There's a type of press release for every kind of business announcement you might want to make.
If you're a public relations pro, I'm guessing you are your company’s biggest advocate.
Whether your company is hosting an industry-renowned event, bringing on an impressive new hire, or announcing a long-coming partnership, the team looks to you to create best in class PR materials.
Unfortunately there isn't a one-size-fits-all tactic for how to write a press release. If you’re tasked with a press release covering your company’s new charitable initiative, attempting to recreate your recent partnership press release likely won’t get you far. Similarly, your charitable initiative press release isn’t a starting point for when you’re announcing your new superstar executive.
Regardless of the announcement, there is a press release to fit your marketing needs. While we provided a brief overview of the types of press releases in our ultimate guide, here we’ll be taking a deeper dive into your options. We’ll review the types of press releases and when to use them, as well as evaluate examples based on what they did well, and how they could improve for next time.
Here are some common use cases you can turn to when your team is counting on you to spread the news. Keep in mind that the format is always the same, with the date, header, subhead, boilerplate, and contact information present.
An event press release is used to promote a newsworthy event that your company is hosting, attending, or sponsoring.
These press releases aim to raise awareness among the general public and encourage members of the media to attend or cover your event. Because of that, timing is vital.
To increase attendance for an event you’re hosting, you’ll need to distribute the release well before the event itself. This will give reporters plenty of time to get the event on their schedule and begin preparation.
As we mentioned, covering the “five W’s” of journalism (who, what, when, where, and why) is vital when it comes to event marketing press releases. If your purpose is to attract the media, then think of this as your invitation to them.
Now, imagine you receive an invitation for a birthday party, with no details on where you should be or when. That certainly wouldn’t be the most welcoming invitation in the world, would it?
A reporter would feel similarly. If you want them to attend, you have to make it easy on them. Making your when and where obvious in your press release will increase the likelihood of seeing some RSVPs come through.
In addition to your “five W’s,” you’ll need to add the H: how? If you’re writing this for the general public, this means explaining how they can obtain tickets or sign up to attend.
Similarly, if you’re hoping to increase media attendance, you’ll have to tell them who they need to contact to sign up (with up-to-date contact information) or direct them via hyperlink to the sign up form.
And finally, a good event press release should explain why this event is worth attending. What makes your event the best of its kind? How will attendees benefit? By emphasizing the value, you’ll drive intrigue and attendance.
Take a look at this example from Conway announcing its 15th annual World Forum for Foreign Direct Investment. While the title may be a little long, you’ll notice it covered the what, where, and when all within the introduction paragraph.
Additionally, you’ll notice Conway emphasized that it was its 15th annual World Forum. Emphasizing frequency as they did legitimizes your event and helps to set your company apart as an industry leader.
In the second paragraph, the quote from a key person helped to explain the why and provided emotion to an otherwise objective press release.
The registration instructions for both the general public as well as the media wrap up the press release and provide the reader an opportunity to interact further.
Companies use a new hire press release to announce important changes in leadership.
New hire press releases typically focus on high-level executives (think C-suite and equivalent), and act as the formal announcement to inform customers, investors, and the general public of the hire.
In addition to the new hire’s name and position, you’ll want to feature some highlights from their professional background. Not only will this help to objectively describe what they’ll be bringing to the company, but it gives customers and investors a better idea of what to expect from the new executive.
This section can include past roles they’ve held, companies they’ve worked for, and any significant professional achievements. Additionally, you’ll want to cover their key responsibilities and priorities moving forward, which will help to shape the position they’re filling.
A quote from a member of the current executive team can express the company’s excitement, and highlight the new hire’s key responsibilities and priorities. Similarly, a quote from the new hire can help to legitimize your brand by highlighting what drew them to this new role.
If the employee they’re replacing moved internally, you may consider briefly mentioning their new role in the company as well.
Here's an example from WebLinc when it brought on a new chief financial officer.
This press release does a great job at highlighting the new hire’s responsibilities and priorities in the new role, which is helpful to current customers and investors. They also cover his professional experience to provide context.
