Press releases are a great way to build SEO and drive web traffic to your site. That being said, many business owners shy away from them because they assume they’re difficult to write.

Having written dozens of press releases, I’m always amazed at the mystic qualities small business owners assign to writing press releases. They’re not magical, people. In fact, they’re pretty easy to write once you have the formula…which I will give you in this post!

Step 1: Determine Your Topic

A press release should be newsworthy. It should be about your company’s new product, not an editorial piece on how amazing your company is. It should offer readers something they didn’t know about your brand. Here are a few topic ideas for you:

  • Starting a business
  • New product
  • Participation in a community event
  • Award won
  • Major client secured

You get the idea. Next, write out the who, what, when, where, why and how of your release.

  • Who: your company, or someone within your company
  • What: that piece of news you want to share
  • When: when did it or will it occur?
  • Where: when did it or will it occur?
  • Why: why do readers care about your news?
  • How: how can they learn more about your brand?

Step 2: Start Writing

Just dive on in! The first paragraph of your press release should cover that list of who, what, when, where, why and how so that if readers don’t go beyond the first paragraph, they still get everything they want to know out of it. Next, provide additional supporting paragraphs, typically three to five, that give more info about the news.

Include a quote! Having a real, live person’s input on your news really jazzes up the story and makes it more interesting to read. Avoid boring quotes like, “We’re very excited about this news.” Get your source to say why he’s excited. What does he hope will come of this news? What do readers want to know?

Step 3:  Wrap up the Details

After the news paragraphs, add an About Us section below. If you have a boilerplate (content you can copy for this from your About Us section on your website), use it. Make sure to include links to your site.

Below that, add contact info for the person who should be contacted in regards to this news. Include name, email and phone number.

Step 4: Go Back and Fill in the Rest

You’ll notice I skipped the headline. I did so deliberately. If you wait until after you’ve written your press release, you may have a better idea of what you should use in the header to get readers’ attention. Keep in mind this is all they’ll see if your release is in a list of releases, so that headline should jolt them into clicking on it. Put it in the form of a question. Make it unique. Avoid boring. Take a look at headlines on PRWeb and see which ones make you want to click.

Also go back and add in keywords you want included in your press release. For example, if CorpNet was creating a press release about their new product that helps business owners file an LLC, they should use keywords like I just did, and link to the page they want people to find.

Read other press releases on PRWeb and Google News to get a sense for what they should look like. In the example I included above, the headline draws you in, because it ties in to a holiday (a great tactic, by the way). The release goes on to discuss the product and offer a discount to readers.

Press releases can help increase your web traffic and sales, so take the time to write a few practice drafts. Then distribute them on a site like PRWeb or Marketwire so that you maximize who sees your release.