Take 10: How to write a press release

Quick and simple ways to boost your business in just 10 minutes

For the first in our Take 10 series, we consider the art of writing a press release. No matter what size you are or the industry your company is in, being able to write a press release is a must for any growing business.  

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What is a press release and why are they important?

A press release is a way to announce important business news to stakeholders, such as existing and prospective customers, and the media.

Let’s look at an example. Say you run a restaurant and you want to announce you’re opening a new one in the area. A press release is your way of communicating this news, helping you to attract new customers and staff to the premises. You may also want to use this as an opportunity to forge partnerships with local suppliers.

There are three main points to think about when you’re writing one:

1. What is the one thing you want to tell people? Think of this as your key message.

2. Why is this information interesting and attractive for a journalist to write about?

3. How do I ensure they pick the right message for my target audience?  

Now let’s look at the structure of your press release.

The headline is your key message.

Paragraph 1 should tell readers the story around your news. If someone was to only read the headline and first sentence, they should know what the story is about.

    Harry’s Pizzeria to open locally-sourced restaurant in Brighton

    Harry’s Pizzeria, the popular family-run pizzeria, has announced its expansion by acquiring a new premises on the seafront, in a bid to become the first restaurant serving only Sussex-sourced produce.

Paragraph 2 will include more detail on the first paragraph.

    Following its launch in 2010, Harry’s Pizzeria has gone from strength to strength, continuing to serve local food to local people. With over 15 employees and a regular customer base, the restaurant will now open a second premises on Main Street in June.

Paragraph 3 is where you can talk in more depth about your business – your elevator pitch. In the above example you could consider writing about what Harry’s Pizzeria is, where it came from and why you chose locally-sourced produce for the second restaurant. Keep in mind you may be speaking to readers who have never heard of your business.

Add a quote or two from the most relevant spokesperson or people – anyone from the restaurant owner to a CEO.

Add ‘END’ at the bottom, followed by contact details and any notes to the editor, including how you calculated figures in your release for example.

Finish up by adding general information about the business, otherwise known as your boilerplate.

You should aim for your press release to be no longer than 1 side of A4 and accompany it with a cover email, which can highlight anything else which may be of interest to the journalist, such as the offer of an interview with a spokesperson. And don’t forget to add the date!

Sending it out to journalists

Do some research to find out if anyone has written about a similar topic recently – they may want to follow up and write about something similar again. It’s also worth knowing when journalist’s deadlines are so you can send your press release across at the right time. National deadlines tend to be early in the morning, whereas regional press are likely to have a deadline day for the following week’s paper.

We hope you’ve found this post useful. Come back for the next installment of Take 10, where we look at the benefits of having your business on Google Places. 

The Funding Circle team

Becky Armitage

Content Manager

Becky is part of the marketing team and looks after the content and online communities.