6 Must-Haves for an Effective Press Release

April 01, 2022 by Leela Bozonelis

EffectivePressReleaseBlog

Let’s say you want to get the word out about a new product launch. You and your PR communications team craft a press release. The press release goes through a few internal iterations until all stakeholders are happy and it’s finally pushed out via the usual “shotgun” distribution approach. Then… all you hear are the chirps of crickets.

“Is anyone finding the press release?” you ask yourself. More importantly, is your target audience? Heck, is the press release even effective at conveying your message?

This blog post aims to help you tackle the latter question. (Especially because Nexis Newswire helps PR managers and communications teams answer the former questions.)

How most corporate press releases are made

A press release is often written and distributed under rigorous demands. Depending on the reason behind the release, time is critical and sometimes you have to strike while the iron’s hot (i.e., a tight turnaround). Maybe the nature of the content itself is time sensitive or you’re trying to catch the attention of specific publications and/or journalists before an industry event.

Regardless, it can take an entire team to create a single press release, which is the diplomatic way of saying “a lot of cooks in the kitchen.” There’s nothing inherently wrong with several people iterating on a press release per se. But there are issues that can crop up when you have multiple stakeholders constantly reviewing and revising language under the pressure of a looming deadline. It doesn’t matter how seasoned and thoughtful of a PR professional you are; anyone can make a subpar press release when faced with these conditions.

That’s why it pays to refamiliarize yourself with the key elements of a press release from time to time. So, consider this your press release refresher! Keep reading for an overview of the 5 must-haves every press release needs to be effective at communication. Bookmark this page, share it with your PR pals, and make sure all of your press releases are structured so that your message never gets muddled, and that they pique the interest of your target audience.

The 6 Key Components of a Press Release

  • Headline
  • Dateline
  • Summary
  • Body
  • Boilerplate
  • Media Contact Details

Headline

Treat this like your traditional newspaper headline. What’s the most important/compelling fact about your announcement? Put yourself in the shoes of an impartial journalist and ask what would pique your interest and make you want to learn more?

It’s a bit of a balancing act, but try to make the headline as compelling as possible. You want to get a potential reader excited about your news—but you don’t want to exaggerate. If you do, the actual details in the press release will come off feeling either flat or even misrepresented by the headline entirely.

Dateline

Accidentally including the wrong date—or even forgetting to add one entirely—can take the oomph out of your press release before it even gets out of the gate. Journalists need to know if your announcement is from this morning, yesterday, or from two months ago. By including the correct dateline, you help a journalist understand:

  • How likely they are to be one of the first writers to report on the news
  • Whether or not your announcement is recent enough to even be worth sharing

Summary

The journalists on the hunt for newsworthy stories are contending with their own deadlines. That’s why the summary section of your press release helps them quickly assess if the rest of the press release is worth reading. Think of your summary as the bridge between the headline and the main body. It clarifies the eye-catching statement your headline makes while also setting the table for your body copy to take a deeper dive. A good rule of thumb for the summary section of a press release is to make sure it answers the 5 Ws:

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • Why

The content and nature of your press release will dictate the length of your summary, but you should always strive to make it as succinct as possible. Remember, the summary serves as a time-saver for a journalist. You don’t have to go deep into the weeds here.

Body

This is where the press release rubber meets the road. By far the largest component of your press release, this is your time to explain all relevant details, provide necessary background information, add credibility to your announcement with stats and quotes, and essentially make your case as to why this message matters to the masses. A good approach to the body copy is to think of it as the justification for your enticing, eye-catching headline. Your headline made a promise. Now it’s up to your body copy to deliver on it.

Boilerplate

You’ve shared your message, now it’s time share details about your company. Skip any buzzword-y jargon and opt for giving the straight facts instead. Consider providing details such as when the company was founded, how many employees it has, and the specific services/solutions it provides. You can include your mission statement if it helps to paint an accurate picture of your company, but remember that you’re ultimately helping journalists better understand exactly who your company is, not necessarily what makes it great. You can be bold. Just avoid being boisterous.

Media Contact Details

Lastly but perhaps almost as important as your summary, your media contact details close out your press release and tell journalists exactly who to contact and how to reach them if they have any follow-up questions. If you’ve done a great job of enticing a journalist or publication with your press release, the worst thing you can do is forget to provide the correct contact details!

Give your press releases the greatest shot at success

Keep these 6 must-haves in mind when you want to create and distribute an effective press release. Of course, as I hinted at earlier in the start of this blog post, creating a concise and compelling press release is only half the equation. Once your press release is ready to make its splash on the world, Nexis Newswire can amplify its reach to your targeted audience via its ad-driven “pull” model. That’s because Newswire has access to any and all 11 million websites in the Google Ads network, giving you the chance to advertise your press release on five premium sites of your choice from this network. An industry exclusive.

With a fine-tuned press release and Newswire’s unique distribution capabilities, your announcements will turn a lot of heads and compel a ton of folks to take action. Learn more about Nexis Newswire here.