What’s Your Story? Writing a Press Release

When writing a press release for your product, service or cause, it’s important to remember that your prime objective is to identify the backbone of the story and then tell it in an engaging way. Give the media a good story to tell — they don’t want to hear all about you. Often times it’s the story behind the story.

If you write a press release that is just about you, your product or your service, it will read like an advertisement – if you’re writing an ad then you may as well just pay for ad space. Instead, keep the media’s needs and their audience’s needs in mind. Use your release to tell a story and evoke emotion — you’ll be far more likely to have your story picked up and covered.

The key to writing a successful press release is to make it newsworthy. Intrigue the media into covering your piece. This is the hardest part — figuring out your story, how it is valuable to their audience and how to make it interesting from the first sentence, or lede. The lede is the most important part of any news story, but it’s also usually the last part of the press release you’ll write.

Let’s look at how to find your story, whether you are sharing a product, service or cause.

The story here isn’t the product itself, it’s the tale of how the product came to be, or of how you started selling this product. Maybe the story is how the product can benefit the audience. Steer the story away from the product, instead relate it towards the audience and how your product can impact their lives. Remember, we’re going for emotion here.

Here’s a great example of telling the story of a product’s benefits:

Again, the story is not the service itself, but rather how the service can help the audience. Make this about the reader or viewer. What need do they have that you can fill with this service? How would it impact their lives to have that need filled, and what emotions would that evoke? The goal is to make the story personal to members of your target audience who may see the media coverage, and figure out why they would care about this service.

Here is an example of a service that is fun but also makes an impact on our daily lives — all while benefitting the planet.

Writing a press release for a cause (a charity you support, or service you provide for a good cause) is a little bit different than writing one for a product or service. The exception to this would be when a service you’re providing for a good cause could also benefit the audience, in which case that could be the story. But, like with the other points, the key here is to evoke emotion. With most causes this is pretty straightforward. How does this service or cause impact the lives of the viewers? By helping others, you are making an impact on their lives — draw on that fact to craft your story.

Be sure to include all the details for related events, including who, what, when and where. You can also include details about the charity, including their website.

Here is an example of a cause that evokes emotion through the inclusion of animals to help others.

Remember, when writing a press release your goals are:

  • tell a newsworthy story
  • be valuable to the audience
  • evoke emotion

Hit these three objectives and your press release has a great chance of being noticed!

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