How to Write an Effective Press Release

Write an Effective Press Release

Genuine and Meaningful Press Releases are an excellent way to:

1. Publish fresh and original content on a regular basis to keep your website updated
2. Announce important news about your organization to your audience
3. Keep your clients and regular visitors informed about your organization
4. Keep the search engines happy – especially Google – as they love fresh content!

A press release requires a specific style and layout to be viewed as a credible source of news for business or organization. A properly written press release generally consists of a total of 500 to 800 words that fit within 4 to 5 paragraphs. Follow these simple guidelines on how to write an effective press release and you will be an expert in no time.

A typical press release will have the following sections:


Your headline should be simple, short, sweet and to the point and should include your primary keyword(s). Remember, the headline is your main opportunity to grab the reader’s attention so start strong. PR Pundits generally advise writing your headline and summary at the end so you don’t miss including your most important keywords and pertinent information in your release.

Length: Search Engine Specific. Google will display the first 60 characters, Yahoo! the first 120 and each PR Release Channel may have their own limits. As you write your press release, make sure that the length of your headline conforms to the requirements of each search engine.

Format: Headlines are written in Title Case. Title Case is where you capitalize each word except for prepositions and articles that are three characters, or less.


The first paragraph of the press release should summarize what the press release is all about. This paragraph should focus on why the press release is important, and why this particular piece is newsworthy.

The summary then follows immediately after the headline and is a great way for you to write a brief description of your organization as well as the information you want to include in the release.

Some PR release channels display only your headline and summary along with a link to your release. Furthermore, if your press release does not have a summary, it can reduce the effectiveness of your news since readers will not have sufficient reason to click for more details – readers may simply scan the summary to decide whether the news is worth reading or not.

Length: Best kept short, but can be as long as 1-4 sentences.

Format: Sentence case


The purpose of the Dateline and lead paragraph is to announce what you want to say and provides answers to the 5 w’s – who, what, when, where and why questions followed by the how question that a reader may have about your story.

As with the headline, keep the lead paragraph simple and to the point. The idea is to continue to hold the attention of your reader and to keep them engaged. Oftentimes, a reader may focus on the dateline and lead paragraph so give this the attention it deserves. As with the headline and summary, include important keywords in the lead paragraph

The lead (opening) paragraph appears immediately after the summary and starts with the city and state where the business, company, organization or group is located followed by PR channel being used followed by the date this release is being made public.

Length: 25-30 words at the most

Format: City, State (PR Channel) Day Month Year – followed by the “meat” of the press release


This is where you actually tell the story. Limit the body to a maximum of 3 paragraphs; make sure the paragraphs are single spaced and have a blank line separating them.

Each of these paragraphs should focus on one particular topic or idea or concept and again, should be brief and to the point.

Avoid lengthy and verbose language and at any cost, avoid a “salesy” type of tone: since this is a news release, it is best to sound like a newscaster with a neutral and objective tone.

Length: 300 to 750 words separated into 3 paragraphs

Format: Sentence case; keep sentences short and meaningful


Starting Paragraph: focus on the 5w’s followed by the how. Media channels will usually grab this information if they happen to “pick-up” your press release.

Focus Paragraph: focus on details that you can use to support your story. This is where you can generate interest and emphasize what you want to say in your story. You can include statistics, charts, quotes from clients, staff or other SMEs (Subject Matter Experts). Be sure to fill in an appropriate level of details to support the information you are presenting and always include a link to your website or web page if relevant.

Closing Paragraph: use this area to summarize the key points of the press release and to reinforce any critical points. You can also include legal language of details about your products or services and also provide a way for your reader to get more information.


-Refer to your organization in the subjective i.e. do not use “I”, “we” in any of your narrative
-Avoid exclamation points, ALL CAPS, lofty claims, hyperboles, clichés (e.g. we are amazing, the best, etc)
-Do not include an email address if you want to avoid getting a ton of spam
-Keep the press release as short as you can while keeping it meaningful; do not scrimp on detail
-It is best to use links (hyperlinks) sparingly – about once per 100-125 words of your release.
-Create meaningful links whether you use anchor text links, or active URL hyperlinks
-Avoid HTML tags, non-standard characters, HTML tables and forced line breaks if submitting online
-Use your spell checker to check your spelling before you submit your release anywhere


Company Information is essential as it talks specifically about your organization, business or group. This is a standard area of all press releases and should contain a brief, objective/factual summary of your organization or business.

