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.

BuzzSumo 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 more.

News station coverage

That’s because this release had a local angle for each of those cities.

Non-Traditional Take

Is your company doing something that’s the opposite of conventional wisdom?

If so, you’re sitting on a press release goldmine.

For example, take a look at this release about self-translating wine labels.

"Self translating wine labels" press release

Note that Third Aurora isn’t doing anything super controversial. Saying “we’re developing wine labels that translate themselves” isn’t the type of non-traditional take that’s going to bridges with customers.

It’s something different than most other press releases about wine. Which is enough for your press release to stand out and get media coverage.

Chapter 4:Write Your Press Release Headline

Write your press release headline

Your next step is to write a headline for your press release.

And make no mistake:

Your press release headline is HUGE.

That’s because most journalists will decide whether or not to read your release based 100% on your headline.

So if your headline is something lame like: “Acme Inc Hires New Head of Boring Announcements” you’re dead in the water.

And in this chapter I’ll cover the two-step process you can use to write PR headlines that stand out.

The Two-Step Process To Write
PR Titles That Stand Out

Step #1: Identify your hook.

This is the same hook you developed back in chapter 2.

Step #2: Use that hook in your headline.

Seriously. That’s it!

For example, for my content study, I went with the hook: “People online tend to share long-form content”.

And I featured that hook in my headline:

Users more likely to share long-form content


The exact headline you use depends a lot on what you’re announcing.

For example, here’s a great headline for an announcement about a product:

New product headline

Even though the structure and wording might be different, all good press release headlines use the same basic formula:

The perfect press release headline formula

Here’s a great example of this formula in action:

Press release titles in action

Note that the headline doesn’t start off with their company and how great they are. That’s going to turn off most journalists. Instead, the headline kicks things off with something about cryptocurrency, which is actually interesting.

Cryptocurrencies title

Next, they add a hook that ties their product into a current trend:

Payment Solution title

Now that they’ve hooked you, THEN they mention the company behind the news.

Mention company name last

How to Write a Subheadline For Your Press Release

Most press release distribution sites let you add a subheadline to your release.

And I HIGHLY recommend tapping into this valuable real estate.


Because your subheadline adds detail and context to your headline… detail that can push a busy journalist to read the body of your release.

Press release subheadlines add context to your headline

For example, you can see that my subheadline from this release adds a few key details that I didn’t have room for in the headline.

Press release subheading example

(Specifically, my subheadline added some hard numbers to back up my headline)

Chapter 5:Write Your Press Release Lead

Write your press release lead

Now it’s time to start writing your actual press release… starting with the lead.

Your lead (sometimes spelled “lede”) is the first few lines of your release.

And, as it turns out, your lead can make or break your entire release.

So in this chapter I’ll show you the right (and wrong) way to write press release leads.

Why Your Lead is KEY

In many ways, your lead is just as important as your headline.

I’ll explain:

Let’s say you get a journalist to read your release. That means your headline did its job. Which is great.

But they’re not going to cover your news unless your release grabs their attention in the first 2-3 sentences.

And that’s where your lead comes into play.

What to Include In Your Lead

The #1 thing to keep in mind is that your lead should contain something SUPER compelling right off the bat.

For example, don’t write leads that are full of fluff about how great your company is:

Lead that is full of fluff

This kind of thing really ticks off busy journalists.

Instead, kick your lead off with a:

  • Stat
  • Figure
  • Finding
  • New product
  • Event announcement

Basically: your lead should highlight the most interesting part of your release.

For example, in my release, I lead off with a stat that I knew social media and content marketing blogs would be interested in.

Lead off with a stat

Then, after I led off with a compelling stat, I went into more of the details of how the study was conducted. I also mentioned another finding.

How the study was conducted

I also recommend linking to your site in the first line.

Link to your website

That way, journalists don’t have to search for a link to your website. It’s right there in the first line.

Chapter 6:Write Your Body Copy

Write your body copy

So you’ve written a great headline, subheadline and lead.

Now it’s time to write the body of your release.

And in this chapter I’ll show you the four main things to keep in mind when it comes to writing your press release body.

Write In The 3rd Person

In other words: don’t use “I”, “we”, or “you”.

So instead of:

“We’re excited to announce our new product”.

Go with:

“Acme Inc. announces new product.”

Newspaper Copy

You want your press release to read like an article in a newspaper.

That way, journalists can copy and paste sections of your release into their story without having to edit.

For example, I once asked someone to help write a press release for us.

And his release was full of hyped up copy.

Hyped-up copy

Not good.

Instead, you want your copy to sound super objective.

