How to write a quality press release is one of the important topics that every marketer and PR professional must know. If you’re using a newswire to distribute it, you need to understand how you’ll make the most out of your campaign.

Most newswires have a team of editors who check if your content passed the quality standards before syndicating it. However, the truth is that not all distribution services are strict with quality. In fact, the internet is loaded with poorly written releases.

If your content will be just the same, don’t expect good results. Don’t send a release for the sake of getting your name out in the public. Make sure that people will remember your brand for it.

Check out the 5 C’s that you need to master when writing quality releases:

  1. Correctness

You need to present facts in your content. Make sure that you have verified them before including it.

Accuracy is very important to earn the trust of the media and customers. If you’re stating facts, backup it with proofs or statements from authority resource person.

If you’re including statistics or data, a study can prove its accuracy. Keep in mind that the media is very particular when writing a story.

They can use your release for fact-checking. Provide links where they can learn more information.

Don’t forget that a release must be unbiased. Keep it factual. Avoid misleading statements.

Aside from the correct details, you need to ensure that it is written perfectly. There must be no grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes. If you are in doubt, ask a professional to proofread it.

Luckily, there is also a lot of free online grammar and spelling checker that can help. Run the program before submitting it to ensure that you’re sending quality content.

  1. Conciseness

Ideally, a release should be one page to two pages only. But if you can make it one page, the better.

It must have a total word count of 300 to 500 words. Newswires are very strict when it comes to press release length.

Get straight to the point. Avoid adjectives, industry jargon, and buzzwords. Do not play with words because it doesn’t add to the context of your story.

  1. Clarity

A release is about your story. Make sure that your message is crystal clear. Journalists pick up a story is they can understand the message right away.

If it is vague, don’t expect that they are considering it for coverage. Place the hook in the headline. Primary keywords suggest that they found the right content.

Place the key facts in the first paragraph or the lede. It should contain the answers to the questions: what, who, where, when, why and how.

If the role of the headline is to grab the reader’s attention, the lede is designed to keep them reading the rest of the story.

The lede is a very important part of the release. If journalists can’t find the key facts or it’s not clear for them, they are most likely to leave. They can always find a good story.

Keeping your story clear can increase the chance of media pickups.

  1. Completeness

Your release must cover the complete facts of your story. As already mentioned, place the 5 W’s and H right in the lede.

If it presents complete information, journalists are more likely to pay attention to it. Don’t place your lede in other parts of your content. It must be in the first paragraph.

It’s a standard way of writing news stories. The key facts are placed there because not all readers will finish reading your story. If it’s presented in the beginning, they wouldn’t miss anything.

  1. Compelling

Another important C in writing releases is that it must be compelling. How do you make it compelling?

Choose a great topic to share. Present a unique angle in your story. If it’s not newsworthy or relevant, don’t be surprised that no one is interested to read or share it.

Aside from that, adding images and videos makes it compelling. These elements make your claims stronger because it validates the facts.

Now that you know the 5 C’s, keep these tips in mind to ensure that you will have a good ROI, whether you use a press release distribution service, or you directly pitch to journalists:

 

Think of interesting news.

Don’t just write any news. Did you renovate your building, bought new furniture or hired a new kitchen staff?

Keep in mind that not all happenings in your company are newsworthy and relevant. Place yourself in the shoes of your audience when thinking of the topic to write.

Do you think they will have the interest to read it? Choose topics relevant to them. It must answer the question, “Why they should care?”

You can present a new idea or information, findings of the research, or solve an issue that your audience has. If you are promoting a new product, how do you think it can solve their problem?

Journalists are more likely to choose your story if it would be an interest to their readers. While optimizing content is important in the visibility of your release, no one will pay attention to it if it’s not interesting.

Optimize your release.

Writing interesting content isn’t enough. You need to optimize it to ensure that it is visible in the search results.

Use relevant keywords that your audience is using to find content. Place these search terms in the right places in your release.

Use it in the headline, subheading, and the body of the release. Avoid keyword stuffing. It can flag you as spam.

Links in releases offer no direct search engine optimization (SEO) value. When placing links, make sure that it has a “no follow” attribute to ensure that Google isn’t going to count it.

Hyperlink on keyword anchor text and not on general terms like “click here.” It suggests Google and your audience where the link is leading them to.

Links provide the audience with more information that is not covered in your release. You can place these links in the call-to-action (CTA), the body of the release and the boilerplate.

