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  • Writer's pictureErin Ratliff

An Insider's Guide to Crafting the Perfect Press Release



Despite the naysayers, the press release remains a vital tool for businesses to capture media attention, communicate with their audience, generate community buzz, and build brand credibility. Crafting an effective press release in the digital era requires a strategic blend of both traditional and contemporary approaches. In this post we'll cover the essential PR, marketing and communications tips, tricks and tactics, for small brands and businesses to master the art of the modern press release.



The Benefits of the Press Release

The primary purpose of the press release is to make a newsworthy announcement with the intent to start a dialogue and control the narrative. But there's so much more to the press release than simply making the news, and if you neglect it, you're missing out on some major opportunities. These include:


  • Supporting your PR strategy, building stronger media relationships and fostering a positive brand image and reputation

  • Supporting your SEO efforts by generating authoritative backlinks and driving referral traffic. 

  • Supporting your broader content strategy/plan (to also include blog posts, newsletters, social media, guest content, email marketing, ads, events, and customer storytelling)

  • Supporting your sales strategy, engaging more customers and generating leads.

  • Supporting your HR strategy, boosting employee recrutiment and retention.

  • Supporting your larger marketing plan by driving brand awareness and visibility, telling your brand/business history and building trust and credibility for prospective customers, partners and investors. 



The Art of the Press Release

First, think like your reader, a journalist - what is in it for my readers? Why would my audience find this interesting or important?


Step 1: Craft a Compelling Headline

  • Make it Short & Sweet: Your headline should grab attention immediately. Aim for 6-10 words that are impactful and concise and clearly convey the main message.

  • Incorporate Keywords: Use your most relevant keywords to enhance SEO and make your press release easily discoverable online.


Step 2: Start with a Strong Lead

  • Hook the Reader: An intriguing first sentence or a powerful statistic can engage readers and encourage them to continue reading.

  • Cover the 5 Ws: Begin with the Who, What, Where, When, and Why. This helps journalists and readers quickly understand the essence of your announcement.


Step 3. Use a Clear and Concise Writing Style

  • Avoid Jargon: Use simple, direct language that can be easily understood by a broad audience.

  • Stay Focused: Stick to the key points and avoid unnecessary information. A typical press release should be around 400-500 words. Your relevant keywords will most naturally be used throughout your press release to improve search engine rankings.


Step 4: Optimize with Multimedia Elements

  • Include Visuals & Media Assets: Enhance your press release by attaching high-quality, high-resolution images (your logo, at minimum), videos, or infographics to make it more attention-grabbing, interesting and shareable.

  • Add Authoritative Voices: Include quotes from company executives, industry experts, or satisfied customers to add credibility and a human element to your release. Ensure your chosen quotes provide relevant insights or perspectives that complement the main content.

  • Include Links to Additional Resources: In the body, include links to product pages, relevant resources, or other press coverage/mentions, while in the boilerplate make sure to provide links to your website (most importantntly) or even your social media pages.


Step 5: The Closing

  • Share Your Primary Media Contact: Include the name, email, and phone number of a media contact person who can provide further information or arrange interviews.

  • Company Information: Offer a brief company overview or boilerplate at the end of the press release, making sure to include your website, and NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)


Step 6: Distribution & Promotion

  • Targeted Direct Outreach: Do the research to find the proper sites, outlets, publications, the right journalists, influencers, etc for your niche or industry and contact them directly over email with your announcement. Figure out what media will TRULY care and share it with them via email with a short message.

Ex: Subject Line: PRESS RELEASE:----

"I am writing on behalf of___ to share some relevant news to your audience, I saw your recent article about so I thought this news might interest you as well. ___ is a brand new local _____ who has ____ . I think our story would really appeal to your local/regional audience/readers/listeners, and I’d love to share more. The press release can be found here (link) and below. I am happy to send as a pdf if needed as well! 


Remember to always Personalize! Journalists get so many releases, you have to be ultra personal.If the recipient senses it’s a bulk-send they will immediately consider it spammy and move on. So make sure to address it personally to the right person and mention their specific publication/column/department, or their recent similar work etc.


  • Press Release Distribution Services: If your budget allows, you can also consider using "blasting" services like PR Newswire, Business Wire, or PRWeb to distribute your press release widely and reach a larger audience.

  • Personalized Follow-Up: Always follow up with key prospects to reinforce the importance of your announcement and offer the opportunity to interview, discuss additional information etc

Step 7: Monitor and Measure Results

  • Track Performance: Use analytics tools to track the performance of your press release, including views, shares, and media pickups.

  • Evaluate and Adapt: Assess what worked and what didn’t, and adapt your future press releases based on these insights.



Your Go-To Press Release Template


Title of Press Release to Include Location Press release subtitle


City, State, Full Date—Body text should be written in third person POV in a formal tone. First mention of physician, practice, or business should include full title. Press release text should be focused on the news at hand without unnecessary fluff.


Quotes are a great way to break up the text and make it a little more personal,” she stated. “Quotes should not have special formatting in press releases.”


Designation of new section of the release should be bolded rather than formatted with a subheading

If the press release is short or focused on one item that does not require breaking the text into sections, there is no need to include subsections. 


Boilerplate About Text. This section should include general information about the practice/physician/business, in addition to NAP, homepage URL, and phone number.


Media Contact: Name of media contact, phone number, email



The Art of the Pitch

Writing a press release is the easy part. Getting it picked up is where the real work (and value is). Public relations is about just that... RELATIONSHIPS.


It's about building your relationships with news stations, reporters, and niche influencers across social media (especially LinkedIn!), and even in person. Get familiar with their work Read some of their articles and email them referencing similar work, or message them privately on Twitter.

PR can be a pricey investment because it requires both an in-depth network and specialized pitching skills. If you don't have PR experience and haven’t had success getting media placement before, be careful what types of expectations you set for yourself.


Additional Pitching Tips & Tricks


  • Keep your pitch short - 1-2 paragraphs most. It should tell the story as concisely as possible and offer everything you can think of to help the journalist.

  • Whenever possible, copy and paste the release into the email instead of attaching it. This is because attachments usually get flagged if you’re sending it to large newspapers or corporate media

  • Don't overlook the impact of visuals in media relations. If you have photos, logos, headshots etc to accompany the story put them in a public or password-enabled shared folder on Google Drive, Dropbox or WeTransfer (and include the link /password in the outreach email).

  • An embargoed press release (EPR) is an early announcement sent to media with a specified date and time when the information can be published. This allows reporters to prepare their stories in advance while ensuring that the news is released intentionally, simultaneously across various platforms. If you plan to include the release in the initial pitch email, note that saying it’s embargoed is different from the journalist /outlet agreeing to it being embargoed. It’s not embargoed until they agree to it.



Wrapping It Up

Some would argue that there is no longer a need for a press release because with the dawn of the internet and social media, distributing and finding information has never been easier. But to seasoned marketers, we know that the art of the press release is still alive and well.


The bottom line: Don't neglect the trusty press release. When leveraged well, it truly is a jack of all trades- a powerful tool for businesses to maximize their impact and influence.


Need help crafting a press release or corresponding outreach? I have over 10 years experience in public and media relations and would love to help. Let's connect!


 

Erin Ratliff is a holistic business coach and organic growth & visibility marketer serving energy-sensitive, earth-loving, heart-led soul-preneurs, self-starters, and founders with the mission of personal and planetary healing.


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