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How to Create and Distribute an Effective Press Release

In the age of modern technology, press releases can often get pushed under the rug. However, it should be quite the opposite. With the fast-paced nature of today’s news and social media updates, businesses and organizations need to be even more effective at catching the eye of their audience and informing the public in a timely manner.

Now that you know press releases aren’t a thing of the past, let’s dig into press release best practices to help your brand stand out.

Why to Consider a Press Release

It’s plain and simple: Your audience is looking for someone they can trust in a world where they don’t know what to believe on the internet. In fact, according to 2023 Cision data, 20% of journalists named press releases as their most trustworthy source for gathering information to share with the public, closely following major wires (27%) and industry experts (23%). Pro tip: consider quoting your company’s industry expert for an even stronger press release. Journalists and audiences lean into press releases as a familiar form of communication from a brand. Whether your company is facing a product launch, new partnership, or even a crisis, the public relies on the factual integrity of your announcements.

How to Format Your Press Release

Your releases should include 10 essential parts. Before that, remember to draft everything in AP Style format for the best chance of news pickup. Let’s break them down:

1. Logo

This is the first thing your viewer will see when viewing your release. It is imperative to have your logo at the top of every release you publish.

2. Contact Information

All press releases should include your media contact’s name, phone number, and email address. This allows the reader or the media to easily contact the author of the release.

3. Headline

The headline of your release should be concise and eye-catching. The reader should instantly know what you are going to cover after reading your headline.

4. Subheadline

This is the sentence right below your headline. It provides your reader with a little extra summary as to what your announcement entails. It may also entice your audience to continue reading.

5. Dateline

This is the first line before your body text. It includes the location of where the news was announced (either your headquarters or your local branch, for instance) and the date your release was published.

6. The “Meat”

Press releases are meant to inform and educate the reader. Body copy is the place to be direct and factual. You do not want to add fluff to your press release.

7. Quote(s)

Quotes are the best format for conveying emotion or reasoning behind a decision. If you’re partnering with another organization, ask for a quote from them as well.

8. CTA

The CTA, or call to action, follows your body copy and invites the reader to learn more about your topic. It is often phrased as: “To learn more, visit …”

9. Company Boilerplate

After you have typed your release body, finish with ### centered on the page. Then, skip a few lines and add a few short sentences in the third-person point of view including your company’s name, mission, experience, accolades, and any other information that offers credibility.

10. Accompanying Photography

While photos aren’t included in the press release itself, it’s a great idea to include a link or attachment to photos in your email to reporters to make your announcement more engaging — and to make reporters’ lives easier. Photography should be high resolution. If you’re pitching a television station, make sure to include an opportunity for them to shoot video. 

The Impact of PR

Now that you know the pieces of the press release puzzle, you might be wondering: Why should you implement them as an essential communication tool?

Control Your Narrative

One of the most important factors to customers when considering a product or service is feeling that the brand is trustworthy and transparent. Writing press releases allows a brand to build credibility with customers and the media. Especially in a time of crisis, if a customer has already built trust in your brand, he or she is more likely to listen to your side of the story over a third party.

Have a Direct Line of Communication With Your Audience

Press releases, particularly when distributed over a syndicated wire, have the power to increase traffic to your website and can gain the attention of new prospective customers. To reach your ideal audience, create a list of the media outlets your target audience engages with regularly and use this to your advantage when deciding where to pitch your release. 

Create Strong Relationships With The Media

Having strong relationships with different reporters is essential to getting your news in front of people. Remember, editorial coverage is never guaranteed; it’s based on relationships and clear pitches.The brand and journalist relationship is a two-way street. That’s the benefit of calling on PR experts who maintain these relationships as their full-time job.

To this day, press releases are one of the most effective ways to gain the attention of your target audience. If you write factually, honestly, and in your brand voice, you will appeal to your current and prospective target customers. By maintaining strong relationships with reporters and journalists, you are able to get your news out more efficiently. 

Does your brand need help with public relations? At Brandon, our team of PR specialists are here to help. To get started, contact us today.