how to write a press release

Do you need to write a press release for your small business?

Often, when people think of press releases, they imagine large communications teams with an editor sitting at the head, collaborating on a press release together. But what if you run your business on a much smaller scale? How can you make sure you get the word out about developments in your company?

If you’re wondering how to write a press release for your small business, you’re not alone. You’re also not without help.

Below, we’ll go into the steps to writing a press release for your company, no matter its size.

Keep on reading to learn more!

About Press Releases

If this is your first time writing a press release, you may wonder when you should write one and when you should focus your efforts on other parts of your marketing campaign.

This is a great question since press releases aid your marketing techniques. 

The biggest difference between a press release and an e-mail marketing campaign lies in its readership. For your other marketing techniques, you focus on reaching your target audience, which consists of the people most likely to buy your product or service. When you write press releases, though, you write to the press and people with an invested interest in your company.

As such, you want to change your approach to speak to these people. 

Press releases also focus on different subjects than other marketing approaches. Since they go to the media, they have to be news-focused instead of sales-focused. That doesn’t mean that your press release can’t include a call-to-action, though. In fact, many do.

Collecting Contact Information

Before you start writing a press release, you need to define your recipients. This involves gathering the contact information of people in the local press.

To do this, find out which newspapers and television companies serve your area. Then, visit their website and look at their contact information. These places often have news desks to which they prefer you to send news-related e-mails. If they don’t have a news desk e-mail, take a look at their employee pages.

Many news organizations provide contact information for their editorial staff. If yours does, send your press release to either the editor-in-chief or a managing editor. It’s better to send news-related items to senior editorial staff because they have the direct authority to assign it to one of the reporters under them.

At this point, you should also think about whether or not you want any key people to receive your press release as well. These could be board members, investors, or even clients or donors with whom you have a close relationship.

Do you want help distributing your press releases? Check out these services.

Consider Using an E-mail Management System

Do you have an e-mail management system in place?

If not, you should consider getting one. They store your contacts for you and give you templates you can use to make your press releases appear more professional. 

This takes some of the guesswork out of your press release formatting and makes you appear credible.

How to Write a Press Release

So, what are the essential things you need to know about how to write a press release? How do you make your small business press release look just as good as those who have entire teams dedicated to writing for the press?

Fortunately, no matter the size of your business, you still have the opportunity to follow the same techniques the professionals use. 

Let’s get into some of them below.

Deciding the Goal of Your Press Release

As you sit down to compose your press release, you should first determine your overall goal. 

What do you want to accomplish with this press release? Do you want to tell of a new person you’ve hired or give an important update on your company? Do you have an upcoming event you need to let everyone know about?

No matter what your purpose is, make sure it’s as clearly defined as possible before you start writing. This will make the writing process easier, as you’ll be able to write toward your goal.

Use the News Structure

As mentioned above, the media becomes a key part of your target audience when you write a press release. These people have the opportunity to turn your story into a local (or sometimes even national) news piece. This affords you the opportunity to gain a lot of attention and potentially get new clients.

Because of this, you need to know how to best communicate with the press. In the eyes of media professionals, your press release needs to be a story that fits their organization well. This means you need to learn to present your story as a news piece.

Reporters use a certain structure when writing newsworthy stories. They always start with the lead and continue with the body. Press releases often conclude with a call-to-action.

Writing the Lead

The lead consists of a few sentences in the first paragraph that contain all the pertinent information. This includes answering the 5 W’s and 1 H (who, what, where, when, why, and how).

Think of the lead as a quick summary. Ask yourself what you would want someone to know if they only have time to read the first line or two of your press release.

The Body

Then, write the body, which repeats all of the information in the lead but with more detail.

The important information always goes near the top, with the less crucial information at the bottom. Your body can be several paragraphs long. In general, though, you should try to keep your press release brief and to the point.

Call-to-Action

At the end, include a call-to-action.

This directly ties into the purpose of your press release. If you want to gain more press exposure, invite reporters to call and interview you. Should you want people to give to a certain cause or make a purchase, include a button or link at which they can do so. 

Want More Business and Career Advice?

Learning how to write a press release often serves as a crucial part of many business owner’s public relations.

Fortuantely, picking up the technique may not be as daunting as it first seems. If you have robust roster of press contacts, defined the purpose of your press release, and learn to write according to the news structure, you will increase your chances of getting your story noticed!

Want more business and career advice? Check out the rest of our articles!