The standard press release format was once used only by media outlets. But the press release has had a resurgence of importance.
Now, businesses are using these short, powerful media tools to spread the word about everything from a new employee to an upcoming event to a product release.
Do you want to tap into the power of a well-written press release? It’s easier than you think. You can easily follow these simple steps to make sure your press release is on the money every time.
A standard press release contains seven sections. If you follow these simple format rules, you’ll be able to knock out the perfect press release every time.
In the standard AP press release format, your logo should be the first thing the reader sees, in the top left-hand corner of the page. Right underneath the logo should read, “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.”
Next is your chance to grab the reader’s attention with a header. The header is another name for the headline. Your header should be the beginning of an attention-grabbing story that you’re telling the reader. The subhead should focus on a single idea – a single benefit for the reader – that supports your header statement.
You might end up spending a lot of time on this, but that’s alright. Your header and subhead together will do about 80% of the work for you. If you’ve written a good enough header and then supported it with a strong subhead, your reader will want to continue reading your body copy.
It might help to research keywords in your industry. Find some good strong keywords that will be relevant to your announcement. Use those keywords in your header and subhead, if you can weave them in naturally.
Don’t overstuff your press release with keywords. Google’s algorithm learned how to spot overstuffing. If your press release doesn’t flow, Google could punish you and bump your content down in the rankings.
In your introductory paragraph, you need to answer the most pressing questions. You got them interested, now you need to give them a reason to keep reading. You’ll want to answer the questions – who, what, why, where, when – in the introduction to let them know what they’re about to read.
Your first paragraph should be full of meat, none of the fluff. Focus on only one thing, as doing so will have a much bigger impact.
Keep your copy tight and full of action verbs. Don’t beat around the bush; be direct. Keep them on the hook.
Now that you’ve shared the most important parts of the story, it’s time to go deep. Here, you can explain the details of your story. Find some testimonials, case studies, quotes, statistics, any kind of data to back up your statements or provide social proof.
News outlets will sometimes use your statistics and testimonials when they write your story. It helps improve your chances of journalists wanting to report when you include tools they can use.
This section is where you need to answer the question “why do I care?” for your reader. Paint a picture by telling the reader how it will benefit them. And don’t forget to engage both the media person receiving the press release and the end-user in your copy.
One thing that you can include in your press release to help boost its effectiveness is a relevant picture. If you want even higher percentages of views, create a video to add to your press release. Both pictures and video have been proven to be effective at boosting traffic by as much as 50%.
Remember, the point of this section is to create a desire to take the next step. If you’ve done this part well, you’ll have them looking for more information.
Once you’ve shared your awesome and compelling story, you want to leave them wondering how to get more information. This is where the call-to-action comes in. A call-to-action gives your reader simple instructions as to what they should do next.
You can create any kind of call-to-action you want – download a free report, sign up for our newsletter, join our Facebook page, schedule a phone consultation, check out our website to learn more. It’s really up to you how you want to direct your readers once you’ve got them interested in what you have to say.
Make sure you’re clear on what you want the reader to do or where to go. And make it simple for them to take the next step. You should create a simple, efficient user experience, even in your press releases.
If you’ve done a good job of crafting your story and telling your reader what to do next, they should want to know more about you and what your company is about. Include the “About” section to share that information with your reader.
Also, if the media decides to pick up your story and cover it, this will give them some background on your business, which cuts down on how much research they will need to do. Media people like things simple, and the easier you can make their job, the more likely you’ll get to enjoy some free press. Think of the “About” section as a way to remove an obstacle for media outlets.
Don’t forget to also list how to contact you directly. Include every way they can reach out including your website, email address, phone number, and social links. Also, it’s customary to end the press release with “###” to let the reader know they reached the end.
There was a time when press releases were really just for getting important information out to local newspapers, but those days are gone. Today, you can create buzz around anything going on in your business.
Now you can disseminate your press release in a myriad of ways – social media, online press release sites like ereleases.com, local newspapers, tv, etc. – by following the standard press release format. Learning how to write and distribute a press release will help you get the news out about your business and establish your online presence.
If you’re interested in learning more about how online press release distribution services can help you boost your business, check out our services on our website.
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