You can use the same company information in each press release that you publish, hence the term boilerplate. Include copy about important people, services, and details. Include your organization, or company’s contact details. city maps

This will allow interested readers to contact the proper individuals for more information. This area generally includes the name of the point person, contact number(s), email addresses, company website URL and recently, links to social media profiles.

Length: 1-2 short paragraphs

Format: Sentence case

-Write Professionally, Remain Objective and Be Accurate
-Double check for spelling and grammatical errors – once a release is issued, it cannot be retracted!
-Avoid jargon, clichés, hyperboles, lofty claims and the like
-Press Releases are news and not advertising, direct marketing or such; keep them to the point
-Convert graphs or charts to images (JPGs) and embed them in your release

-New product or service launch; significant business overhaul
-New employee hire
-Business expansion
-A new customer engaged; a new contract signed;
-A new project completed
-Community, or charity involvement
-A noteworthy “release” of info or material, such as an expert opinion, best practices handbooks

Make sure you have permissions in place from all parties involved to include their information, news and other details in your press release(s) before issuing.

Additional Resources:

Leveraging Your Expertise Through Social Media

Leverage Your Expertise through Social Media

While many people use social media for their own personal endeavors, whether to communicate with friends, share their favorite articles and stories, or connect with their next potential employer, an increasing amount of users are also looking to these social platforms to do business. Here’s how you can leverage your expertise through social media.

Business owners want to know the different between the 4 major social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+) and how to leverage each site for their business.

In response to this question, Zintro, a business network that connects clients with experts in a large variety of business areas, has produced this infographic, “Leveraging Social Media To Showcase Your Expertise”, which explains and highlights the key features of the four big social media platforms of today.

How is your business using social media to connect with clients? Which social media platforms is your business using and how did you decide which ones to use?

Small Businesses That Get It Right On Pinterest


I’m sure by now you’ve at least heard of Pinterest. If not, feel free to zip on over to the site and I’ll see you in a few days after you’re done creating your holiday dinner menu for the next 5 years and completed redecorated your home 3 times over.

Pinterest Is a virtual bulletin board of all your favorite ideas and finds. Yes, it’s great for finding recipes, DIY projects, and the latest fashion trends, but companies are now jumping on to the Pinterest bandwagon. It’s a great way to showcase your company culture, products, research customer segments and increase brand recognition.

For small businesses, this can be especially difficult. In order to utilize Pinterest effectively, marketers must focus on the concepts of people’s lifestyles, encourage users to share their interests and find like-minded individuals. Take a look at some of these small businesses that get it right on Pinterest:

Mr. Rooter


Waco, Texas plumbing franchise

Mr. Rooter uses Pinterest as a retention tool to help keep the company top-of-mind when a customer needs plumbing work. With Where in the World is Waldo boards to fix a leak and plumbing trick boards, Mr. Rooter understands and pins to their customers’ needs.

Project coordinator, Rachel Florence says, “We just want to keep out name on their minds so when they need a plumber, we’re the first thing they think of.” It’s really all about name recognition.


Suttle Castle Rock, Colorado, Licensed Professional Counselor

What Mrs. Suttle does right is pin often and pin right. Her boards are for her followers and she is a great resource to her community. She has boards offering advice in every facet of counseling as well as Connect To Me board, allowing her followers to easily connect to her if they want to learn more about her services.

Yala Designs

Ashland, Oregon Bamboo and silk bedding and apparel


Yala Designs uses Pinterest for customer research. Their “Your Yala Apparel Ideas” board allows followers to post images of products from other companies they want Yala Designs to make.

This board alone has over 1100 followers and 200 pins. Social media manager Lauren Sarget notes, “We never know for sure how well they will be received until tradeshow season. Pinterest is the perfect venue for us to get ideas from the public rather than guessing at what we think they will like.” User boards are not only great for customer research, but they’re also great for engaging and building relationships with users, which is key to your social marketing efforts.

Easy Lunchboxes

Tarzana, California Environmentally friendly lunchboxes for all

The California-based company’s main goal was to increase sales without looking desperate.

