Backgrounders and Why Your Press Release Better Have One (Including Examples)

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Press Releases and Backgrounders

If you run a business and want to attract attention to your products or services, publishing a press release is a great way to reach your goal. A press release gets your business published by major news outlets so that you can enter a broad audience. But if you really want to get the most from your press release, you should also include a backgrounder with your publication.

Your backgrounder contains vital information about your business and products, but most people don’t know how to create one. If you are asking, “What is a backgrounder?” this guide explains everything to you. You will also discover how to write a backgrounder and how to order one from online services.

What is a Backgrounder?

A backgrounder provides media outlets with essential facts about your business or the products you plan to launch.

When you craft a backgrounder, it should include the history of your company or products to give the media a clear picture of your vision, and you will increase your odds of success. To write a backgrounder, you need to remember that the media does not know everything about your products and services.

So, include facts and studies to back up your statements. Effective backgrounders often have stories and examples that show how customers might use your products or services.

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The end of a backgrounder should contain a company’s mission statement and contact information.

Benefits of Including a Backgrounder

Before you learn how to craft a backgrounder, take some time to consider the benefits of including one with your press release.

Doing so lets you decide what option makes sense for your situation, empowering you to make an informed decision. The most significant benefit is that it increases the number of news outlets that publish your press release.

Reporters and other media staff are busy and have to meet tight deadlines, and they also get tons of requests from businesses that want to publish content on their news networks. Make yourself stand out with a backgrounder so that you can enjoy the highest odds of success.

If you include all the required information in your content, you save media staff a lot of time because they won’t have to do all the research on their own. Media outlets are much more likely to choose your press release if you save them time and effort.

Another benefit is that a well-crafted backgrounder boosts your credibility.

How to Write a Backgrounder

This section explains how to write a backgrounder if you decide to do it yourself.

The way you craft your backgrounder plays a vital role in your overall success. Since you want to get as much positive attention as possible, make sure that you follow industry standards and include everything a media outlet might want to know about your company.

Pay attention to the style and tone of your publication if you want to get the most from your time, energy, and effort. Some people jump in without first planning their approach, but you can’t afford to make that mistake. Create a checklist of all the items you need to include to give your backgrounder structure.

Tone and Style – Use the AP Stylebook

Most journalists and media publications only publish content written in AP style. AP style is a set of standardized rules and guidelines that journalists follow when publishing stories. Major news outlets all agree to use AP style so that their readers know what writing style to expect, no matter if they are reading content online or different newspapers from around the world.

If you are not familiar with AP style, you must read the latest copy of the AP Stylebook. The Associated Press also sells tools that check your work and help correct AP style errors that might be present. Before you publish your press release and backgrounder, you must understand that automated tools can only go so far. They can’t always pick up context or other small details that affect how you draft your content, so having a solid grasp of AP style is essential no matter what tools you use.

You can now turn your attention to the tone of your backgrounder. Keep in mind that most journalists are short on time, so keep your backgrounder simple and on point. Avoid using slang terms and write from a third-person perspective to keep your content professional.

Information About Your Company or Product

The news outlets you contact will want to know as much about your company as possible before they will feel comfortable publishing your press release. With that in mind, take some time to write about your company or your products and services. If you are having trouble, including relevant information about your company, start by discussing all the products and services you offer and how they benefit your customers.

In this section, go into detail about your approach to customer service and earning the trust of your customers. You should also consider what sets your products and services apart from everything else that’s on the market. To create a full picture, write about any future you have for your company, such as expanding to new areas.

Reveal the way you run and structure your company. For example, disclose whether you have a sole proprietorship, LLC, or another business structure. Let the media outlets you contact know if you run a publicly-traded company. Are you trying to attract investors?

History of Your Company or Product

When you are learning how to write a backgrounder, put yourself in the shoes of the media outlets you are going to contact.

Make sure you include the relevant history of your company in your submission. If you are still not sure what to write in this section, start with when the original owner founded the company. Reveal whether you are the original owner or if you obtained the company later in its life.

You should also cover the original vision of your company and how it might have evolved. Many significant chains once started as tiny shops in small towns that most people never heard of, so consider how much your business has grown over the years. If you believe it’s relevant to the press release you wish to submit, write about what inspired you to create your business in the first place.

Facts and Studies Related to Your Press Release

Including facts and studies related to your products can help you get the attention you need.

Reputable journalists only want to publish accurate information, and they know each mistake in their publication can damage the trust they have built with their readers. If you claim that your product or service offers customers better results than the competition, back your statements with facts.

You might think you can overlook this step if you have already listed these facts on your website or in another publication. You must remember that many journalists are busy and won’t always have time to research the information you provide, so save them time by including the facts in your backgrounder.

If you made a side-by-side comparison of your product and other products on the market, include the results to establish credibility in the eyes of the journalists you contact. Backing each statement with facts could be the difference between getting the exposure you want and being overlooked.

Stories and Examples

Make your backgrounder stand out even more by including a few stories or examples.

Consider some of the ways your customers might use your product or service, and you can also use this section to go into detail about the ways your product or service can improve your customers’ lives.

Don’t forget to mention different situations in which using your product or service makes the most sense. While suggesting the ways your customers might use your products or services can help, it won’t always be enough to get the results you want. Improve your results by reaching out to your customers and asking them how they used your product or service to make their lives a little easier.