Here’s an example from one of our recent releases:

Impact of message topic

This kind of copy is a little dry. But it’s the tone that most journalists want to see in a press release.

Format for Skimmers

Keep in mind that no one’s going to read your release word-for-word.

So make sure to format your release for skimmers.

In practical terms, this means using short paragraphs:

Short paragraphs

Bullet points:

Bullet points

And copy that’s 100% fluff free:

Fluff-free copy

Use Stats, Figures and Copy-and-Paste Copy

In other words:

Write lines that journalists can easily include in their story.

If you have ‘em, stats are perfect for this.

For example, you can see that stats from my release were added directly to coverage of our study:

Direct coverage of our study

Add Quotes (Optional)

If you want to add some compelling content to your release, consider adding a quote or two.

In my opinion, quotes don’t usually add anything to a release (except for flowery language about how great a company is).

Quotes don't add value

So if you do use quotes, I recommend keeping them to 1-2 sentences MAX.

Here’s an example of quotes in a release done right:

Quote that adds value

This quote actually adds context and addresses objections that journalists might have. Nice.

Chapter 7:Add Final Touches

Add final touches

At this point, your PR is almost ready to go live.


The last step is to add a few final touches that make your press release complete and ready for newswire distribution.

Add Multimedia

I’m talking about things like:

  • Screenshots
  • Images
  • Headshots
  • Logos
  • Diagrams
  • Videos

In my experience, visuals aren’t super important. But they can help your release stand out.

Press release visuals can help

Plus, images are another piece of content that journalists can easily add to their story.

Add Contact Info

Every press release needs contact info. That way, bloggers or journalists that want to write about your news can follow up for more info or a quote.

So make sure to include a main contact person… along with that person’s email and phone number.

And here’s how this actually looks on a release:

Press release contact info

Pro Tip: Let journalists know that you’re totally open to helping them write their story. You can even say something like “If you have any questions about this release, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.” This shows that you’ll actually answer emails and pick up the phone when someone calls.

Here’s a real life example:

Press release contact example

Add Boilerplate Company Info

Finally, add a few lines about you and your company.

This section is called “Boilerplate Copy” because it’s usually the same copy on every release that you publish.

Here’s an example:

Boilerplate copy

Edit Your Release

Your next step is to edit your release.

The most important tip I have for you here is to have someone read your release before you publish it.

That’s because, unlike a blog post, you can’t easily go back and make corrections to a release once it goes live.

(In fact, some services charge a fee to edit a live release)

Author alternations

This is a mistake I had to learn the hard way…

I recently sent out a release that had the wrong link in it.

Fortunately, the service that I used fixed the link for free.

But they let me know that they couldn’t change the links “downstream”.

Newswire email reply

Which means that 99% of the sites that my release appeared on had the wrong link. Bummer.

Today, I always have someone from my team read through the release for typos, bad links and unclear copy.

Chapter 8:Distribute Your Press Release

Distribute your press release

Last up, it’s time to distribute your press release.

Sure, you CAN just publish your release on your own website.

But you’ll get better results if use a PR distribution service.

And in this chapter I’ll help you find the right service for you.

Does Press Release Distribution Help With SEO?

Last year Google said that links in press releases are “ignored”.

Google ignores links in press release

And I tend to believe them.

First off, most legit press release services use nofollow or redirected links. Plus, even if those links did count, it looks like Google has something in their algorithm to specifically discount press release backlinks.

Ignore links from press release

And don’t get me started on press release “syndication”.

Press release syndication

Yes, your release WILL technically appear on those sites.

But the pages are noindex and have literally zero SEO value.

For example, one of my releases was syndicated on The Street.

TheStreet syndication

But, as you can see, that page isn’t indexed in Google.

Release not indexed by Google

Which means it’s completely worthless for SEO.

That said:

Press releases can indirectly help your SEO in a bunch of different ways.

First off, your press release can show up in Google News, which is great for ORM.

Google news results

Second, your release can get picked up and syndicated on sites that use dofollow links. And as long as they don’t just copy your exact release word-for-word, those links will help your SEO.

For example, my release was covered on this website:

MarTech series syndication

This wasn’t my release getting syndicated (which, like I mentioned, has zero effect on SEO).

They literally wrote a story based on the content in my release.

Because this was an original story based on my release, that link DID count.

And that only happened because my service got my release in front of the right person.

Speaking of…

Does The Service Have a Big Journalist Network?

So if syndication doesn’t matter, what does?

How many living, breathing journalists will actually see your release.

When it comes to having a giant network of journalists, PR Newswire is the industry leader.

