Seven steps to writing the perfect press release for digital media

Seven steps to writing the perfect press release for digital media

Here are the seven steps to writing the perfect press release for digital media:

Step 1: Identify a newsworthy angle

The first and most important thing to understand is that press releases need to be newsworthy. You need to find an angle for your story that will captivate your audience and ensure that it gets published.

Think like your audience — what do they want to read about? What topics are important to them? Answer the questions your audience is asking as people search for answers online. You’ll get an idea of what your audience is after by looking at the top articles on the websites you’ll be targeting.

Step 2: Establish the objective

Now that you have your newsworthy angle, identify the objective of your press release. While there are many benefits of distributing a press release, it’s helpful to know exactly what you are trying to achieve.

Do you want to inform your customer of a change in the organisation? Are you trying to increase sales by introducing a new feature, product or service to the market? Or is this piece positioning your brand as an industry expert?

Knowing precisely what you are trying to achieve will ensure that your press release is focussed and to the point. Keep your objective in mind at every step of the press release creation process.

Step 3: Construct a catchy headline

The next element to consider is your headline. To ensure that your press release grabs the attention of both the journalist and your audience, you need to have a catchy headline.

This can be quite tricky and it takes a lot of practice. To make it easier, you can write your press release first and then create the headline once you have all of your content. Here are some things to consider when crafting your headline:
  • Try to create a solution phrase that answers the readers problem and will increase SEO
  • Make it short (12 – 18 word headlines perform well as they are more specific)
  • Avoid ambiguity
  • Include numbers
  • Try to be unique
  • Use question terms such as ‘what’, ‘why’ or ‘how’

Step 4: Create your story

Armed with your newsworthy angle and an objective, you can start crafting your press release.

Be sure to start off with the most important information. Include a brief summary of the information that you want to share and, if people are interested, they will carry on reading for more details. Include a promise that answers the question that was searched for online.

The paragraphs that make up the body of your press release are next. Here you have the opportunity to expand on what you have mentioned in the introduction. Breaking up your content into smaller paragraphs and including headers, subheaders, bullet points and images for easy reading will also help increase your SEO.

Include a quote from someone in the organisation to make your press release more relatable or figures to back up any statements you make. Try to use simple language, which means that you need to cut back on the jargon. Keep your sentences short and to the point.

Step 5: Add a call to action

End off your press release with a call to action remember that the last thing your audience reads will stick.

If you want them to visit your website or follow you on social media, include the links. Linking back to your website will also increase your SEO. If you would like them to get in touch, provide an email address and contact number.

Step 6: Include a boilerplate

A boilerplate is a short ‘about’ paragraph that gives the reader an idea of what your organisation does or what your brand stands for and the same one is included on all press releases.

Your boilerplate should appear at the end of your press release and be clearly marked. For example, a Target Media Directory boilerplate would look like this:

About Target Media Directory: Target Media Directory is a comprehensive media database. It provides in-depth details of publications, TV channels and radio stations, websites and blogs in South Africa and Africa.

Step 7: Attach an accompanying image

Now that you have put together a captivating press release, you just need an image to accompany it. Make sure that the image speaks to the content. Remember that the image will also help grab your audience’s attention when it’s published on a website, so think about what appeals to them.

Ensure that you have both portrait and landscape images available, as some publications will only publish images of a certain orientation.

Click the button below to download our press release template so that you have everything you need to put one together in no time at all.
Being able to write a great press release is only one of the many skills a PR professional needs to have. Take a look at our blog to undercover the Six skills PR professionals need to master.