The quote from the current CEO of the company, as well as the quote from the new hire himself, add a human element to the release, and express excitement from both the company and the new hire. Similarly, using the new hire’s headshot as an image – as opposed to the company logo – makes the release more compelling and provides media with a more valuable visual.
When your company receives an exciting accolade, an award press release will help you spread the news.
Although industry awards are common, they’re rarely publicized. For your audience to learn of your achievements, you’ll have to advertise them yourself. Distributing a press release clues them in and positions your company as an industry leader.
It’s important to remember that while your press release should highlight your achievement, it shouldn’t be overly promotional. Be sure to avoid excessive punctuation and emotional language. Your press release should still be objective and discuss your award from a business standpoint.
Consider expressing your excitement by explaining how this recognition sets you apart as an industry leader or how this achievement will allow you to further your company’s mission.
That doesn’t mean you have to take all of the emotion and excitement out of your press release – you did just win a major award! Quotes from executives are an opportunity for your press release to express emotion. Grabbing your CEO or president to make a statement will offer a human element and allow you to explain what this award means for your team. If you can also secure a quote from a member of the organization that sponsors or gives the award, that’s even better.
This press release announced Jayshree Moorthy’s recognition as a 2018 Women’s Business Enterprise Star by Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).
In the introduction paragraph, the release announces the achievement and gives a brief explanation of the award itself. By replicating the award’s language, this section succeeds in objectivity and doesn’t sound overly promotional.
Not only does this release feature a quote from the recipient herself, but it also has a quote from the CEO and president of WBENC — great for brand credibility.
Whether the award features an entire company or an individual, it’s important to feature the company’s boilerplate at the bottom of the release. Doing this will help connect the dots for the reader and bring the release full circle.
Even mega corporations like Apple, with legions of fan blogs, forums, and podcasts, continue to use press releases whenever they launch a new product or upgrade.
Press releases offer just enough information to intrigue journalists and encourage them to try the new product or feature themselves. If they’re fans (or sometimes, if they’re not), they’ll often turn their experience into a story.
Even if they don’t try the new product themselves, media coverage turns a product launch into a newsworthy event, while allowing your company to control some of the narrative.
A press release announcing a new product or feature should be sure to highlight the exciting aspects that makes this newsworthy. It’s not enough to just focus on the new functionalities or attributes of the new product or feature. The release has to focus on the benefits behind it and explain how this continues to set your brand apart from competitors.
Because the hype around your new feature or product won’t last forever, the timing of your release is critical. If you don’t plan on giving any outlets an exclusive, then we recommend distributing your press release a few days before the launch date. This will give journalists enough time to put together a story and, hopefully, contribute to a flurry of media coverage once the launch takes place.
Here's the press release from Thorlo announcing the lightest running sock it had ever launched.
Not only does this release comprehensively explain the new product, but it emphasizes the concept that this sock should help runners achieve a new “personal best.” Highlighting that benefit for its customers helps to set Thorlo apart from competitors, and improves brand reputation by showing that its customers are its main focus.
Finally, Thorlo used the release to announce a temporary discount on the price of the socks. While this is by no means necessary, it is certainly a “nice-to-have” and will likely delight your readers.
Rebranding is often an exciting initiative for a company. Whatever may prompt a rebrand – a merger, acquisition, change in product direction – it’s vital that you comprehensively communicate the message to your customers and stakeholders.
A rebranding press release is often used by companies in this situation because it allows them to compile all of the details into one document and distribute it widely. In a rebranding press release, you’ll need to specify what your customers and investors can expect from the change. This means you’ll want to include details like any new pricing models, audiences served, products or features offered, and, if applicable, an updated logo.
However, a rebranding press release is also an opportunity to excite your audience about the change. You can do this by highlighting how this rebrand will improve customer experience, or by including a quote from an executive that positively looks toward the future.
Here's the press release Omniverse used to announce its company rebrand.
Omniverse succeeded in succinctly telling both the history of its company as well as what it hoped to achieve in the future. In the second paragraph, it emphasizes the point that the rebrand will only improve its services and enable the company to better serve its customers.
Omniverse also included an image of the new logo with the themes it intended for the new logo to convey. The quote from its CEO effectively explains its reasoning for the rebrand.