PR Newswire

Unfortunately, getting set up with them is a giant pain. First of all, you need to CALL them. Then, you have to give them your credit card info over the phone. Finally, after all that, you have to upload your release as a Word document.

(You can’t make this stuff up)

That’s why today I use


Unlike PR Newswire, it’s easy to get setup. And my release still ends up on PR Newswire… which is what matters to me.

(Note: I have no affiliation with I just like their product).

If you’re on a really tight budget, I’d check out eReleases or PRWeb.

e-releases and PR web

I haven’t tried them in years. But last time I did I had a good experience with both services.

Pro Tip: Don’t publish your release on the hour. Most people schedule their press releases to go out at 9:00am, 2:00pm, etc. Instead, schedule yours to go out at weird times, like 10:11am and 1:57pm. That way, your release has a better chance of standing out.

Bonus Chapter:Share Your Release

Share your release

In this chapter you’ll learn how to get your news in front of the right people.

(Without being a pushy jerkface)

So if you want MORE people to cover your release, you’ll love this chapter.

Find Relevant Journalists

Your first step is to find people that would actually want to write about your story.

In other words, you want your outreach to be LASER targeted. There’s really no point in blasting out generic emails like this:

Generic outreach email

In today’s world of spammy outreach, you’re only going to burn bridges with this approach. And you have a zero percent chance of getting picked up.

That’s why I recommend reaching out to people that already cover the exact topic of your release. Specifically, people that recently wrote about or shared something that relates to your news.

You can easily find these folks using BuzzSumo’s excellent “View Sharers” feature.


Tie-In Your News With Their Coverage

Here’s where you answer the question: “How does my news relate to what this person already writes about?”.

For example, let’s say you’re announcing a new survey about The Keto Diet.

This is how you’d want your pitch to look:

Keto diet email survey pitch

Make Your Release a Way to “Learn More”

In other words: your release shouldn’t be the focus of your message.

Instead, add a link to your press release at the end your email as a way for journalists can use to “learn more” about your story.

Here’s an example:

Make a release a way to learn more

Bonus Chapter:Amazing Press Release Examples

Amazing press release examples

Let’s close out this guide with a handful of AWESOME press releases.

So if you’re looking for press release examples that you can work from you’ll love this chapter.

Let’s get right into it.

Industry Study Press Release Example From Clutch

Clutch press release example

What’s great about this release:

  • Headline leads with interesting news
  • Lead highlights key stat
  • Uses eye-catching chart
  • Contains quotes that can be copied into stories

New Hire Press Release Example From Boxed

Boxed press release example

What’s great about this release:

  • Fluff-free lead
  • Contains quote from newly-hired CFO
  • Includes context on company and the new CFO
  • Uses a link in the first line

Funding Announcement Press Release Example From Liquid

Liquid press release example

What’s great about this release:

  • Ties news into something journalists want to cover (Unicorns)
  • CEO quote adds to the discussion
  • Detailed boilerplate info

Product Launch Press Release Example From Apple

Apple press release example

What’s great about this release:

  • Gives hard numbers (300k units sold)
  • Provides interesting stat from Steve Jobs
  • Short and concise

Event Press Release Example From Petco

PetCo press release example

What’s great about this release:

  • Ties event into hot topic (healthy pet food)
  • Subheadline summarizes key details
  • Quote from CMO tells story behind the event

Now I’d Like To Hear From You


I hope you enjoyed this guide to writing a press release.

Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:

Have you ever sent out a press release?

If so, how did it go?

Or maybe you have a question about something you read.

Either way, go ahead and leave a quick comment below right now.

  1. Hi Brian,
    Thanks for sharing this amazing piece of content but I have a question. I have read on Search Engine Journal that Press Release is a Black Hat SEO technique. So What your opinion about this?

    1. You’re welcome, Hamza. I’d say press releases are neutral for link building. Like anything, I’m sure you can do shady stuff with press releases. But the approach I outline here is more about using a press release to promote your content than anything else.

  2. Serendipity at play, I was planning to research on how to do product press promotion today….. You provide so much value, Brian, thank you!! I am new to your newsletter, I will pay attention to your emails.

  3. One tip when writing releases for others is to write the executive quote for the exec, then run it by them. This gives you the ability to keep it on message. I’ve never had a senior exec want to make a major change and most are happy not to deal with it as long as it sounds like something they would say.

    1. Great tip, Martin! It’s kind of like asking for a testimonial. They’re much more likely to say “yes” if you send them something to approve.

    1. Thank you. That’s a tough question to answer in a comment. But the short answer is: find writing that you like in your niche and reach out to the person that wrote it.

