8 Characteristics of a Successful Press Release

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Press Release Writing?

Should press releases be part of your marketing strategy, even as a small, up-and-coming business? The short answer is, absolutely. Writing press releases is agreat way to pique the interest of local media agencies and journalists in your region in order to spread the word about your business.

They’re also a great way to ensure the wider public has immediate access to your news announcements. While some companies view press releases as outdated or no longer relevant, this could not be further from the truth. They should be an integral part of your marketing strategy

But press release writing is specific, it’s something you have to get right in order to make an impact. This article outlines all the essential writing tactics you need to know.

How To Write a Good Press Release

Good press releases, i.e. press releases that are successful in getting press coverage and stories written about your company, tend to have 8 key characteristics. We recommend you do the following in order to write a good press release:

1. Focus First on Press Release Distribution

I know this sounds counter-intuitive but the single most important factor in the success of any given press release is not what it contains and how it’s written, it’s who it gets distributed to.


Obviously, the best-written press release in the world is useless if it doesn’t get distributed to the right people who will run it and write their own story based on the information in your press release.

And we regularly see normal press releases beat press release masterpieces because of the press release distribution services we provide.

At eReleases, our job is to significantly expand the reach, visibility, and success of your press releases by providing the best press release distribution service for small businesses.

And we do it at a fraction of the amount it would cost you to do it yourself.

Learn more about our press release distribution services and first-time customer discounts here.

2. Write Your Press Release in the Right Press Release Format and Structure
This is probably the most important aspect of press release success (after press release distribution) because, in order for your press releases to gain recognition by the right people (namely the media and local journalists), you need to ensure they’re written in a news format.

Press Release Format – What Does a Press Release Look Like?

When it comes to journalistic writing, you want to focus on using a press release format known as the inverted pyramid. First, you state the main idea or purpose of the article at the top of the press release. This is called the lead. The rest of your subsequent paragraphs should then provide all the facts and quotes that support the main idea.

You want to focus on the why of the article in the beginning, then focus on the who, what, when, and where.

The last thing you want is to write a press release with a confusing, long-winded structure that doesn’t get to the point. Remember to keep it succinct!

A press release should not be any longer than one page, or about 500 words. You also want to include links throughout your writing in order to direct journalists and other audience members to your website and other social sites.

Since writing your press release in the correct format is important, we’ve included several dozen example press releases here for you to model your press release upon. Then, once you’ve got it written, we’d love to work with you to distribute your press release too!

3. Write About a Newsworthy Topic

The overall purpose of a press release is to serve as a newsworthy article. In order for it to grab the attention of your target audience, it needs to have a noteworthy angle. Before you dive into your press release writing, you want to focus on these two factors:

  1. Why is this story newsworthy and will my audience care about it?
  2. Is this story actually relevant to my target audience?

At the end of the day, a press release is more like an official statement made by a business, which is then shared with the media and prospective customers. In order for this statement to hit home, the topic must be relevant and newsworthy.

You also want to highlight why this news is noteworthy so that the media and your customers are further intrigued and inspired to read on or share your news.

Some noteworthy press release topics you might want to keep in your arsenal include product launches, hiring new executives, business events, crisis management, social initiatives, and receiving awards.

4. Craft a Good Headline

As mentioned, good press release writers always grab the reader’s attention from the get-go, and this starts with your headline. If there’s anything you should spend some time on, it’s a good headline.

Basically, your headline is your first impression. You have one shot to capture attention and pique interest so it needs to be short, catchy, and informative.

The reality is that most people may read your headline, but only a fraction of those people go on to read the entire press release. You want to make it punchy, but also keep it short — no longer than 70 characters or so.

Always include essential information in the headline, and most importantly, your keyword(s). Remember that you always have subheadings to add more information and detail.

