Checklist for writing press releases

The media is flooded every day by thousands of press releases, so how can you make yours stand out above the rest? Follow our guidelines and you could increase the chance of your press release being picked up by an interested journalist. 

What’s the story?

Think from a journalist’s perspective. Why would they publish your press release? Is the subject interesting to their readers? If you capture an interesting angle or highlight a new perspective it will give your story more mileage. At Resonates we apply the ‘so what’ test to every press release before we draft them. 

Attention grabbing headline

Think of your headline as the one chance to grab the journalist’s attention. Imagine them skim reading 50 e-mail titles, what will make yours stand out? The title is often the hardest to write, so is best left until you’ve finished writing the whole press release. Search engines will only display about 70 characters in a page title length, so try not to have a title any longer than this and include as many keywords as you can. 

Detailed opening

The opening paragraph should summarise the entire story. Use the ‘who, what, when, where, why and how’ model. Be as specific as possible and remember to include keywords if you can. Make sure that you don’t use too much jargon or go into too much technical detail. Use market data to support your story. But be prepared to substantiate any claims and make sure any data you include is from a reliable source. 

Use quotes

Quotes give substance to a press release and can also give your story credibility. If possible use two quotes; one from a third party to add an independent perspective, and one from an appropriate spokesperson from your organisation. Check that the people quoted in the press release are available and happy to conduct interviews. 

Call to action

Be specific about how you want people to get in touch. Include a URL link in the press release to a landing page where further information can be obtained. If possible make the URL a separate page so that you can track the number of visits generated by the press release. Providing a local telephone number is also a good idea.

Great imagery

Great images can make all the difference, so include relevant and interesting photography with your press release. Make sure images are high-quality. And if you have photographs of the people quoted in the press release, don’t forget to include these too. 

Additional information

Make it easy for journalists to get in touch with you by putting all your contact details at the end of the press release. Include a boiler plate so that if they haven’t heard of your company before they can read a summary of what you do.

Once you have written your press release, check and double check spellings and grammar, and ask someone else to read it through. Avoid making your press release too long and wordy, aim for no more than one page of text. 

Need some help?

Writing good press releases comes with practice and experience. If you’d like an outside perspective, just send your latest release to [email protected]