  4. Hi Brian,

    This blog definitely helped me in rethinking whether my clients’ need a press release or not. I will have to strategize and plan my press releases accordingly. Thanks for sharing this amazing guide.

    1. Hi Arash, the press release game has changed a lot since I first started writing them back in 2010. But when done right, they can definitely help.

  5. Hi Brian! Awesome content, as always. Do you suggest to start using press release again? Which press directories would you recommend to distribute your press releases? (Chapter 8)

    1. Hi Luis, it’s hard to say because it depends on what your company is doing for marketing. If you’re doing newsworthy stuff (Chapter 2), then it’s definitely something to try out.

      1. You got me! :D. I went directly to the chapter 8 which I was mainly interested in. I will read the whole article and we will think about creating newsworhty content, quite often from now to the future 😉

        Thanks Brian!

  6. Yup. Good stuff as always. I was surprised you didn’t cover the Inverted pyramid theory for the lede. A quick search for “inverted pyramid journalism” in our friend Google has a ton of great resources. This theory was the only way I could ever get to writing a good lede!

    Anyway, very excellent stuff.

    1. Hey David, thank you. I ran out of room to cover the inverted pyramid theory. It’s a good one. So I basically just took the top of the pyramid and talked about that. But you’re 100% right: that’s something to look into if you want to get really good at writing releases.

  7. Hi Brian

    You’ve missed a REALLY important point here… PAYING to promote your PR.
    I own a trade media company and we rely on companies paying to include their PR in our magazine as ‘advertorial’.
    You can create a beautiful PR with hooks, bells & whistles, but unless you have budget to promote it, then forget it.

    1. Hi Guy, I actually don’t have any experience with advertorials. In your experience they work better than paid wire distribution?

      1. Paid wire distribution only sends PR to relevant medias, who then decide whether or not to publish them, however the majority these days work on a paid for only basis, which is to be expected as this is an important revenue stream for them.

    1. Hi Paul, this should come in handy for sure. Sometimes changing a little thing (like your lead), can boost responses quite a bit.

  8. Hi Brian

    This post comes at a great time as been reviewing our PR strategy recently. We have not traditionally been using wire services to ‘syndicate’ our press releases as they get picked up by sites which are not that relevant to our industry and the noindex and nofollow reasons you mentioned in the post.

    We write our press releases and then our PR agency pitch to journalists to sites and magazines within our industry and niche.

    However, we are seeing using backlink analysis tools and seen that some of our competitiors are using wire services and although they do get nofollow backlinks from non-industry websites, they sometimes get their press releases picked up by news sites which don’t noindex and have follow links. So there is a bit of link authority credit there.

    Should we look to mimic the approach and also submit our releases over the wire hoping they get picked up by the do follow websites, or continue our more targetted approach?

    Worried about some of our competitors getting more referring domains than us!

    1. Hi Thomas, that’s a really good question. My take is that, when done right, targeted outreach is always better than paid syndication. That said, I recommend doing both if possible. But if you had to choose one, I’d go with outreach.

      Reason being: the goal of syndication (besides the possibly-helpful nofollow ink) is to get in front of journalists. And with outreach, you can almost guarantee that you get your release in front of them. Hope that makes sense.

  9. Good stuff Brian. Just a design note…It might just be me but I almost stopped scrolling every time I hit the full-width colour chapter dividers as my brain said “footer” but then I remembered this was a Brian Dean post so there had to be more.

  10. I am commenting u second time please reply how you make click to scroll chapters

    Are u using wordpress?

    As usual great fan of your work keep spreading the knowledge

  11. How did you ever read my mind?? I was just thinking about trying out a press release…

    You can’t underestimate the difficulty of the hook and headline though – finding something newsworthy in what others do is easy; finding it for yourself – especially if you’re a travel blogger – is the challenge of the decade… but now at least I know what the body is supposed to look like these days (I last wrote a press release about 20 years ago!)

    1. Hi Leyla, Nice! That’s something I struggle with as well. In fact, that’s one of the nice things about research-backed content. It kind of has a hook built into it so it doesn’t feel like those releases that are just a company tooting their own horn.

  12. Great guide! I’m a copywriter but sometimes my clients want press releases, too. I learned that stuff some years ago, but if you don’t do it every day, you will forget a lot. So a guide like this is extremely helpful for an occasional press release writer like me. Thanks!

    1. Hi Henning, that’s true. Plus, press releases (and online PR in general) changes all the time. So I thought it was time for an updated guide.

