Sep 09, 2016 / by Maria Materise

Despite the multitude of channels and platforms available to PR professionals today, press releases remain an important part of the public relations arsenal. But are your press releases driving leads or falling flat?

As we explore in the 3 Stages of Expanding Your Content’s Reach, if you don’t deliver your news in a compelling way, you’ll fail to gain your audience’s attention. 

Your press release must be the complete package, offering the information people want in a style they prefer. Learn how to piece your press release together with these four essential elements.


This is the first part of the press release your audience will likely see, and if you can’t make a connection with the headline, chances are they won’t click through to read the rest of the release.

The headline needs to be direct, informative and attention-grabbing – all in a matter of about 50-60 characters (60 characters is Google’s cut-off point).

When crafting your headline, think about it from your reader’s perspective. Why should they click to read more? 

There needs to be some sort of benefit to capture interest. Also, be sure your headline is a good representation of what your press release is about. You want your audience to go into the release having a good idea of what they will find.


When writing your press release, make sure you include all the necessary information and answer who, what, where, when and why. Looking to entice a journalist to cover your news? Make their life as easy as possible by providing everything they may need, including your contact information.

Generally speaking, most press releases should be between 400 and 600 words. There will be exceptions to this guideline; however, longer releases run the risk of losing your audience’s attention.

Keep the tone conversational, but informative. Use language your audience will clearly understand and ensure your voice is consistent with your brand and industry.

Call to Action

What is the goal of your press release? Whether you want people to buy your product, give a donation or attend your event, you need to specify the action you want readers to take.

Your call to action should be direct and concise, citing your intention right away and in as few words as possible. Be compelling and creative, but get to the point quickly. Be careful not to be too promotional. Overall, the press release still needs to be informative and newsworthy.


Today’s audiences are overwhelmed by text. Spice it up by including some multimedia elements. This could be a video, photos or an infographic. Think about how you can share your news in a creative way.

For example, if your press release is about a product announcement, you will want to include photos of the product or even a video demoing it. For press releases announcing new research, consider creating an infographic that visualizes the data.

Multimedia is also appealing for journalists. Include them with your pitch to get the journalist interested in your story and increase the chances that they will cover your news.

Not sure what type of multimedia they want? As you plan your press release, research the preferences of the media you’re reaching out to. With this information in hand, you’ll be able to customize the above essentials to fit your target journalists’ needs.

Learn more about pitching with purpose – request a demo of Cision’s media database and get the insights you need to engage the right influencers, earn valuable media coverage and achieve measurable results.

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About Maria Materise

Maria Materise is a content marketing specialist for Cision. Formerly a copywriter, she enjoys creating content that excites and inspires audiences. She is an avid reader, movie trivia geek, Harry Potter fanatic and makeup junkie..