To avoid over-promoting, CEO Kelly Lester created a user board for others to show they use her lunch boxes. The “Easy Lunch Box Lunches” user board lets other users promote the product. So what you’re saying is you do half the work for twice the results…Genius! Lester even said, “Google analytics is showing me that 56% of the visits to my site generate from my Pinterest boards.”

Pinterest: Where The Big Spenders Shop

Pinterest: Where The Big Spenders ShopI’ll never forget my first pair of Tory Burch boots. One, because they’re my favorite pair of shoes in my closet, and two, I paid for them all on my own. Now, $350 for a pair of boots may not seem like a lot to some of you, but for a poor college student who had been saving up for months, it seemed the equivalent to a down payment on a house.

Every retail site knows that social media is their friend. Social media sites drive traffic based on sheer user numbers, but also from a trust factor. When it comes to clothing, I’m probably going to trust a friend’s recommendation or pin over an ad on the side of my newsfeed.

But not all social media sites are created equal when it comes to driving retail traffic. A recent study from RichRelevance, looked at over 700 million shopping sessions and found that while Facebook still drives the most traffic, Pinterest has one notable plus high-end retailers should pay close attention to.

According to the study, Facebook drives 85.8% of online shopping sessions, Pinterest with 11.3% and Twitter with 2.9%. That being said, the average order from Pinterest referrals was $168.83 compared to Facebook referred orders at $94.7 and Twitter at $70.84.

Another study, by Tamba, reports that Pinterest will account for 40% of social media driven purchases by the end of this year. The study also found that Pinterest buyers are 10% more likely to purchase something and spend 10% more than visitors from other social networks.

Diane Kegley, CMO of RichRelevance said, “Every social network promises a new way of connecting consumers with retailers and brands. However, the big take-away from our research is that not all channels in the social space are created equal.”

That being said, which social platforms are driving your traffic?

– Sarah

YouTube Best Practices For Any Business


You’ve seen at least 200 cat videos go viral on YouTube, and countless video parodies of the NFL replacement refs thanks to a few very questionable calls, and now you’re thinking it might be time to start using videos to promote your business.

Well, you’re right, it is time to start. YouTube has huge marketing potential for businesses looking to cut costs all while reaching a huge number of people.

Here are a Few YouTube Best Practices:

– Create brand awareness, promote products & services
– Drive traffic to your website
– Generate conversation about your brand
– Highlight presentations and meetings for clients/employees that can’t attend
– Highlight company events
– Act as an online help desk

Creating YouTube videos may seem intimidating for someone with no experience–what kind of video camera do I need, should I hire a professional video editor, what should I even record? All these questions are probably running through your head right now. Don’t worry, this is completely normal and you should be asking these types of questions.

A great aspect of YouTube is that you don’t need expensive equipment to create an effective video. Seriously though, take a look at the Talking Twin Babies home video with over 73 million views (yes, 73 million views of babies speaking jibberish) WHAT THE HECK! Below, I have outlined the best YouTube practices to promote your business.

1. Brand your YouTube channel

Customize your account with backgrounds and colors to match your brand. Your goal is to create a brand experience on YouTube, not to mention, the more branded your profile appears, the more credibility you seem to have.

2. Upload great content

Create content that addresses your audiences’ needs. Videos should be helpful, valuable and compelling to keep viewer attention. Keep your video under 2 minutes to promote something and no more than 5 minutes for online tutorials.

Note: Invest in a good microphone. Sound quality is essential to getting your message across.

3. Use tags

Tag videos to make it easily searchable for users. Make tags relevant with logical keywords relating to your business. You can use a YouTube search to find relevant and commonly searched for words and phrases for tags.

4. Engage with the YouTube audience

Simply posting videos is just not enough. Reply to other videos, subscribe to different users and develop relationships with those users. Chances are they’ll promote your videos too!

5. Cross promote

Add social share buttons to your blog and website and cross promote your videos across a variety of different social platforms. But, don’t post your video to every social website at the same time. You don’t want your viewers to think you’re spamming them.

6. Update regularly

If there’s one thing you do, it should be this. You must maintain your account to stay relevant, keep users engaged and drive traffic to your website. Remember, if you don’t have time to maintain it, don’t do it!

There you have it, the top 6 tips for successful YouTube marketing. What other video marketing tactics do you use to promote your business. I would love to know!

– Sarah