  13. Great tips! Regarding your tip about the product needing to be interesting (for a new product launch press release), what would you suggest when a product — while functional and important — just isn’t interesting? I’ve recently transitioned into a marketing role and have written a few press release for my company. We get picked up by trade magazines, which is great, but I’d love ideas on expanding our reach. (FYI, we use PRNewswire and PRWeb, which I like)

    1. Thanks Brian. In that case, I’d focus on other newsworthy things that you can do (like events, original research etc.). We’re kind of in the same boat: we sell online training courses. Not a product category that’s going to light the world on fire. So we focus on doing other stuff that bloggers and journalists would want to cover.

  14. Once again – another amazing article with priceless info. Well done Brian!!
    We recently posted a Press Release to announce a new software tool that we launched. We were pleased with the results. However, that is helpful to discover that links from a Press Release offer no SEO value. Bummer! Thanks so much for all of your help & support!!

    1. Hi Curt, you’re welcome. Yeah, the links in press releases don’t directly help with SEO. But if your release got picked up by another site or brought people to you site, I consider that a win.

  15. Hey Brian, awesome piece that couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. We just finished a huge addition to our software and what better way to tell the world? Thanks for always bringing quality content to the table.

    1. Hi Luke, if possible yes. Fortunately, there are many ways to get on their service without going straight through their pricey and complicated process.

      1. Dear Brian: Cision prices start at $99 per release, and the next package is $189. Which was is less expensive that you’re referring about?
        Thank you for your valuable posts!

  16. Hi Brian
    I had been looking for some ideas on press release for weeks, and then I found your email on the very topic! Thanks for creating such awesome content.

    1. Hi Amrita, unfortunately it takes some design work. But I’m looking to add PDF download buttons to a bunch of our guides that are missing them.

    1. Thanks Mona. I recommend looking into industry studies. You could do something on Black Friday buying behavior, average price of X on Amazon etc.

  17. Hey Brian, as usual a great post. It really helps a lot to small businesses.

    Am looking for a post related to “Perfect Social Media Promotion” or something like “Generating Organic Traffic by Social Shares”.

  18. Hi Brian, thanks for another amazing post! I’ve been looking for clear answers on the SEO value of PR’s and a fresh how-to guide that doesn’t stop at the old school 5 W’s + H.

    2 quick questions:

    #1. Are press releases good for local citations (NAP)? I’ve done lots of PR’s for my local clients and the PR’s often show up on BrightLocal’s Citation Tracker report. Is there any SEO value to this?

    #2. You mentioned in your post that the important thing to look for in a PR distribution service is the Journalist Network. I’ve been using and the service is clearly an automated syndication platform but they say that I can add on a “custom media list” package.

    I have a TON of release credits built up on this platform but if I take the time to craft powerful PR’s (as you recommend) I don’t want to waste them on a platform that isn’t going to provide any real exposure.

    In your opinion, is there any value in using these credits or should I just write this off as sunk costs?

    Thanks again!

    1. You’re welcome, Chris. I actually studied the existing content about press releases out there. It was good overall. But I wanted to dig deeper for this piece.

      To answer your questions:

      1. I haven’t seen Google make a clear statement on this. But I would say yes, they count for NAPs. Unlike links NAP citations don’t have to be editorial (placed by somebody else). That’s why directory listings can work. I’d put press releases in the same category.

      2. I’d give it a try. But the fact is that most custom media lists aren’t going to result in coverage unless your news and release is really compelling. It definitely can’t hurt. But most of the results from your PR will come from outreach.

  19. Thanks, Brian for the very comprehensive guide to writing press releases. I must have written thousands in my time but I nearly always look for examples of successful press release structure when starting a new release. There are some great tips here in this article.

    1. Hi Elliot, you’re welcome. As someone that has written thousands of releases, that’s good to hear! I actually had some imposter syndrome while I was working on this post because I don’t have as much experience with press releases as I do with SEO, link building etc. But it’s nice to hear that I was on the mark here.

  20. Hi Brian (and community),

    This is perfect timing as I am struggling with several clients and their press releases. The problem I am having is that client press releases are also being published, word for word, on their blog. My hypothesis is this is devaluing the site because it’s not original content. Is this bad for SEO? Or can Google decipher the difference?


    1. Hi Sarah, good question there. If possible I’d avoid having the exact release on your site for the reason you stated. Google sees that as duplicate content. Not a huge deal. But not ideal for SEO. I’d either not republush the content on your client’s blog (probably a tough sell if they’re used to doing that). You can also rewrite the release as an original blog post.

  21. Brian – You’ve outdone yourself. It’s like you’re reading my mind. I have a press release to send out to a wire service today. Now I feel the need to go back and make a few tweaks based on your assessments.

    Many of which are in the “duh!” column.

