What Is a Press Release and How Do You Write One?

ByNikolina Cveticanin
March 01,2022

Press releases used to be sent out exclusively to journalists and editors who would then judge whether the news they contained was important and interesting enough for the readers to be published by their newspaper.

Within the past two decades, however, social media platforms have progressed to become a significant part of our lives. They have drastically changed the way people communicate, and they have transformed the press release into one of the most valuable marketing tools companies can use to communicate directly with their target audiences.

What Is a Press Release?

A press release is a short news article written by a PR professional and made visible to the targeted audience. It is also called a media statement or news release, and its main goal is to catch the attention of journalists and online publications and raise awareness about a specific subject. Nowadays, anyone can easily create, publish, and distribute a press release thanks to a large number of press release distribution companies that have made this service available to an unprecedented number of people. 

This is great news for small businesses because there are many benefits of writing press releases your company, too, can take advantage of:

  • Instead of just being used to introduce a new product or a service, press releases can now be employed to enhance your SEO strategy and help your company connect with investors, customers, and (prospective) employees. 
  • An online press release is an excellent form of direct communication with the target audience without any third-party involvement. 
  • And finally, one of the greatest things about online press releases is that they’re easy to access, and they represent a permanent piece of a company’s public record.

How To Write a Press Release

Before writing a press release, consider a few points. 

The most important thing is to determine what it is that you want the press release to accomplish. Is it just a promotion of a new product, or do you maybe wish to add subscribers to the company’s newsletter? 

You should also ensure to answer the 5W1H questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Once you have all that information sorted out, you can start writing your press release.

The main elements of a press release are:

  • Contact information. The standard press release should begin with the name, phone number, and e-mail address of the person who wrote the release.
  • The headline. Probably the most important part of a press release. This is where you grab your readers’ attention, and you need to make sure it’s newsworthy and intriguing.
  • Brief summary. This should be a short, one-line summary of the press release. And like the headline, it should be catchy and motivational.
  • The body. The first paragraph of the body should contain the location and the date stamp. The rest of it should answer all the questions a reader might have about the product or service you are presenting.
  • Call to action. A press release template usually ends with a call to action, an invitation for the reader to participate in the announced event or test the product.

What Makes a Good Press Release?

Apart from the basic elements every press release should have, there are also some details you shouldn’t forget about and tricks that can make it stand out.

A press release should be concise and informative. It should only contain newsworthy information with straightforward writing, without any jargon or grammatical mistakes. Find a good grammar checker and review the text prior to publishing it.

If you wish to know not only how to do a press release, but how to do it properly, here’s another tip: Make it scannable. To do so, you can use bold letters, bullet points, underline sentences, or add some other elements that make it easier to read.

Another thing that can help you out is including images in your press release. Various studies have shown that a press release with an image has seven times more chances of being picked up than the ones without it.

What is the purpose of a press release?

The purpose of a press release is to announce newsworthy content, help a company get attention by reaching the target audience, and build credibility over time.

What is considered a press release?

What is a press release? It’s an official statement a company publishes to inform the news media and the public about any new announcements it has to make, new products, or services it offers.

How many words should a press release be?

A press release should be one page long, and it should have about 300 to 400 words. It should be divided into short paragraphs to make it easier to read and spread the message.

