literally fabricate quotes from company executives in the news release. Editors and writers can always spot a ghost written quote, so this is always a mistake, because it weakens our credibility of your company’s news announcement.

If you need a quote for your press release, have your public relations professionals conduct a brief interview of the company executive in charge of the topic covered in your news release. Start by asking for his or her comments on the announcement, just as a reporter would.

This gives your press release the authenticity it needs and communicates the executive sense of enthusiasm and excitement on the news announcement in your press release.

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Wrap Up

Getting your news announcement in an industry publication or business outlet is a big deal. To become more successful at getting press coverage just follow the tips in this post.

Do you have something to add about turning your company news into a press release?

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