Rule 5: Summarize the “who” and the “what” in a boilerplate.
Describe what your company does in clear, plain English, include a link to your company’s homepage early on, and make your boilerplate succinct and straightforward. If you cite data, include a reference link for the data source, and make sure every name in the release has an associated title and company as well.
To keep yourself honest on this front, ask a friend or colleague to read the release without context and ask if they can easily and readily explain why the announcement matters, what your company does, and why the executives included are quoted. If the answer to any of those questions is no, get back to the drawing board.
The key to keeping your PR strategy new school is forgetting preconceived notions of what public relations is and instead focusing on creating highly remarkable content. Traditional press releases can still be really valuable when executed well, so instead of ditching releases as a tactic, give them a modern makeover to make them more useful for your marketing.
Think about how you’ve used inbound methods to transform your marketing strategies to be more personalized, approachable, and build relationships. Those same principles apply to your PR strategy: Create content to craft your own story and use tactful outreach to get reporters and analysts familiar with your brand.
Press Release Examples
Many people think press releases have to be chock full of buzzwords and branded terms. “Big data,” anyone? Five-syllable words you have to look up on Thesaurus.com? Quotes from every executive on the planet that go on for pages? We’ve seen it all. Unfortunately, so have reporters — and they are not fans.
Instead of stuffing your next release with industry jargon, take a page out of our book (okay fine, ebook), The Newsworthy Guide to Inbound Public Relations, and brainstorm some creative approaches for your next announcement. Can you include new data? A remarkable graphic or video? A shareable SlideShare? If so, a creative angle can help carry your content and increase the likelihood of social sharing.
Now, to get you thinking on the right track, take a look at some creative press release examples below, the type of news each one is reporting on, and what makes the release unique:
Type of press release: Event
Škoda, a car manufacturer based in the Czech Republic, recently showed off its sponsored racing team in two big places: at the 2017 World Rally Championship, and in a sleek, image-based press release reporting on the event.
The news release, shown above, doesn’t have any trouble aligning the look and feel of the Škoda brand with the press release itself — which is a crucial aspect of any company’s press content. The release opens with a large feature image of one of its vehicles in the same vibrant green that covers the business’s website. The press release also begins with three helpful bullet points summarizing the news for readers, and ends the release with a couple of captioned actions shots to give reporters more context around the event.
Type of press release: Acquisition
Yes, a video press release! This news item from ScribbleLive gave reporters nearly everything they’d need to republish this story, all in a thorough two-minute video about the company’s latest acquisition.
ScribbleLive opens the video press release above with the company’s logo and a clear header stating the news. This allowed the company’s CEO to jump right into his commentary on the acquisition, giving reporters plenty of quotable material on the state of the industry and why this merger was so important to them.
The press release also segments the video the same way a written press release would, breaking up the CEO’s commentary by the question he’s answering. This makes it easy for viewers to jump through the video and find the information they’re most interested in hearing about.
And, being on YouTube, a press release in this format allows reporters to embed the news content directly on their site, making ScribbleLive’s news that much easier to share.
Type of press release: Opening a new office
When you open a new headquarters, it can be hard to figure out what to say. People just want to get a look at the new digs! In the above press release by Peapod, an online grocery service, the company puts photos of its new office right at the top, immediately showing readers what makes this news so significant for Peapod.
The release even singles out a quote by the Mayor of Chicago just below the headline, hinting to reporters who are writing about Peapod’s new HQ that this is the remark Peapod is most interested in sharing with readers.
Check out the boilerplate text at the bottom of the above press release. “About [company]” text can too easily blend in with the actual news text, making the piece seem longer than it really is. By isolating this copy in a dark gray box, Peapod provides a smoother reading experience and ensures the story itself doesn’t get lost in an intimidatingly long wall of text.
Type of press release: New product launches
When you’re launching products or services, the information is often best expressed in written form. But when all you’re doing is writing about your new offering’s price and features, it can be difficult for others to refer to and report on it later. We at HubSpot know the challenge well.
The graphic above helped us to supplement our own product announcement — written by our fantastic Communications Manager, Ellie Botelho — with details that needed a visual aid. Using a combination of colors and shapes, this graphic allowed us to reveal important relationships between products, as well as their respective prices and when they’ll be available. (Interested one of our products? Take note! ^)
We’ve also crafted this comprehensive, easy-to-follow press release template complete with a promotional plan and considerations for your next announcement. We use these same guidelines when writing and formatting our releases here at HubSpot, and created a faux, sample release to illustrate what content goes where and why.
Tips for Publishing Press Releases
Writing a press release is really only half the battle. Once you’re finished with production, it’ll be time to focus on distribution.
Of course, we’re all familiar with the traditional distribution levers we can pull, which include publishing the press release on our website/blog, as well as sharing the press release with our followers/subscribers via social media and email. But for ensuring a press release gets the maximum amount of distribution possible, here are some tips you can follow.
1. Reach out to specific journalists.
Instead of blasting a press release out to every journalist you can find an email address for, focus on a few journalists who have experience covering your industry (and company, hopefully) and send them personalized messages. Connect the dots. Show why what you wrote connects to what they write.
2. Don’t be afraid to go offline.
Most journalists have mountains of emails (and press releases) to sort through. Try sending your release through snail mail or another offline channel to differentiate yourself.
3. Send the release to top journalists the day before.
Give journalists some time to craft a story around your press release by sending it to them — under embargo — the day before it officially goes live. (FYI “under embargo” just means they aren’t allowed to share the information in the press release until the time you specify.)
4. To avoid competition, don’t publish your release on the hour.
If you’re publishing your press release on a distribution service like PR Newswire or Business Wire, avoid publishing it on the hour (e.g., 1 p.m., or 3 p.m., or 5 p.m.). The reason? Most companies schedule their releases to go out on the hour, which means if your release goes out on the hour too, it’s more likely to get lost in the shuffle. Instead, try going with a more distinct time (e.g., 1:12 p.m., or 3:18 p.m., or 5:22 p.m.).
5. Share your media coverage.
If all goes according to plan, and your press release gets picked up by the media, your job still isn’t finished. To keep the buzz going, you can release a “second wave” of distribution by sharing the specific stories that news outlets write based on your press release.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
- ^ public relations strategy (offers.hubspot.com)
- ^ turning your PR strategy into an inbound one (offers.hubspot.com)
- ^ still adopted and highly-respected today (www.thehalogroup.com)
- ^ click here (blog.hubspot.com)
- ^ writing the perfect blog post title (blog.hubspot.com)
- ^ reverse pyramid formula (blog.justreachout.io)
- ^ newsjacking (blog.justreachout.io)
- ^ inbound methods to transform your marketing strategies (blog.hubspot.com)
- ^ The Newsworthy Guide to Inbound Public Relations (offers.hubspot.com)
- ^ ŠKODA at the World Rally Championship (www.skoda-press.be)
- ^ ScribbleLive Acquires New Company (www.youtube.com)
- ^ Peapod’s New Headquarters (about.peapod.com)
- ^ HubSpot’s New Product Announcements (www.hubspot.com)
- ^ Ellie Botelho (www.linkedin.com)
- ^ press release template (offers.hubspot.com)
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