    I previously worked in local news and you may want to consider adding – for a local release – a who, what, when, where, why bulleted list. I always appreciated those when rolling out to cover a press conference.

    In your example release:

    Who: Backlinko and Buzzsumo
    What: “Hook”
    When: If you’re having a press conference list time, date, location here, if not, then mention when the study/event was released.
    Why: hundreds – ok, possibly thousands – of blogs are published every minute. We identified key features in top-performing content that can be replicated on a smaller scale to help marketers better connect with their customers.

    I realize your copy is for distribution, but I think it can also work for events on the local scale as well for press coverage.

    Great job!

    1. Hi Susie, You’re not the first person that’s said that they read this post around the time they were preparing a release. It shows that the press release industry has changed. But it’s still popular.

      I 100% agree with you: That’s a great checklist to have in every release (and news story). And I think that it can also work for non-local releases. The “where” may not be as important as it is for local events. But it never hurts to have the “5 why’s” covered. Great comment!

  22. Hi Brian!
    I recently started publishing press releases and I will need your experience and advice. Earlier, my press releases did not give the effect I expected.

  23. We currently utilize some Press Releases but armed with this info will need to revamp strategy. Also like that link to the Buzzsumo article. That’s next on my to-read list 🙂

  24. Hi Brian,

    The article looks amazing. The design and presentation is outstanding.

    All the graphics are looking just awesome…

    I have a suggestion for your blog:

    “You should use Scroll Up plugin” in your website so that people can go back to the top of the page easily. As your all the posts are so long.

    What is your opinion on this Brian?

    I use this plugin too…

  25. Hi Brian,
    God knows everyone’s problems and provide solutions at the right time!!!
    I am working for Delhi Cinema and they have just concluded a modelling pageant last Sunday. I have to spread that news to every possible corner of the world. You made my work easy. Now I know what to do and how to do it. Thank you!!!

  26. Hi Brian,

    Once again, amazing content. Whenever I receive your emails, I always make time to read them because I get the fomo effect if I don’t. You always know what you’re talking about. A lot of the stuff you write about we executed for years and it truly worked. The only struggle I have now, is how to scale PR a bit if we’re heading into new markets. We have built a good reputation in a few countries, but it’s quite hard to start generating PR in new countries. We are definitely planning to conduct an industry research, but making that unique next to many already available researches (about e-commerce) is challenging. I am curious if you have any experience with that.
    Anyway thanks again for providing so much value with your content.

    1. Hi Iris, thank you. I appreciate that.

      To answer your question, that’s a common issue for sure. Building relationships and learning the nuances of a new country or market takes time. Have you tried an influencer tool like pitchbox to speed up finding potential partners and influencers?

  27. Damm!!! Super helpful for me. Thanks brain dean, I really liked this article on PR and the way you presented this article. Graphics & text combination is best, it really helps in understanding. Thanks again!😚

  28. Great! I shared the post with my colleagues because we have just started to work with press releases monthly and I think we can use your tips so we can write the perfect press release.


  29. Oh man, love your point about giving your PR hook broader appeal than the original article might have. It’s so easy to get stuck in the perspective of an industry person — important to make that effort to appeal to the mainstream press.

    I understand that research is the best fit for press releases, but wonder if you’ve had success with other article types as well. Do you also use them for your how-to guides and case studies?

    1. Thanks man. I haven’t used press releases to promote “normal” blog posts, like how-to guides. My take is that, unless you’re doing something REALLY newsworthy, then a press release probably doesn’t make sense. And I wouldn’t consider blog posts newsworthy.

  30. I used to work as a feature writer and often received press releases. A good chunk of them were irrelevant and poorly written. That said, this is a wonderful resource for PR folks! It’s all about finding a great hook and putting the effort. 😊

    1. Hey Priscilla, that’s been my experience as well. 99% of press releases don’t work. And part of the reason is what you said: they’re irrelevant to the people they send them to. Like any outreach, promoting a press release is all about targeting your message to each journalist.

  31. Finally, i got a basic to advance knowledge about press release. I am a beginner in digital marketing. I am learning a lot from your blogs.
    Thanks Brain.

  32. I was waiting for you to release a post on Press Releases – thank you Brian, I cant wait to read it and implement your tips. This is an issue I’ve really struggled with 🙂

  33. Mainstream media is still a great way for companies and organisations to spread their message, Brian. But no matter how good the press release is, it has to be targeted to the correct journalist/media organisation. I manage the media contacts at my day job. As a result of having built up good relationships with the appropriate journalists (which takes time), they now occasionally contact me for news!