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Writing press releases is not as easy as you might think, especially if you want to do it while following the Associated Press (AP) guidelines. There are lots of things to be aware of, from punctuation to the text formatting and creating a short “about you” paragraph (boilerplate). You also need to think about your audience - not only journalists and editors but also people interested in your company’s services or products. Therefore, before you even start writing the news about your company, be sure to know how to do it properly. We are here to help you write a press release format in AP style, but before we do that, here’s a short introduction to the AP writing style.  What is AP Style Writing? AP style is a writing style for journalists, magazines, and news set by the Associated Press news agency. Although some magazines (like New York Times) have their own publishing styles, AP style is considered an essential guide for journalists and editors or anyone else who wants to publish news. Like other style guidelines, AP style ensures that articles are formatted uniformly, regardless of who writes them. AP style writing rules are published in the AP stylebook. In this book, you can see the standards for text presentation, including news and press releases.  A press release using AP style includes numerous rules, and we are going to explain the most important ones here:  Serial Comma  Unlike Oxford style, AP style doesn’t allow the use of the serial comma. That means that the comma in AP style doesn't go after the last item in a list. The usage of commas is often a matter of style, but if you write magazine articles and news, AP style requires you to follow this rule.  Punctuation Don’t use a double space after a period if you write following the Associated Press writing style. The style requires a one-space rule after a period.  Numbers It might be easy to forget, so always check how you write numbers in articles formatted using the AP style. According to the Associated Press style guide, numbers between one and nine must be spelled, and you can use numerals past the number ten (10). By following the AP style, time should be written in numbers instead of words. For example, you should write “3 p.m.” instead of “three o’clock in the afternoon.” Dates When it comes to dates, there are a few rules to memorize. Firstly, you should use numbers to write dates. Secondly, the abbreviation applies only for months that are more than five letters long.  Fonts We know that there are a lot of attractive fonts to use but stick to standard ones. Editors will not be impressed with this type of experiment, especially if they follow standard AP style rules. Times New Roman is the standard font that you should use. AP style press release format sets the rules for font size too. The font size is also standardized and can be one point apart in size. If your headline is 14, the subheadings should be 13. The body of your text would then be size 12. Perspective Never use a first-person perspective in your article; you are a journalist, not a bard. AP style requires news and articles written in third-person only.  Capitalization AP style headline capitalization means that all headlines and subheadings have to be written in the title case.  How to write an AP style press release Before starting to write a press release, make sure that you know five W’s or five questions all journalists must be able to answer. These questions are the core of any news piece, and if you know how to ask and answer them, you may rest assured that you are providing adequate information to your audience. The answers to these questions summarize what your piece is about, and you should answer them in the first paragraph of the text. After that, you can add details to flesh out your press release.  These are the questions to answer:  Who is involved?  The answer should include information about the topic of the article. When writing news, writers should establish the subject (individual, company), and if it’s a press release, it should be about the company doing the press release. What happened? Explain what the piece is about briefly. For example, if your business is launching a new product, write about it.  When did it happen? AP press news should provide information about the timing of the event - when did the event you are writing about happen, or when will it happen? Where did it happen? As with time, readers should be told where the event that’s talked about is happening/has happened/will happen. Why did it happen? It is a straightforward question, but sometimes it can be challenging to answer. You need to explain why your news is important for your readers.  Answer these questions briefly but accurately so your audience will get all the necessary information in the first paragraph. It is important to be short and direct in this first paragraph because many readers won’t read the rest of the article.  Identify Your Audience  Another thing you need to do is identify who your AP press release readers are. Once you find out who your target audience is (that means not only editors and journalists but your customers or followers), you need to find a way to grab their attention. See what your readers are interested in, what their values are, what businesses they trust. You also need to research the demographic of your audience, including their age, gender, location, etc.  As you can see, creating a press release involves more than just getting the press release formatting right. For this reason, many businesses use press release distribution services. Aside from disseminating your news through the most popular media outlets, press release distribution companies will create and edit your press release, too. Provide Press Release Instructions  Your AP style news release should include the time and date when you want your news to be published. If your story is ready for publishing, type the words “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.” On the other hand, if you have an embargoed press release (a release that is not ready for immediate publishing),  write  “EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE UNTIL,” followed by the time and date when you want it published. Include Contact Information  When it comes to formatting a press release, don’t forget to include the contact details (name, phone number, email address) of the person who can provide more information about the press release content. Write your AP style press release dateline in the top left corner of the press release.  