Company Mission and Vision

In this section, you go over your company’s current vision and mission statement.

Some people only include one or two sentences in this section, but you don’t want to overlook the perfect opportunity to reveal the values you support. You can open with your company’s mission statement.

But you also want to go into a little more detail about your vision and what you hope to achieve in the long run. Consider the ways your business could have a positive impact on your community as you move closer to your long-term goals, and you will be on the right track. This section is also a great place to mention charities and causes your business supports.

Editing and Revisions

Some people complete each section of their backgrounder and stop there, but it’s a mistake.

Once you complete your backgrounder, you must read it from start to finish and make any needed revisions along the way. Typos and other errors decrease the odds that media outlets will want to publish your content.

Finding typos in your work is often harder than seeing them in other sources. If you have enough time, you can save your backgrounder and put it aside for a few days. This step lets you go back and look at your backgrounder from a fresh perspective, and it will be that much easier for you to spot errors. Having someone else in your company proofread your backgrounder is another option worth considering.

While you must ensure that your grammar and punctuation follow AP guidelines if you want major media outlets to consider your publication, you also want to verify all the facts you list. Many journalists research your statements on several independent sources. If you list incorrect events in your backgrounder, some media outlets might not want to publish any of your future content.

Backgrounder Examples:

Here are some real-world backgrounder examples to help you visualize what yours could include:

Target Corporation various backgrounders 

United States Sentencing Commission collection of backgrounders on various subjects

The Florida Bar Foundation

The National Gallery of Art, Backgrounder on The Ebsworth Collection and American Modernism 

The USDA backgrounder on Rice

Laird Thermal Systems

Dassalt Systemes

Homeschooling Backgrounder

How to Get a Backgrounder

In addition to writing a backgrounder, you can also get a backgrounder from other sources.

Many online services offer to write backgrounders so that you don’t have to do it. Before you hire a company to draft your backgrounder, research their reviews to make sure you are getting the best possible service at a fair price. You should also consider the amount of time the company has been in business.

If a freelancer or public relations company has been around for at least several years, it means they have experience. It also means the quality of their work attracts enough customers for them to stay in business.

If you decide that hiring someone else to create your backgrounder is your best option, you must also choose between enlisting an independent freelancer and a press release company. Both options have pros and cons you should review before moving forward if you want to make the right choice for your bottom line.

Press Release Companies

Many professionals hire a press release company to draft and submit their backgrounders.

Press release companies often have an entire team working on your content to ensure that you get quality results. Depending on the press release service you hire, a representative will speak with you to learn about your company and the message you would like to send.

They will then have a writer craft the first draft of your content. Once they complete your backgrounder, many press release companies also have in-house editors who review it for accuracy and to verify that it follows AP guidelines. Hiring an established press release company gives you peace of mind.

You will know what quality to expect before you begin, but that’s not all.
Many press release companies have professional relationships with a network of media outlets, which improves your odds of getting the exposure you need. Before you begin, you want to know how many revisions the press release company offers.

You should also mention that you want to review the backgrounder before they distribute it to media outlets related to your industry. The biggest downside to hiring a well-known press release company is the cost. You can expect to pay a lot more for your project, and you might even have to order an entire media kit.

Freelance Writers

You can find many freelance writers to help draft your backgrounder.
In most cases, you will discover that using a freelance writer is cheaper than hiring a press release company. Many freelancers work alone, so they don’t have to pay editors and other support staff. Having less overhead means they can afford to offer fair rates and still earn a reasonable profit for their work.

The right freelancer can provide the same quality you would get from a press release company, but not all freelancers are the same. Make sure you ask for reviews and to see samples of their work before you begin. If you believe using a freelance writer is your best option, you are probably wondering where to find one.

Some freelancers set up websites and work with clients directly. Others go through agencies or advertise their services on various job websites across the web. You can also find social media pages dedicated to connecting writers with businesses that need their services, so you should have no trouble finding a writer for your project.

Deciding what Option is Right for You

It’s now time to consider whether a freelancer or press release company makes sense for your needs, but you can even opt to create the backgrounder yourself if you are up for the task.

A freelancer is an excellent option if you don’t have the budget for a press release company.

Also, if you already have a press release and only need a backgrounder, a freelance writer is a great choice. Using a freelancer could make sense if you already have media outlets interested in publishing your content. If you decide to use a freelance writer instead of a press release company, you can also find services that distribute press releases for a fee.

If you have the budget to enlist a press release company, doing so comes with great benefits you don’t want to overlook. You get everything you need in one media kit and having more than one person review your backgrounder for accuracy offers fantastic results. Working with a press release company is one of the fastest ways to get your content to several media outlets.

If you want to save money and know-how to write a backgrounder, you might consider crafting the backgrounder on your own. Writing the backgrounder is one of the best ways to make sure you send the right message to media outlets and your prospective customers. On the other hand, hiring someone else is likely the right move if you don’t already know AP style.
Enlisting a freelancer or press release company is also wise if you don’t want to invest the time required to create a professional backgrounder.

In Conclusion

Growing a business is hard, we know.
But, gaining free media attention is a lot simpler, thankfully.
Adding a backgrounder to your press releases will give the boost you need to make that happen.
Good luck!

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab your free copy of the Big Press Release Book – Press Releases for Every Occasion and Industry here:

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