Writing a press release for a company announcement doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. On the contrary, it can actually be kind of… exciting?
After all, a press release is a great way to alert the media of something big happening: it can be a company expansion announcement, a celebration of a new hire, or the announcement of a new product launch… the possibilities are endless.
If you’re gearing up to write a press release soon, here are some of our favorite tips to help you get started.
What is a press release or media alert?
Let’s get started with the basics.
A press release -- also referred to as a “media release” or “media alert” -- is an official statement that’s oftentimes sent out to members of the media to help announce something newsworthy to the public.
It works as an official statement coming directly from a company that’s easy to share, replicate, and answers all the important questions.
Companies might choose to send out a media alert when…
They’re about to launch a new product or service and want more people to know about it
They’ve hired an important new team member and want to highlight their arrival
They want to promote an upcoming event they’re going to host
They’ve been through a merger or acquisition
They just received an award and want to celebrate this achievement with the public
They want to rebrand themselves
And many, many more…
The basic rule of thumb is: if you want a large group of people to hear about it, a press release is the way to go.
5 tips on how to write a media alert or press release
Now that we’ve cleared up the “what” behind a press release, it’s time to jump into the “how”.
Writing your first media alert can be intimidating - mainly because there are so many small details you need to keep in mind.
But don’t let that stop you! You and your company have a story to tell - and it’s time more people heard about it.
So before you start dropping big bucks on a press release writing workshop, or looking for a press release generator, here are some handy tips to help you get typing away!
1. Settle on one newsworthy topic
Before you can even get started on learning how to write a media alert or press release, you need to decide on one crucial thing: what you want to tell people about it.
This seems obvious, sure… but a lot of the time, press releases fail to deliver because they don’t have a strong focus that’s relevant to the media.
Have you seen people write about this before? Will it make a difference in the reader’s life? Are you telling them something they haven’t heard before?
Settle on writing about a topic - like the ones we mentioned above - and go from there.
2. Keep the media alert brief
So, you might be wondering: “Ok, but how long should a press release even be?!”
The answer is always: keep it short, keep it concise, and keep it simple. Because, let’s face it, no one wants to read pages and pages of a long-winded story when it could’ve been a single-pager.
Make sure that all of the vital information is in the first paragraph of the media alert and that you’re answering the “5 Ws” of the story: what, who, why, where, and when.
That said, a good press release should be between 300 - 500 words, split into a couple of paragraphs, and have an attention-grabbing headline that focuses on the main story.
Careful, though: you don’t want to use jargon, puns, or be too mysterious with your headline - otherwise, people might misunderstand it and skip past the entire press release.
3. Use quotes and visual elements
To help legitimize what you’re saying in your press release, it’s also essential to include quotes from key figures - a spokesperson, an executive, a project leader, etc. - that will help back up what you’re saying in a more direct, concise, and even personal way.
Plus, media outlets usually look for quotes that they can leverage, so including a couple of these throughout the media alert is a great tool to help build credibility.
Along with quotes, it’s also a great idea to use visual elements (photos, videos, etc.) that will grab the attention of your readers and actually show them what you’re saying instead of just telling them. (This is something LinkedIn influencer Isobel Cowell recommended when we spoke to her)
You know the age-old saying: A picture’s worth a thousand words.
Want to know why it’s so cliché and overused? Because it’s true…
4. Sign off with your contact information
A press release or media alert isn’t technically a document that can just be published “as is”. They’re a base from which journalists and media outlets can pull information to put a story together that their readers, viewers, or listeners will want to read, see, or hear.
That’s why you need to make it easy for them to reach out if they want to learn more about your announcement or want an additional quote they can use.
Be sure to include your
Company website and/or social media channels
Alternatively, you can also include the details of a company spokesperson they can reach out to if you don’t want to be the direct point of contact.
Leaving these details out could spell disaster if the media has unanswered questions about your press release - and it could make the difference between getting your story published or simply being ignored.
5. Choose your press release recipients wisely
Now, for the most exciting part: it’s time to send out your press release!
(Quick note from our sales folks: If you're on our monthly or annual plan we'll publish your press release on The Industry Leaders 🥳)
The question, now, is probably how to send a press release to local media in hopes of them running your announcement. Thankfully, the magic of the internet makes it all possible!
Email is the easiest and most convenient way to reach out to journalists or media contacts and send them your press release: simply write a quick introductory email that lets people know why you’re contacting them and send the media alert as an attachment. BOOM!
If this is your first time sending out a press release and you still haven’t collected the names and addresses of the right people, don’t be afraid to reach out to publications and outlets directly and ask them for the contact information of who to send your media release to.
PRO TIP: Try emailing people mid-morning when they’ve already had a chance to clear out their inbox and have a better grasp on their day. This could be helpful in making sure that your email gets seen and is paid attention to -- and that it doesn’t simply get lost in the noise. Oh, and whatever you do… don’t email them on a Friday. 😉
Looking for a media alert template?
Are you still on the fence about writing and sending out a press release? Use this quick template to help you organize your ideas and craft a media release that gets picked up and shared!
Hopefully, this media alert template will make the writing process a lot easier!
TL;DR: Writing a press release doesn't have to be difficult!
Writing a press release takes time and attention, but it doesn’t need to be a complex process.
So, when writing a media alert, keep in mind that it should…
1. Focus on one topic you want to alert the media about
2. Be brief and easy to read
3. Use quotes and visual elements that make the press release more enticing
4. Include relevant contact information
5. Be sent out to the right people once it’s finished
Plus, once you’ve written your first media release, it’s actually really simple to put together a company-tailored template that you can continue to use over and over again.
Knowing how and when to write and send out a press release has many advantages for a company: it can help get your name out there to new potential clients, it can share an important company announcement, it can attract more media attention, and it can also help boost brand credibility.
So, go ahead!
Put pen to paper - or hands to keyboard - and get your company’s name out there and in the right hands.