Limit the links to two. More than two can penalize you for spamming.

Don’t just be content that people will read your content. You should capitalize the moment that they read it to encourage them to take the next action.

Your CTA is tied to your goal. How will you inspire them to click on your link?

Place the CTA in following the first paragraph or the lede. Don’t just place it in the end.

Use plain text URL. If you are asking them to visit a landing page, be clear where they are heading to.

Make sure to be clear with what action you want them to take. Tell them if you want them to subscribe, share, tweet, or register. They are most likely to do it when you tell them a precise action.

You can place a link in the body of the release too. If you want your readers to get more information, you can direct them to a landing page on your site.

Another link can be placed in the boilerplate of your release. You can direct them to a separate landing page on your website to inform them where they can find you.

Include multimedia assets.

Include multimedia in your release to make it more compelling and interesting. This will encourage your readers to pay attention and avoid boring them while reading your story.

A modern release is incorporated with visuals. There are studies that proved that including them in your copy can increase the number of reads, engagement, and shares.

One study found that 43 percent of online readers only skim the content. Adding images or video in your release can boost the chance that they will stop to check your content and engage with you.

You can add images, logos, infographics, and videos. Include only relevant visuals. Make sure that you sue your own multimedia. Avoid using stock images.

There were also studies that found that videos increase the possibility that readers will read your content. To reinforce your message and ensure that it gets read, include images or videos.

Multimedia can help optimize your content. Write a good description using keywords to ensure that it appears on Google Images.

When using newswires, look if they are offering features that will allow you to add multimedia. This will help your content’s optimization and visibility.

Include powerful quotes.

Another tip that you need to master to write a good release is to include powerful quotes. Quotes should come from someone in authority like a CEO or a company president.

Quotes humanize a story. It also adds credibility to your claims.

Aside from your company executives, you can add a third-party source to provide their insights. It provides more weight or credibility. Keep in mind that quotes must not provide information but the perspective of the source on the message.

Quote the person using the first person. Write their complete name and position in the company when mentioned the first time.

Follow the format.

Writing a release is not like writing a blog or an article. There is a format that you should follow. Otherwise, you will not get media coverage.

It starts with the headline, lede, the body of the release and ends with the company’s contact information. Well-Written content can provide you with media opportunities and visibility. When using a press release service like Newswire, they can check if your release conforms to the format before syndication.

Here is a guide when formatting your release:

  • Use Microsoft Word to format it. Ensure that you are writing in Arial or Times New Roman fonts. Follow the 1 inch in all the edges to ensure that everything will be covered and not chopped off. Add your company logo at the center of your content.

  • Write the name of the media contact at the right of the logo. Include their name, phone number, and email address.

  • The dateline must include the location and date that the release will be written. Indicate “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” at the right portion of your news needs to be distributed right away. If you want your release to be distributed at a certain date, write ‘EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE” and the date that you want it to be published at the upper left-hand corner.

  • Write the headline at the center just below the logo and the contact information. Keep it under 65 to 80 characters length. Use a 14-point size font.

  • A subheading (optional) is placed just below the headline. It gives you the opportunity to present your angle better and capture your reader’s attention. It must be approximately 120 characters and formatted in 12-point Times Roman.

  • The dateline consists of the location of the announcement and the date it needs to be published. It comes before the first paragraph and separated by a dash. It is written in bold letters.

  • The lede should answer the what, who, where, when, why and how of your story. It summarizes your content. The rest of the content must contain visual elements like images, videos or infographics, and any statistics or data. The body of the release should have three to four short paragraphs.

  • The boilerplate should be not more than 100 words. Include a short description of your company including your achievements.

  • The end portion of your release should end with a three-pound sign (###). If you have two pages, the first page should end with the word –MORE–.

Keep it concise.

A well-written release should be brief. It must present the key facts but not too much information. Your audience should still be interested to know more about you to visit your site.

Newswires are very strict with the length of releases. If you have written it more than the required words, read and cut it short.

Keep out the mistakes.

Your release should be free from grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors. It should be written using the active voice that provides a clear message.

You must be sending a ready-to-publish copy. Don’t expect journalists to edit it for you.

Follow these tips in writing a quality release. Whether pitching a journalist or using a newswire, you are more likely to get the most of your PR efforts.

Although newswires don’t guarantee media coverage, making sure that your release is well written can boost the chance that the media will mention you. Regular issuance of quality releases can position you as an expert and a great source of information.

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