Learn everything you need to know to create a successful press release by following these simple steps and make your design and architecture brand outshine the rest.
Ever wondered where most of the news you read online come from?
Easier than you thought: press releases!
Or, how do journalists seem to always be up to date with new products just launched on the market by your competitors?
Again: press releases!
If you are reading this it might actually be you already knew that… and even if you didn’t, don’t worry: we got you!
In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know in order to write a killer press release that will help your brand and your products stand out in the inbox messages of a journalist and in the news. No magic, maybe a bit of strategy and dedication… and our pro tips, of course!
If you want to know why Digital PR is essential for every designer, don’t miss 5 Reasons why designers should consider Digital PR.
Let’s start from the basics: what the heck is a press release?
A press release is an official document released to the press containing some information concerning a particular topic.
Boring, huh? Not necessarily, that will be up to you!
See it this way: you just designed the coolest chair, why would you need to write a lame press release to announce it? Your product is cool, you strongly believe that (otherwise you wouldn’t have designed it… we hope!), then make it even cooler on the paper!
Your ultimate aim when writing a press release should be that of addressing new potential customers through the publication of news related to your business by the press: even if the key is enhancing your brand, we would recommend you to do that in a modest and slightly detached way.
As a matter of fact, a press release is usually written in the third person: a perfect one is usually characterized by a balanced combination of personalization and objectivity.
Now, it will probably sound more difficult than it actually is!
Essentially, a press release should provide a journalist with all the information necessary to publish an article about a relevant topic (you identified).
It needs to arouse their curiosity… not to send them to sleep!
It’s good practice to write several versions of a press release in order to segment your list of press representatives (if we lost you on this, we would recommend you read THIS article), making sure each version is enough, or not too much, technical for those who receive it.
If you are wondering “why should I even bother writing a press release?”, you should probably go no further: stop here, take a look at our article about the importance of Digital PR for a designer and come back later.
To be 100% clear: sending your first press release is not probably going to immediately result in several super influential online publications… again, dream big but try to give it time!
Little by little, press releases will become your most powerful marketing tool. Bang!
What should your press release be about, then?
Something newsworthy! As long as you are doing something interesting, you should be good to go…
Here, you can find a couple of examples:
- Launch of a new product
- An event you are hosting (presentation of your last collection) or that you are about to take part in (e.g. Maison&Objet, Salone del Mobile, NYCxDesign)
- Industry study
I am sure you will agree with us: the last option certainly constitutes the juiciest one you might give to the press. However, it takes way too much time and it gives limited visibility to your brand: we would probably suggest you take it into consideration in the future!
If you want to know how to build a successful press representatives list, check out 7 Fundamental steps to build an effective list of press representatives.
OK, I have identified the topic… what next?
Now, it’s time to work on your news and refine it.
Specifically, it’s time to find an angle that could turn your news into a solid hook. The stronger the hook, the higher the chances people will find you press release appealing.
Try to make it your topic original… use your creativity! You are an artist after all…
Ok, you have finally got to the point you have a blank sheet of paper in front of you and you are holding a pen in your hand.
A bit old-fashioned maybe, let’s make it more 2020… you open a new document and the cursor is ready for you to do your magic!
You should imagine your press release as a down-going staircase: the most important information has to be stated in the beginning… and it gets easier as you write it.
So, let’s take a closer look at the anatomy of a press release.
We would say 100% of journalists will decide whether to continue reading your press release based on your headline.
A headline should:
- kick things off about the topic of your press release
- highlight the angle
- include your company name
Ideally, in this order.
Using the passive form is usually a good idea: it is more appealing and concise. Go straight to the point but don’t forget your aim is to arouse curiosity.
We wouldn’t argue a subheadline is mandatory in a press release, but highly recommended!
This is your chance to add more details and contextualize the amazing headline you just wrote. Give journalists a reason to believe they did right in reading further and prove them your press release is worth their 5 minutes.
City & Date
The first paragraph of your press release should start with an indication of the city and date of reference for the upcoming news.
Why is this important?
Two (main) reasons:
- it immediately gives an idea if the news is relevant to a certain category of journalists. For example, if your company is based in Sweden and you send a press release of a recent design fair you are going to attend in South Africa, it might not be relevant for the local blog of Milan to publish it
- It might happen that journalists read your news, but they are busy writing about something else. After a couple of weeks, they might go back to your e-mail and they have to understand whether it could still be relevant for them to pick that news.
Body: First paragraph
The first paragraph of your press release is usually identified as the “lead”.
At this point, how you write your lead could essentially make or break your entire job.
In a few words, the lead should further present the information you summed up in the headline and subheadline, adding some interesting details you are going to write in the upcoming paragraphs.
Again, if a journalist got to this point it means he/she is interested… do not lose him/her now!
You should NEVER forget to mention your brand’s name.
Pro tip: find a “formula”, composed of maximum 10 words, that perfectly describes the key aspect of your company and make sure you always use it in the first paragraph of your press releases.
In other words, use your claim so that people know what your brand is all about.
You want people who read it to immediately familiarise with your brand, give them a hint.
As we mentioned above, make sure you write your press release in the third person. You want it to sound objective, yet not dry: talk to the journalists maintaining a professional tone and let them do the trick.
Even if most press releases tend to demonstrate the opposite, try to use short paragraphs.
Useless sentences irrelevant to the topic just to make the press release look longer? Banned.
First of all, congratulations! You wrote your first press release, take some time to celebrate.
Now, make sure people who are interested know how to contact you in case they would like to ask you further questions and materials.
Name, e-mail address and mobile phone number: that’s all!
Ok, maybe you were not really done. However, you got to this point: one last effort and you will have a perfect press release.
A boilerplate is usually written in a smaller font and it should not be longer than 4 – 5 sentences. Its aim is to provide additional information about your brand (e.g. when and where it was founded, highlights concerning the founder, some numbers about the production).
Look at this part as something that is surely not crucial to the press release itself, but that would position your company in a broader panorama.
Ready, steady, GO!
Your press release (and its multiple versions!) is ready to go.
Always integrate some media to the press release to make it more interesting for journalists: good pictures make the difference!
Allow us to say it: make sure you attach the press release to the e-mail before hitting the “send” button.
We know… obvious! We’ll see how you’ll do.
- ^ 5 Reasons why designers should consider Digital PR (designwanted.com)
- ^ chair (designwanted.com)
- ^ THIS article (designwanted.com)
- ^ the importance of Digital PR (designwanted.com)
- ^ design (designwanted.com)
- ^ Maison&Objet (www.maison-objet.com)
- ^ Salone del Mobile (www.salonemilano.it)
- ^ NYCxDesign (nycxdesign.com)
- ^ 7 Fundamental steps to build an effective list of press representatives (designwanted.com)
- ^ design (designwanted.com)
- ^ Milan (designwanted.com)
- ^ plastic (designwanted.com)
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