Golden Rules of Press Release Writing: Content, Structure & Distribution

Press Release Writing Service

Writing a good Press Release that convinces journalists and readers is not that easy. But don’t worry: if you follow our golden rules of Press Release writing, you’ll soon be structuring it the right way. So, what do you have to consider?

1. Which topic is suitable for a press release?

For the perfect Press Release, you first need to find a topic. But be careful, not everything that your company considers relevant is. The news value is crucial to get attention from the press. The first step is to find out whether the topic is relevant.

You should put yourself in the role of your target audience. Is the topic interesting for media representatives and their readers? Be sure to avoid content that addresses your management and colleagues.

Ask yourself: Why would a journalist cover this topic? In addition to relevance, topic selection is also crucial. Publish news promptly while the news is fresh. The older the information, the less likely it is to be published.

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Important: Each press release has exactly one reason. Do not write a press release in which you inform about two different topics.

Possible topics are:

  • Launch of new products and services
  • Important business details
  • Important corporate events
  • Relevant social happenings
  • Relocation or expansion of the company
  • And more …

2. Content of a Press Release: Answer the W-questions

Have you found an exciting topic? Then this belongs directly in the first sentence. Start with the new and relevant information – in the teaser and headline. Don’t beat around the bush. The most important thing to get started with a press release is to answer the ‘W’ questions:

  • What?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Why?
  • Who?

It is very easy to test whether you have arranged the W-questions correctly: Cross out sentences from back to front (after formulating them). This way you can check whether your press release remains meaningful. For reasons of space, journalists often cut from the back. So write from the essential to the non-essential.

Also Read: The Advantages of a Press Release for Your Business

Press Release Writing for Business

3. Content, language, and style: What makes a good Press Release?

Journalists get a variety of company news every day. They also work to shorter deadlines than other industries. In the best-case scenario, your press release will be adopted by the media unchanged.

You are asked to ensure that the journalist has as little work as possible with your text. Write your text according to the KISS principle: Kiss stands for “keep it short and simple”. So don’t get bogged down in details, just give relevant facts.

Make your sentences short and easy to understand. The following applies one sentence, one thought. Prefer to break up information into simple sentence structures. Do not use long sets of boxes. The more complicated the sentence structure, the easier it is for misunderstandings to arise. Avoid too many nouns and try to use strong verbs. In this way, your text becomes more active and the reading flow improves.

Press releases are not advertising. More or less the hidden advertising messages attract attention and rapidly reduce the chances of publication.

Don’t forget: that your goal is to inform and convey relevant information that will have a positive impact on your business. Therefore, never formulate in an advertising manner.

Avoid superlatives and use adjectives and adverbs sparingly. These quickly make the text sound too much like advertising and not enough like news. Stick to the facts of the news.

Expert tip: The kitchen call

To check the validity of your press release, use the so-called “kitchen call”. The journalistic tool follows a simple scenario: You are reading an article in the living room and your partner asks from the adjoining kitchen: “What are you reading there?” You would now try to briefly summarize what it is about.

The kitchen call tries to depict the central statement of a text in just one sentence. For example, in the case of this article, you would answer: “It’s about the golden rules of how to write press releases – in terms of content, structure & distribution.”

4. How is a Press Release Structured?

In addition to the content, there are also formal things to consider so that a press release meets the journalistic criteria. A professional layout is important. The first impression decides whether an editor deals with your report or not. First of all, a press release always follows the same structure:

Headline: Keep it short and crisp. Make sure that your headline reflects the content of your message. The headline must be meaningful and encourages further reading.

Subheading: This is the first bold paragraph of a press release. In the subheading, you answer the W-questions and present the message with further detail.

Body text: After you have touched on the essential information in the teaser, present the details and background in the body text. The rule here is: from the essential to the nonessential or you can call it an inverted pyramid style.

End of the message: At the end of a press release, there is always the same information: a short description of the company (also called boilerplate), company contact, and, if necessary, a press contact. The short description saves the press from researching general details such as the number of employees, the company’s history, or the industry. The company contact and (if different) the press contact are people who are available for possible questions from journalists.

Also Read: How Good Content Attracts Customers To Your Business

Structure and Layout of Press Releases

Don’t forget the “KISS” principle. The text of the press release should be kept short. More than 2,500 characters (including spaces) are only conceivable in exceptional cases.

Place your company logo and the word press release in the header of the message.

Use common, reputable fonts such as Calibri, Arial, or Times New Roman. Fonts like Comic Sans look unprofessional and detract from the news value of your message.

Make sure the text is formatted correctly: 1.5 line spacing, centered headings and headers, justification, and body text most commonly used APA Style.

Images, graphics, or videos increase the chances of publication in digital media. In the best case, they are included with the report as a download link or attachment.

Pictures of a Press Release

Always include a suitable photo with a press release. Without appropriate image material, your chances of publication decrease. The attached images are now standard in a press release. Choose a meaningful image that reflects the content of your press release. Be sure to provide the images with an explanatory caption and mention a copyright notice.

Attach the press photo in portrait and landscape format. A separate download link is helpful for very large files. However, the image material must be downloadable without further effort. The resolution of the photo should be at least 300 dpi to enable a clean impression in print media. You can also rely on common file formats: JPEG is displayed by almost all graphics programs and also offers a good ratio of data volume and image quality.

Press Release Distribution

5. How and when to send Press Releases

Press Distribution: After the press release is written and formatted, you need to distribute the story to the correct media. To do this, you should create a tailor-made press mailing list. This helps you to send out press releases precisely.

Define the relevant target group for your publication. Some information is only of interest to the trade press. You should also send your press releases to magazines.

Time to send: Ideally, send the e-mail of your press release in the late morning. Early in the morning, it is often very stressful in the media: there are editorial chores and the day is busy. Sending it shortly before the editorial deadline hardly has a chance of publication as well.

Make sure you use a relevant and interesting email subject to stand out from the crowd. This should make it clear at first glance what it is about and arouse interest to open the message.

Do you have any requirements for creating a Press Release for your business?

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Jim Frost is an experienced content writer with a decade-long experience in helping businesses grow. He has written multiple articles on topics such as business, finance, technology, marketing, and more.

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