How to Write a Press Release: The Definitive Guide

How to Write a Press Release: The Definitive Guide (2020)

In this post you’re going to learn exactly how to write a press release in 2020.

This guide also includes lots of:

  • Real life examples
  • Press release templates
  • Advanced promotional strategies
  • Lots more

So if you want to get GREAT results from press releases, you’ll love this new guide.

Let’s dive right in.

How to Write a Press Release: The Definitive Guide

Chapter 1:Press Release Fundamentals

Press release fundamentals

What Is a Press Release?

A press release (also known as a “media release” or “news release”) is a piece of content designed to inform members of the media about an organization’s recent developments

Put another way:

A press release is something that a company writes to let people know about new stuff.

Why Send Out a Press Release In 2020?

Why should you even bother writing a press release?

Here are a few key benefits that you can get from writing and distributing press releases:

  • Get covered on media sites and blogs
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Have your company show up in Google News
  • Improve your Google rankings
  • Boost your company’s trust and credibility

To be clear:

A press release isn’t going to magically get your company featured on the cover of Forbes or Fast Company.

But when done right, a release can be a powerful tool to spread the word about cool stuff that your company is doing.

Press Release Template

Here’s the template I recommend using for your press release:

The "Perfect Press Release" template

And now it’s time for me to break this template down into a simple, step-by-step process.

Starting with chapter 2…

Chapter 2:Do Something Newsworthy

Do something newsworthy

Your first step is to come up with something that bloggers and journalists will WANT to cover.

In other words:

Something newsworthy.

And in this chapter, I’ll show how to do just that.

The Truth About “Newsworthy” Stuff

Doing something “newsworthy” isn’t hard as it might sound.

Your “news” can be as simple as putting on a local event. Or redesigning your website. Or hiring a new CMO.

In fact, I recently sent out this press release to announce a new blog post.

Backlinko press release example

So yeah, your news doesn’t have to be earth-shattering to work.

As long as you’re doing something new, you’re good to go.

With that, here are 4 newsworthy topics that you can use for your next press release.

New Industry Study

It’s no secret that industry studies are HUGE right now.

In fact, more and more public relations firms are using industry studies and surveys to get media coverage.

That’s probably because 39% of journalists state that they want to be pitched content that contains “exclusive research”.

39% of journalists state that they want to be pitched content that contains "Exclusive research"

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

Deloitte millennial survey

I’ve used this approach myself. And I can tell you from first-hand experience that industry studies are a PERFECT press release topic.


First off, a study brings something new to the table… something new that’s backed up with real life data.

Second, unlike most boring press releases, your study is about something interesting that journalists will want to cover.

For example, a few months ago I teamed up with BuzzSumo for this industry study.

Backlinko – Content study post

And to help get the word out, I wrote and distributed this press release.

BuzzSumo Backlinko press release

Not only did that release send targeted (journalist and blogger) traffic to our study…

BuzzSumo post Google Analytics

…but it got us featured on business news sites (like The Drum).

The Drum feature

This release also helped my site’s SEO. Even though the original release used a nofollow link, a handful of blogs picked up my release. And those blogs added a nice dofollow link back to my site.

MarTech series backlink


Product Launch

If you’re launching a new product or service, a press release can help spread the word.

That said:

If you want other sites to pick up your release, your product needs to be interesting.

For example, here’s a press release about a new blockchain trading platform.

Blockchain trading platform press release

This platform probably isn’t going to be the next Coinbase. But it’s interesting enough to share in a press release.

An Event

Is your company putting on an event, like a charity pancake breakfast or block party?

If so, you’ve got fodder for a press release.

For example, this press release bills its event as “The Biggest Cat-Centric Culture Event In The World.”

The biggest cat-centric culture event press release

Note how their release isn’t just: “We’re putting on this event”. It has a compelling hook that makes people want to share it.

(More on that in the next step)

Website Redesign or Rebrand

Unless you’re Google or Facebook, a new website isn’t going to light the world on fire.

That said:

If you’re hungry for a press release topic, a redesign can fit the bill.

Plus, you can always turn your redesign into something interesting with a strong hook.

For example, positioned their redesign as a relaunch of their core offering (now without a paywall).

" drops paywall" press release

If they led with something like: “Shots Announces New Website Design”, no one would have cared.

But they added a hook to their rebrand (paywall-free content) that journalists were already interested in.

Speaking of hooks…

Chapter 3:Develop Your Hook

Develop your hook

Now that you identified something newsworthy, it’s time to take that news and refine it.

Specifically, you want to turn that piece of news into a strong hook.

(Your “hook”, sometimes also called your “angle” is how you present your news)

And when you use a hook that people care about, you’ve got yourself a SOLID hook.

Let’s get right into it.

A Real Life Example of a Hook

Let’s take another look at the industry study we talked about earlier.

BuzzSumo study post

This industry study was really geared towards SEO and content marketing professionals.

For example, the study writeup used terms like “backlink acquisition”.

"Backlink acquisition" term

That’s a term that only marketing pros would understand.

And I knew that if we used this same approach with our press release, it wouldn’t get picked up.

So for the release, we used a hook with broad appeal.

Specifically, our hook was we helped figure out why people share content online.

Users more likely to share long-form content

In other words:

We took a dry topic that only appealed to pro marketers… and turned it into a hook that would appeal to more people.

And it worked!

Like I mentioned earlier, our story got picked up by a handful of sites:

Story got picked up

(Many of which first saw our study from our press release).

And I’m confident that our press release wouldn’t have worked if we went with a hook like: “Long-form content is ideal for backlink acquisition”.

With that, here are 3 powerful hooks you can use.

Tie-In With Hot News

In many ways, a hot and trending topic is the ultimate hook.

After all: people are already talking about a topic.

And your news adds fuel to the fire.

For example, this Ohio healthcare group tied their event into the hot blockchain trend.

Ohio Healthcare blockchain technology

This turned what could have been a boring release (“Ohio Healthcare IT Day Poised to Take Center Stage”) into something super interesting.

Very smart.

Local Story

Here’s the truth:

Most local blogs and news sites are STARVING for stuff to cover.

And unlike mega brands like TechCrunch, you don’t need to twist anyone’s arm to get local news coverage.

The best part?

Your company doesn’t even have to be a local brick and mortar store for this to work.

For example, a few months ago I came across this list of “America’s Filthiest Cities”.

America's filthiest cities

What’s interesting is that, even though this company is based in Illinois, they got coverage from local news stations in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and mor