How to write a press release

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Press releases are a great way to get the word out about your business. They can help you generate more website traffic, leads, and sales but if they aren’t written correctly, they will not be effective. 

In this blog post, we will discuss how to write a press release that gets results. We will cover the basics of press release writing, as well as some tips and tricks that will help you create an attention-grabbing release that will stand out from the competition!

If it is your first time writing a press release, or if you’re just looking for tips and tricks on how to structure your press release, Nicola Snell will walk you through formatting and writing an eye-catching press release to make you stand out from the crowd.

As you know, journalists are receiving hundreds of press releases every day to their inbox, which makes it very hard for companies to make themselves heard.

So listen, take notes and try it out!

What is a press release? 

A press release is an official statement from a company or organization usually issued to the media for distribution. It can be written in any format (email, letter, fax, etc.) but it must contain certain information about the organization or event being announced such as its name and location. 

The main purpose of a press release is to inform the public about something that is happening in your company or organization. It can be used to announce new products or services, changes in management, awards or achievements, and any other newsworthy events.

Remember, journalists need you, they have a set number of articles to publish, and you are making their job easier if you present a great press release they can use.

How to pick the right products to write about?

Half of the success of the press release will depend on picking the right products to feature. If you can stand out and fit your product in the article perfectly you have a much higher chance of getting published.

New products

If you have a new product range that’s about to hit the market it can be a newsworthy event by itself. 

If you are representing a well-known brand all you need to do is to write a press release about the launch itself with all the details included.

If you are an up-and-coming brand, you might still want to combine the launch with one of the hooks we will discuss in the next section.

Old products 

If you want to feature an older product range you need to create newsworthiness with a hook.  A good « hook » is something that connects your product with a topic the journalist is about to write about.

Here are some examples of successful « hooks » you can use:

  • key dates such as seasons, holidays, weddings, festivals, gifting seasons
  • gift guides are popular for every upcoming occasion
  • trends (for example, tone-on-tone), research trends in trade show reports, Pinterest trends, Google trends, etc.
  • colour trends are big such as Pantone’s colour of the year (WGSN as well)
  • if you don’t have the same colour in your product range write about complementary colours to the colour of the year
  • seasonal colours (vibrant summer, pastel spring, rich autumn, darker colours for winter)

What are lead times and why are they important?

Understanding lead times is crucial.

The lead time is the difference between when a journalist starts working on their article and the date the article is published.

If you are wanting to feature your products in seasonal publications or gift guides for certain occasions you need to be aware of the lead times your target publications are working with.

Send your press release late and you might easily miss your once-a-year chance of getting press coverage when it matters the most.

We generally divide publications into two categories: long lead and short lead. Keep in mind that these are not written in stone and certain news outlets or journalists might work with different lead times to what is listed here.

If you want to target a specific magazine, for example, it would be best to research the lead time they use well in advance.

Long lead (2-4 months in advance) – monthly print magazines. Christmas lead times can even be longer such as 4-6 months.

Short lead (from same day to 4 weeks ahead) – daily/weekly newspapers, blogs, influencers. 

How should a press release be structured?

Writing your press release in the correct format will help your chances of getting featured tremendously.

Journalists can receive hundreds of emails a day and if you present your content in a way that stands out, is relevant, follows the expected format (so that they can just copy and paste if for the most part, making their job much easier), and presents your information in a clean, easy-to-understand style is crucial for success.

Headline/title  

This is the most critical part, a journalist needs to open your email when they see this, otherwise, it gets instantly buried with the rest of them.

The most popular length of a headline seems to be between 5 and 10 words. It needs to contain enough information to pique the journalist’s interest without being too long and boring.

You want to include words like new and launch, along with product name/type, trend or season you want to use as a hook.

Another good reason to include these keywords in the email title is that if you are ahead of the optimal lead time, they can still find it with a search within their email box later when they need it.

Use your brand name in the title if it’s already a well-known brand, otherwise, leave it out.

Be clear and concise rather than trying to be too creative with your titles.

The first paragraph

Summarize the key message, including the trend, season, or any other hooks that you have used in the title.

Include the company name, add more info on the products such as the name of the collection, or any key features such as where is it made, is it eco-friendly, etc.

Images

Images are the second most important part of the press release after the title, use both cutout and lifestyle images if you can.

Cutout images have a white background and tend to be featured more often but certain products might fit better in a lifestyle setting.

It comes without saying that the images should be high-quality. The preferred format by most journalists is JPEG.

Story

Develop the story in 1-2 paragraphs, talk about the materials, dimensions, prices and tell a story about the products, how is it different from competitors.