Write the Press Release Headline The next thing you need to do is to write a headline. The press release headline is positioned at the top center of the page, and it shouldn't be more than 80 characters long. It has to be eye-catchy to grab the readers’ attention. The subhead is located below the headline. It can be longer than the headline and may include up to 120 characters that explain the content in your headline. Both the AP headline and subhead should include keywords that boost the visibility of your press release. There are also other things that you can do when writing an Associated Press style press release headline. For example, you can search for a story already in the news and connect it with your piece somehow. This practice is also called “newsjacking.” Our advice is to use the present tense when you write the headline. It will attract your readers if the headline is exciting and catchy-sounding.    The Lead  The lead has to be short and to the point but still interesting. It’s the first paragraph of your press release, and it should be at least 60 characters long. You should also add the date when you want your press release to go live and the location your release originates from. This is an example of the date and location information for the press release (format AP):  Phoenix, Ariz. (October 20, 2021)  The date and location have to be bolded, and you need to use AP style for the state abbreviation.  The lead is the first thing journalists will read, so it has to summarize the most important things about the news you want to share. In this part of your press release, you need to answer the five W’s. Write Your Boilerplate The boilerplate or the “about” section is another important part of the standard press release format. It’s placed at the bottom of the statement and includes information about your business, such as your company history and values, awards, further plans, and anything else that is relevant for your audience. If you follow the AP format for the press release, this section shouldn’t be longer than 100 words. For example, if your business offers legal services, the boilerplate should talk about your company’s years in business, awards, and any of the company’s accomplishments.     Choose the Media Outlets That You Want to Send Your Press Release  After you finish your press release creation, you need to decide where you want to send it. You will be in a position to choose among hundreds of media outlets, and sometimes it can be really difficult to decide where to publish the press release in AP style. You should choose wisely because media outlets receive hundreds of press releases daily, and not all of them will publish yours. Also, pick those media outlets that target your audience. For example, if you’re opening a pet-friendly restaurant, send your press release to food and beverage and pet magazines.  Choose How You Want to Distribute Your Press Release  The distribution of your press releases is the next step after you format them in accordance with the AP style. There are several ways to spread the AP press release. For example, you can send the press release to journalists, bloggers, and influencers with whom you are already connected. Aside from the direct outreach, you can send the news to numerous media outlets to get wider media exposure. To do this, you will need to use press release distribution services. Alternatively, you can try to send your press release to journals and magazines on your own, but there’s no guarantee that they will publish it. It’s always a good idea to publish your press release on your website. This will increase the overall visibility of your company. Some website creators offer the option to add the press release page and publish the AP press release format with a few simple clicks. Also, don’t forget to share your media statement on social media channels so your followers can see it.
By Danica Jovic · March 01,2022
A good press release is essential to the press coverage your business needs. It is an open invitation for any journalist, blogger, or interested party to learn more about your business, and it helps send the message you’re trying to share with the world.  Even though this type of conversation with the media has been somewhat superseded with announcements on social media, a proper PR manager still needs to learn how to submit a press release. Your business could be launching a new product, opening a new store, announcing a new partnership, or a local event - all of these events warrant a good media release. The first step, of course, is writing a press release. Major companies will typically hire someone for the task. However, if you are running a small business and need to be careful with your budget, you should consider writing it yourself.   Writing Press Releases There is an art to writing a good press release, but we won’t be going into the finer details here. Let’s quickly go over some of the main points for a quick rundown on how to write a good one by yourself. Keep in mind that the piece you will submit as a press release is not an advertisement - if you’d like to advertise something, you should purchase an ad. It isn’t a news piece either. Instead, it’s dancing on the line between the two, and you need to find the perfect balance. Otherwise, your news release will likely be ignored and thrown away. Most importantly, media releases must provide relevant information to the readers. If you are opening a store, focusing on why the store is needed or how many jobs it will provide to the community is an excellent perspective to take in your writing. If your product is helping people, focus on why the help is needed. You want to submit a press release that editors will regard as valuable content that they want to publish.  Some general writing rules apply to the press releases as well. You have the attention of your potential customers during the first couple of sentences, so make those matter. Always mind the length of your press release. Of course, you also want to include your contact information if your editor has questions for you or wants to publish it.  