    1. Hi Hazel, well said and I 100% agree. Press release syndication is helpful. But nothing beats targeted outreach to people that cover your industry.

      And that’s very cool that people actually reach out to you now. Considering how much time it takes to find and pitch journalists, that must make the process of getting press mentions much easier.

  34. Brian, this is great stuff. I always thought press release is dead and boring. Any tips on getting exclusive research? Would strangers want to participate in surveys without any monetary or things in return?

    1. Thanks Cheefoo. That’s something I’m kind of learning myself. The bottom line is that you need to give them something in return for their time (either entry into a contest or money).

  35. Once again an amazing post from you Brian. Keep on rocking!

    I have a small question for you. I am looking to build a multilingual site and I am not sure how will it affect my SEO. Should I go with multiple subdomains or should just make posts on different languages on my main domain? What is your advice?

    1. Thank you. My recommendation would be to start and focus on 1 language at first. Then branch out. For the second question: I’ve seen both subdomains and separate domains work well. There isn’t one “best” approach there.

  36. Not sure how you plan and write these kinds of amazing and long content, but always useful for your readers. I could see the same question I wanted to ask that Google may treat ‘press releases’ as purposeful link building techniques.
    But if we do something for a real intention without spamming, that will be beneficial – I guess.

    1. Exactly. As long as you’re not abusing press releases to get links (which I don’t even think works in the first place), there’s nothing shady about them.

  37. I definitely recommend anyone that is planning on doing press releases to read Ryan Holiday’s “Trust Me I’m Lying”. Not as a how to guide, but to understand how people often use press releases in “grey-hat” ways in the real world.

  38. Thanks Brian, for the awesome post. Backlinko has become my go-to internet marketing guide.

    Quick question: Would you recommend getting PR done through marketplaces like Fiverr? I’ve seen people offering $100 to get PR out to 400+ news outlets. Are they legit? (or a complete waste of money)

    Would love to hear your input.

    1. Hey Ken, In my day Fiverr gigs were 5 dollars 😂😂😂

      But seriously, I wouldn’t worry as much about syndication. If your release gets in front of real journalists, I’d consider that a win.

  39. Hi Brian!

    Love the in-depth post, really practical and straightforward. 

    One thing re: adding multimedia to releases. 

    In both doing some in-house PR work and now working for a PR software company, I’ve found that adding images, videos, logos (even animated gifs!) that journalists can immediately use without having to go back and forth with the media contact can really make their lives easier – particularly when you’re addressing influencers who are big on social media.

    Even back in 2016, PR Newswire found the same thing – on average, multimedia press releases get up to 9.7x as many views as those using text alone (

    In my current role, I’ve found a lot of the feedback from our clients suggests that too – e.g. here’s a direct quote from a PR agency operating globally: “It is no longer enough just to send out plain text press releases or a pitch, it’s really important to include visual elements that outlets can use.”

    Do you think that’s the case all round, or that it’s industry specific/depends on the journalists you’re trying to reach? 

    My feeling is that with tech moving forward, we’ll see more and more forms of multimedia – some we haven’t even dreamed of yet – becoming standard. Maybe a few years down the line, a journo won’t even consider doing a write-up of your news unless you’ve included a VR walkthrough of your product :O 

    Again, great post – wonderful to see more practical guides out there! 🙂


    1. Hi Kate,

      Thank you! I’m glad you liked it. Also: great point there. I kind of glossed over the multimedia aspect of things. Like you said, they’re super important. So I maybe should have emphasized them more here. That said, no matter what industry we’re talking abut, they’re important. For example, if the release is announcing a new CEO hire, even adding a headshot of the person can help. Or maybe a video of her speaking at a conference. Or if you’re putting on a local event, you can show images from the event. Like you said, this is easy “copy and paste” stuff that they can use in their coverage.

      So yeah, awesome comment and thanks for sharing your insights with the Backlinko communuty!

  40. Hi Brian,

    Great article. I appreciated that you added some real examples of press releases to give a better look at what works and what doesn’t. This makes my job much easier since I can use your samples as a starting point.

    I love your writing, Editing, and optimization of your blog post
    You got amazing graphics team.

    Thanks for the informative blog post. Keep it up! 🙂

  41. Such a wealth of information.Never had seen such a comprehensive list of actions on press release.No wonder you get so many backlinks 😜 .

    What’s your take on press release services offered by blackhatworld and fiverr. Do they work? Also do google see them as duplicate content?

    1. Thanks Saylee. I’d have to see the specific offer to know for sure. But if they can get you on Google News, and journalists can see your release, then I say it’s worth a shot.