You've been negotiating that new partnership deal for months. Finally, you’ve come to the terms that will best benefit both companies and their customers. The papers are signed, so now what? Releasing a press release is the perfect way to announce the news once it's finally official.
Similar to a rebranding press release, the main purpose of a partnership press release is to inform your audience of the upcoming changes. What’s tricky about it is that each partner has built relationships with its own customer base, and you’ll need to write a press release that appeals to both.
Luckily, by aligning your values, you’ll be able to communicate to your customer base exactly what they can expect. What’s even better is that both brands can leverage one another’s audience to secure even more exposure. A partnership already benefits both parties – your press release should do the same!
In a partnership press release, be certain to include your why and your what — explain why this decision was made and what is going to change or, hopefully, improve. A partnership can be a great sign for investors, so write a press release to excite them!
You can also use this opportunity to delight your customers about the new features, services, or experiences they’ll get access to.
Including an executive quote from both parties is a great way to provide insight and express excitement.
This press release announces the official partnership between Highspot and SalesLoft.
The first paragraph immediately identifies who, what, and why, while emphasizing the benefit this will have for customers and how it plans to ease the sales process.
The quotes used reassure investors and customers alike that the partnership decision had their best interest in mind. Both parties expressed genuine excitement about the opportunity.
Finally, the press release succeeds in communicating how this will benefit customers, and let’s be real, that’s what they really care about. If you’re able to convince your audience that this partnership is going to be a success, then your press release did its job.
And if you're an influencer looking to gain a partnership, learn how to make a media kit.
|Related: Nowadays, most press releases live online. However, if you do consider publishing a physical copy, learn the benefits of using desktop publishing software.|
Charitable initiatives are an excellent way to show your customers that you care about more than just profit. However, it’s likely your audience has no knowledge of the good being done.
A charitable initiative press release is your opportunity to tell your audience that you’re concerned with more than just the bottom line – and give them a glimpse into company culture. An added benefit is that media loves a feel-good story. Featuring the work your team is doing is a likely way to secure some media coverage.
Similar to an award press release, it’s important to not be overly promotional. Charitable initiatives are exciting, and it’s easy to want to brag about your team and the strides they’re making. Our advice is to tread cautiously. The most effective press release will give a high-level description of the work being done, but more importantly, rally others to get behind the cause.
In addition to the necessary details, you’ll want to include those that will truly excite your readers and intrigue the media. This information is often quantitative — people helped, hours worked, or money earned. These are the numbers that will drive a news story and clearly indicate the impact your team is having.
While quotes are important in any press release, they are especially beneficial in a charitable initiative press release. A quote from an executive at your company can provide a human element to your business, while a quote from the organization you’re helping can truly pull at the heart strings and encourage a reporter to turn your release into a story.
Take a look at how Career Step announced that it donated $15,000 to Special Olympics.
Career Step explained the basis of its giving program, but more importantly, explained why it was important to them. By doing this through a quote as Career Step did, you’re able to convey emotion regarding your charitable cause and what it means to you. While you can explain this in the regular body copy as well, it will have to be more objective there.
Career Step also featured numerical elements, quantifying the impact its initiative had. The employees walked, biked, or ran 1,200 miles, which translated to $15,000 given to charity.
If possible, include an image of the organization you supported or the impact you made. For example, if your employees are building houses with Habitat for Humanity, feature an image of the house they built.
The above types are also adaptable — if you have a story you’d like to tell that isn’t included above, try to manipulate one of the press releases to fit what you need.
Ready for that press release to reach your audience? Consider using some press release distribution software to ensure your press release makes its way to the right media sources.
Claire is a Senior Marketing Manager at Blueprint and a former growth marketing team manager at G2. Born and raised in the Chicago area, her brief stint in Ohio (University of Dayton) gave her a new appreciation for deep-dish pizza, but left her well-versed in Cincinnati-style chili and "cities" with a population fewer than 400,000. While not writing, Claire can be found practicing calligraphy, seeking out the best dive bars in Chicago, and planning her next trip. (she/her/hers)
This is the second of five articles that make up The Newcomer’s Guide to Category Design.
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