When a company launches a new product, it's important to get the word out to consumers, investors and other stakeholders. One way to spread the news is to write a press release announcing the product's launch. While press releases are generally sent to members of the news media, they can also be useful ways to communicate company news to other stakeholders, including employees, customers and stockholders.
What Is a Press Release?
A press release is a form of written communication produced by a company announcing some piece of news. Besides announcing the release of a new product, a company might issue a press release to share the results of a quarterly earnings report or to announce that a new CEO has been hired. A press release typically includes the following components:
- A compelling headline
- Details about the announcement
- Quotes from company officials
- Instructions for getting more information.
While press releases are generally sent to news publications, they can also be shared directly with a company's stakeholder groups, usually by publishing the press release on the company's website. Press releases are often written by a company's communications director or by a public relations firm.
Writing the Heading and Body
Begin by writing down the basics: the who, what, when, where, why and how of the new product announcement. Write in an easy-to-read style, avoiding jargon and acronyms that might confuse the reader. Keep the press release short and to the point, writing an excellent summary of the product launch announcement. For example, "Company ABC plans to release its newest transformer toy in stores Aug. 15, 2018. The toy allows kids ages three and up to transform a four-door car into a ferocious dinosaur."
It's important to stick to the facts. The media should be able to publish directly from the main body of your press release so it's not appropriate to insert opinions .
Add Color Through Quotes
One way you can introduce opinions is by including quotes from company leaders if appropriate, as well as any hyperlinks, photos, videos, charts and other visuals that might be helpful for understanding the announcement. For example, "'We pride ourselves on creating toys that combine imaginative play with problem-solving,' said Company CEO John Johnson. 'We are excited to add this toy to our extensive line of transformers.'" This gives your press release an editorial edge and can nudge the media towards your angle on the story.
At the bottom of the press release, you should include contact information for the company official who can take further questions regarding the new product. For example, "If you'd like to learn more about the transformer or demo the toy, call our public relations department at (555) 555-5555."
You may write several drafts of the press release, which should be reviewed and approved by company leaders before publication.
Distributing a Press Release
It's important to consider the mechanism for distributing your announcement to the media and stakeholders. Today, most companies send press releases via email, though some send press releases through the mail or via fax. Consider the many stakeholder groups you wish to reach with the press release and how best to communicate with them. Options include sending a company-wide email to alert employees to the news, adding the press release to the company's website or blog or posting it to the company's social media platforms.
- The first paragraph should not be longer than three to four sentences and should contain at least the primary benefit of the product.
- Don't make the boilerplate longer than 100 to 150 words; the majority of the word count should be located within the body of the press release.
- Keep your press release within the 400 to 500 word range for offline distribution, and the 300 to 400 word range for online distribution.
Sarah Kuta is an award-winning Colorado writer and editor with a journalism degree from Northwestern University. She regularly writes about personal finance, saving for retirement, business, startups and saving money. Her work has appeared in Don't Waste Your Money, The Penny Hoarder, the Associated Press, the Denver Post and other publications.