  42. Excellent presentation, I like the graphical presentation more than anything else. This is some unique style, I will surely try to implement it in my blog too.

  43. Another awesome and helpful post, thanks! I think when your press release is picked up by an authoritative site and reviewed by an editor, it should have value. Do you think the text needs to be unique though?

    1. Thanks. I definitely think at least some of the content should be unique. A copied release probably helps a little if the link is followed on an authority site. But ideally the coverage would be unique.

  44. Awsome stuff Brian, got me thinking about PRs again.

    A question: Do you still do link building for your website, like guest posting on other sites? Or you mainly focus on creating awesome content like this one and links follow?

    What do you recommend on this topic?


    1. Hi Emin, I still do outreach-based link building. As your site grows and you build an audience, you don’t need to do much of that stuff. But it’s always important.

      1. Hi Brian,

        Thanks for getting back. Can you please share a few examples of how you do it?

        Maybe you already have a blog post about this, would you share the link?


  45. The way it is presented; I never felt it was a long read. Absolutely, highly valuable stuff there. Does ‘buying links from Google approved news sites with high PR’ work? Or, will I get any penalty since the seller might be stuffing a ton of links on them?

  46. Great writeup, especially concerning the visual aspect. We see many press releases that are not skimming-friendly or don’t emphasize their core-message enough. Something we often do is use the press release as part of our overall content-strategy, meaning that its often a by-product of other content (blog, magazine and so on).

    1. Hi Simone, thank you. Great point there. Skimming-friendly is something I emphasize in our releases. I tend to use lots of bullets points, headers etc.

  47. Hi Brian,

    Another great guide. Thanks.

    I look at this as an online editor for a leading website in UK’s outdoor leisure industry. You’re dead right about press releases I consider and those I delete without getting past the headline.

    I often get untargeted press releases. They waste everyone’s time. But, I do use press releases and I always write a unique story based on the information contained in them.

    Another necessity for me is a good image which I can then use online or, if it’s high resolution, in our printed magazine.



  48. Hey Brian, great post! Just wondering what your thoughts about including a small infographic in the release for people to also embed?

  49. Great content Brian. Lots of confusion get cleared like does Press Release help in SEO and so on.
    The best part of this content that I think so is:
    How to write PR body copy.
    Thanks a lot Brian to share this useful blog.

  50. Brian, great job as usual! Apart from the rich content you created a very intuitive and supporting design for your article. That’s just nice to read, thank you.

  51. Different ideas/angles of how to write a press release, that’s fantastic! Love the fact that “your news doesn’t need to be earth-shattering…” that was an eye opener for me.

    I remembered coming across the importance of using press release as a marketing channel back in 2014 and have been thinking about this recently but after going through your article, you’ve given me a reason to revisit press release as a marketing option.

    This was a very concise guide after all. Really appreciate the effort you put in this.

  52. Hey everyone, i have spent some money on PR agencies in the past, but didn’t feel that it supported my SEO effectively. Who has seen real results and can show / send me some data to prove?

    @Brian – Thanks so much for this great article, which really helped me and my team understand press releases better.

  53. Everytime I want to try a new strategy, I always find a comprehensive guide at backlinko! Thank you so much @Brian!
    I’ve actually tried free press release distribution in the past with no luck, but I’ll go for a premium service this time.

  54. Without doubt – one of the BEST presented ‘how-to’ articles published online – in my not so humble opinion. I am insanely jealous of your creativity! And the content is powerfully good too. Thank you.

  55. What I love about you, Brian, is the absolutely amazing value that you create and provide for the communities you serve with this content. I read this several months ago while walking home from the gym and found it priceless. I just finished a conversation with a client that needed to get some timely information out and thought a press release would serve his goal perfectly. Then, I remembered this post, searched “brian dean press release promote blog post” and here I am again ready to help the client even better. Keep being awesome!

  56. I was wondering if I should do a press release and I feel more confident after reading this. Can too many PR hurt you? I have 2 different brands and was considering 1 every other month for each brand or 6 during a year/brand.

    Brian – thanks again for all that you do to help others!

    1. Hi Chris, I don’t think they can hurt you from an SEO perspective. But it may not be worth doing 6/year unless you’re doing cool stuff to justify the release.

  57. Backlinko is really becoming a trusted source for reference material for my team. Perfect step by step which will make our life so much easier trying to write some press releases to help with SEO. you really managed to clarify some of my suspicions. One question though, how does Google select articles to include in its Newsfeed, I sometimes see articles which look like nothing more than blog posts from a relatively obscure website. Is Google looking for some kind of shchema for news content, its quite impressive how granular the news artciles are that get served up.

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