Include the company summary, the heritage or key brand identity that differentiates your company.

Talk about the launch details if you have one.

Contact details

Include the name and work title of the person giving the information, along with the company name and address, website, email address, and phone number.

You can also send samples/products for shoots if they fit in your budget.

Who can be the spokesperson?

It’s usually someone who is involved with the product or business such as the founder, the creative director, or the buyer. Use a marketing director as the last resort.

Why use Press Loft to send press releases out?

If you are trying to send out press releases on your own, the normal workflow looks something like this:

  • find the right publication
  • find journalist 
  • discover email address
  • write press release 
  • send an email and high-res images 
  • hire a media monitoring agency to let you know if you have had press coverage (or manually search yourself)

When you are using our service, Press Loft does everything on the list but writing the press release. This way, you can focus on what you know the best: your products. We take care of the rest.

We also offer international distribution if you are looking to get featured in other markets as well.

The most common mistakes when writing a press release

Before you press send, it’s good practice to go through a final checklist to make sure you have not made any of the following mistakes which can easily cost you press coverage.

  • not including a headline
  • not including attention-grabbing keywords in the title
  • focusing on the company, rather than product or service news
  • including too much detail (or not enough)
  • making the press release sound like an advertisement
  • forgetting to include important contact information (like a website URL)
  • not proofreading before submitting

FAQ

How many images should a press release include?

Research shows that the optimum number of images to include with your press release is between 5 and 10.

If you have a wide product range, should you include them all or focus on a segment?

Our results show that it’s better to focus on a smaller range of your product selection and really nail the message about those products. Match them with a trend or do a press release about the launch of a new product group.

Do you chase a press release?

When using Press Loft, you can see if a journalist has downloaded your images from your press release. You might be wondering if it would be a good idea to follow up and check with the journalist if they have actually used your image in an article.

According to our experts, this is not advisable, unless you can offer some extras such as a product sample, which can increase your chances of having your press release and image published.

Who writes a press release?

A press release is written by someone who has news to share with the public. The author may be a company, an organization, or even an individual person (such as a marketing person or company founder). Press releases are often written in order to announce new products and services, or changes within companies. They can also provide information about upcoming events like conferences and trade shows.

What are the different types of press releases?

There are several types of press releases, some of the most popular ones include:

  • Product/service launch
  • Expert testimonials/top tips (how-tos, trends, Q&A)
  • Company news (mergers, acquisitions, changes in management, etc.)
  • Event announcements (conference details, new hires, awards won, etc.)

How much does a press release cost?

When writing a press release, it’s important to consider the cost of having someone else write it for you. While there isn’t an official price tag on them (especially since they can vary in length and detail), we’ve found that most writers charge between £200-500 per release plus sometimes thousands to then send it out via a large newswire service. If this seems like too much money, don’t worry – there are other options out there! For example, you can write your own following our guide and send a press release from £45 from within your Press Loft dashboard!

Are press releases worth it?

It depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If you’ve got new products or have products that fit into a great trend, season, or event, then yes – they can be very helpful. They’ll get your message out there fast and ensure it gets seen by the right people (like journalists). However, if your goal is simply to send out a message and your products don’t neatly fit into one of the hooks or aren’t new, then investing in a press release might not be worth it.

What is the difference between a news article and a press release?

A news article is written by journalists who are reporting on an event, issue, or topic for their publication (e.g., newspaper). A press release is usually issued directly from an organization that wants to promote something about itself (e.g., a new product launch).

What is the difference between a press release and an advertisement?

A press release is written by someone in the company eg the founder or the person in public relations for their organization or client, this is sent to encourage the journalists to write about the company in free editorial placement, the journalist then decides what to write and what to include. Whereas advertisements are typically created by advertisers (the graphics are done by the designer at the company or sometimes even at the publication) and they can choose exactly what they want to go in. These are paid placements within a publication.

While both may be considered « promotional » pieces of content, they have different audiences and objectives.  The adverts may give you complete control, but the editorial placement is a form of third-party endorsement which is shown by some studies to be 7x more impactful than paid advertising.

Do you need more help sending or writing a press release? Please get in touch with us: info@pressloft.com

Did you know? Press Loft offers a one-off press release distribution service to all interiors and gift companies; check out our prices here if you are interested!

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What is Press Loft?

Press Loft  www.pressloft.com is a PR platform specialising in the home, gift and lifestyle sectors that helps thousands of brands to get their products into the press.

Their PR tools allow companies to easily secure press coverage and quality backlinks for SEO by connecting with their network of 20,000+ journalists, bloggers and influencers.

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