Before you send press releases out, you will want to give it a double-check for any grammar mistakes or typos that will undoubtedly make you seem unprofessional if they slip past the editing stage. Sending it to a proofreader, or at least using one of the grammar checkers available online, is almost mandatory. Lastly, you’ll want to ensure you’ve included all the relevant and correct information. Now that we’ve gone through the refresher course for press release writing, it is time to discuss how to get the release submitted and published.  How to Submit a Press Release Now that you have your press release ready, it is time to submit and publish it. However, this process can be a bit difficult. Don’t fret; we’ll take you through it step by step. Step 1: Create a List of Publications Blindly sending the press release to anyone likely won’t give you the results you were hoping for, and it has a fair chance of getting you black-listed for spam. Make sure you send your press release to the relevant publications and the right press releases contact there. For example, if your release is industry-specific, you should consider sending it to editorial offices covering that particular industry. On the other hand, contacting a local editorial office is better if the press release submission revolves around a specific location, such as opening a company branch in a new city.  What Kind of Publication Types Should You Consider? Broadly speaking, the two main types of publications can be described as conventional and non-conventional.  By conventional, we mean newspapers, television channels, or radio stations which are an excellent solution for those who need local promotion.  On the other hand, non-conventional solutions, such as blogs, Facebook or LinkedIn groups, and other digital outlets, are a better choice if you want to reach a wider audience, even though they might be more informal than conventional publications. You should be able to find the person in charge of press release submissions by checking the publication’s website or LinkedIn page. Furthermore, you will likely find a comprehensive guide to submitting press releases for a particular outlet on its website or even an online submission form to help you out. It is a very time-consuming task, but once you get it over with, you will have a list of contacts you could reuse for your next press release. Noting the details down in a list or as a spreadsheet will save you a lot of time in the future.   Step 2: Craft the Emails Once you have your list ready, your next step is sending press releases to local media, blogs, or Facebook groups. For this, you need to prepare the accompanying submission email.  In it, you should indicate who you and your business are and inform the publication that you are submitting a press release, which you would like the editor to consider covering. You should also include why you think the announcement would be of interest to your audience and theirs. Giving them a good reason for covering the story in your email might tip the scales in your favor. If you are insecure about what you should include, you can always find a press release email template online and adapt it to fit your announcement.  It is also essential to include a date by which you would like your press release published. If your document is time-sensitive, it is crucial to submit it one or two weeks in advance - you want to give your editor the time to prepare it if they decide to run it.  Research has shown that the best time of day to try and land your press release in an editor's inbox is between 10 AM and 2 PM, preferably on a Thursday. It is advisable to send a press release within this timeframe, as you’ll have higher chances of getting your email opened, and the story covered. Step 3: Promote Your Press Release Once the press release gets published, it is up to you to use all the tools at your disposal to promote it. Advertising it in relevant groups on social media is advisable, as it is very likely where your customers are. However, use this type of content wisely - don’t bore your followers to death with irrelevant news. Instead, post the press releases in relevant groups, share them with people who are interested, or even repurpose the content into a new and social-media-suitable format.  Plan B: Outsourcing Press Release Submission Alternatively, if you want to outsource this task to someone else, many press release services and software are available online. These press release services will undoubtedly help you save a lot of time and effort and provide you with the type of reach that you are unlikely to reach by yourself. These tools will submit your press release to their well-established network of individuals and organizations to publish for a small price. You can also rely on these press release distribution services to further prepare and optimize a press release you’ve already created (in order to match different guidelines, for example). Outsourcing this part removes hours of additional manual work you’d typically have to do if you were to submit your press release all by yourself.  Some of the better distribution services will allow you to use their analytical tools and track the success of your press release after it has been published. These types of analytics should be one of the main things to look out for when choosing a press releases service. And there you have it, a quick step-by-step guide on how to send out a press release. Hopefully, with these guidelines, you’ll be able to get the media coverage your business needs as easily as possible.
By Vladana Donevski · March 01,2022