A few top tips for writing an unmissable headline for your press release:

  • Include numbers in your headline where possible — most people tend to relate to or are intrigued by statistics
  • Your headline should include action words, i.e. verbs that give your headline a sense of urgency
  • Use adjectives, but not too many — there’s a fine line between descriptive and sensational, just make it sound attractive

Finally, you want to ensure that your headline accurately describes what’s in the rest of your press release. Don’t make the mistake of ”teasing” your audience with a headline, only to provide lack-luster information in the rest of the piece. This can do more harm than good for your brand and business.

5. Include a Strong Call to Action (CTA)

Other than providing the media and your customers with noteworthy information, your press release should also inspire action. However, you’ll have to determine what type of action you’d like your audience to take from your press release.

Keep in mind that many of your readers may not read until the very end of the press release. So what good is it placing your CTA at the end of the text? Don’t make this mistake! Instead, place your CTA somewhere between your first and third paragraph.

Keep these three important rules in mind when creating a CTA:

  1. It must stand out and draw attention, separate from the rest of the text
  2. Use the right formatting — make sure it’s bold or use italics to draw attention
  3. Where possible, include a link in the CTA

Generally, the purpose of a CTA is to direct your readers to your business website or other social media sites. You want to include the full URL in the CTA so that your customers/readers know where they’re going.

6. Substantiate Your Press Release with Quotes

This is a big part of journalistic writing — you want to back up your factual information with quotes. This is the best way to add a sense of authority to your press release and build trust in your audience.

Think about including quotes from top business executives, management personnel, industry experts, customers, and top influencers. These types of quotes can go a long way in showing that your business is knowledgeable about the topics they write about.

To add to this, journalists often refer to press releases alone for official quotes. So make sure that your quote is as natural and accurate as possible. Make sure it reads well and sounds realistic.

7. Use Multimedia and Visual References where Possible

In today’s day and age, people are enticed by visual aids and references, i.e. multimedia. Long gone are the days where people used to sit and read 1,000 words at a time.

The reality is that most audiences have a short attention span, but multimedia is one of the best ways to capture attention — even for just a few minutes. Including multimedia is another great way to substantiate your press release and show that it matters.

It can enhance the story you’re trying to tell by offering your audience a visual picture that provides extra information and clarification. Press releases that include some form of multimedia, specifically video, are bound to receive more views.

It’s absolutely crucial that you include high-quality multimedia in your press release distribution. No journalist or audience member is going to share a blurry image or sub-par video quality.

Some of the best examples of multimedia include videos, photos, infographics, and PDFs (whitepapers, eBooks, etc.).

8. Prioritize SEO Practices

Finally, your press release should be written with SEO and Google’s consistent algorithm updates in mind. These two factors play a huge role in how marketing departments create and write content today. Press releases are no different, even if they’re written in a different style to other marketing content.

First and foremost, you want to focus on writing with natural language and formatting. Bear in mind that Google is capable of understanding natural language, so this style of writing is crucial.

Google can now recognize misspellings, bad grammar, and word meaning. So keep a close eye on all of this in your writing. With the right formatting, Google bots can also crawl your content far more efficiently, which can boost your search results.

Some top formatting hacks include short sentences, use bulleted lists to break up content, and reserve bold and italics for specific information. But most of all, focus on writing how humans speak.

Frequently Asked Questions About Good Press Releases

What does a press release look like?
Good press releases are created using a specific format and style. See examples of successful press releases here.

Where can I get a free press release template?
Glad you asked. Here’s a free press release template in both Microsoft Word and Google Docs format.

Where can I learn how to write a good press release?
We have created a free 7-part training on how to write a good press release that will walk you through each step of the press release writing process, including before and after examples to help you improve your writing skills.

How do I know where to send my press release to? Where can I get a media list?
Get PR and media lists to reach over 15,000 journalists, local media and industry press here.

Send Your Press Release to the Right People with eReleases

If you’re on the hunt for an effective and reliable press release distribution service for your small business, eReleases is here for you.

By working with us, you’ll have access to a custom PR Newswire service and major media outlets. We also provide a vast database of journalists, reporters, bloggers, and other media outlets. Not-to-mention, SEO services, reliable writers, editors, and more.

Have any questions about our services? Feel free to get in touch with our team today!

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