Just like every US resident (with very few exceptions) must have a Social Security number to be identified and have their job and income tracked by the Government, a business must (usually) have an EIN. That’s the beginning of the answer to the question: “What is an EIN number?” In a nutshell, an EIN is like the SSN counterpart for your enterprise. It stands for Employer Identification Number, and it’s issued by the Internal Revenue Service to separate businesses from one another. It is also referenced as a FEIN, meaning Federal Employer Identification Number, or your business’ tax ID number. Whatever you call it, an EIN is a unique nine-digit number that serves to identify your business for tax purposes. Most business owners have one, as it’s required to open a business bank account, file business tax returns, and apply for licenses. Knowing the purpose of the EIN number is just the first step, too. Give our guide a read to learn more about the types of businesses that need it, ways of applying and obtaining one, and all the benefits you’ll enjoy once you get it. Who Needs an EIN? Depending on your business type, and the IRS’ criteria, you’ll be able to determine whether you need an EIN: The first thing to determine is whether your business has employees. If it does, you’ll most definitely need to apply for a business EIN number. Having a partnership or multi-member LLCs means that the LLC must file a partnership return together with K-1s to all the members, so an EIN is a must. If your business is a C corporation, it’s regarded as a separate entity, and you’ll have to apply for an EIN to report taxes. The same goes for an S corporation - you’ll need your employer identification number to operate legally. If your business files excise taxes or withholds them for nonwage income paid to a non-resident alien, you’ll also be required to get an EIN. For non-profit business structures, an EIN is also required for tax reporting purposes. You only need an EIN number for businesses structured as single-member LLCs if you have employees or excise tax liability. The same goes for sole proprietorships - if they don’t have employees nor file excise or pension-plan tax returns, they’re not required to apply for an employer identification number. How to Apply for an EIN Number Now that you’ve figured out whether your business entity needs an EIN, let’s walk you through the process of obtaining one. Applying for an employer ID number is straightforward, but if you’re not well-versed in admin, your registered agent can deal with the EIN application instead. As soon as your business is officially formed - i.e., you got your formation date and legal business name approved by your state - you can start the EIN application process. Don’t forget to check if you have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (SSN, ITIN, another EIN) before starting. The easiest way to apply is through the IRS EIN Assistant page. Just follow the listed steps by adding the required information to your IRS EIN form; just make sure to do it in one sitting, as the session will expire after 15 minutes of inactivity. You can also file your application by fax or mail.  If your business isn’t incorporated in the United States, you can’t apply for an EIN. On the other hand, if it is, but you’re the one who doesn’t have a legal residence in the US, you can apply for a free EIN via telephone, fax, or mail. Who Doesn’t Need a Federal Identification Number? The technical requirements for having a FEIN might not include you: You might be an independent contractor, freelancer, or sole operator. However, while it is correct that you don’t need to have one, you might want to get it anyway. It would be unwise to dismiss the benefits you would be getting with getting an EIN out of hand. Why Should I Get an EIN Number? Now that you know the long and short answer to the “What is an EIN number?” question, we can explain why having one brings many benefits even if you don’t need it. First of all, most banks require an EIN to open a business banking account for you. Having one will make the whole process of tracking and managing your business expenses much more accessible. Not to mention that you’ll be able to build your credit and therefore become eligible for more loans. Secondly, if you’re planning on hiring part- or full-time employees, you’ll have to apply for a tax identification number. What is an EIN number’s benefit in this case, then? First of all, you’ll need an EIN to set up a payroll, so the IRS can track your taxes for it. Secondly, your employees will need to file their taxes separately under the LLC’s 1040 form, and they’ll need your EIN for that too. Those with an LLC should outsource its formation to an LLC service, and it will apply for an EIN in your stead. This helps you maintain your “corporate veil,” i.e., protect yourself from personal accountability for possible business debts. Since it’s essential to do this right, hiring an online legal service to cover that would be a great move. Even as a solo entrepreneur, you will need to provide clients with either a Social Security number or FEIN to pay an invoice or for contract purposes. Having a FEIN adds to the credibility of your business, and shows that you are not doing your work as a gig; instead, you would be perceived as a dedicated professional. Furthermore, an employer FEIN denotes you as an independent contractor, rather than an employee and reduces the legal responsibilities of the company that hires you, which, in turn, might make it more likely to do so. New entrepreneurs quickly realize that it’s challenging to handle all aspects of the business by themselves. They must rely on suppliers, vendors, and general cooperation from other companies. While nothing will ever guarantee good relationships, having a business with a FEIN makes it more likely for third parties to work with you. Some of them will check your business credit before agreeing to a contract with you; a FEIN shows them you are a reliable entity. Non-US citizens without a Social Security Number will find it easier to establish a business in the United States with an EIN. This opens up the possibility of getting a business credit card or bank account for their business before getting a Social Security number as a citizen.  Finally, when you get an EIN for tax reporting purposes, your privacy will be protected, too. An EIN boosts the confidentiality of your Social Security number (SSN), as you can now offer that instead of your personal ID number as a form of identification. Keeping your business and private finances separate will add an extra shield against malicious perpetrators. We hope all these good points help you decide to get an EIN as soon as possible - provided you have a company, of course.
By Danica Djokic · March 22,2023

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