7 Rules + 5 Dos & Don’ts = 17 Effective Press Releases

Press releases are a great way to make sure your company gets the attention it deserves. They’re also a great way to put yourself on the radar of people in your industry, so they should be well-crafted and thoughtful. 

To help you do that, we’ve created the official io9 Press Release Kit! It’s got everything you need to write an effective press release: rules for crafting a perfect one; dos and don’ts for writing them; examples of good/bad press releases; and tips on how to make sure they’re read by both humans and search engines alike. Let’s dig in!

Key Takeaways
1. Learn the 7 essential rules for crafting impactful press releases.
2. Discover the 5 crucial dos and don’ts for effective press release writing.
3. Gain insights into creating press releases that capture media attention.
4. Understand how to avoid common mistakes that hinder press release success.
5. Enhance your understanding of press release best practices and strategies.
6. Explore techniques for making your press releases stand out from the crowd.
7. Grasp the importance of concise and engaging press release content.
8. Master the art of creating newsworthy headlines and lead paragraphs.
9. Find out how to distribute your press releases for maximum impact.
10. Get tips on effectively utilizing a press release boilerplate.

Rule 1: Keep It Brief

There’s a reason why press releases aren’t called “press blobs.” They’re meant to be kept short and sweet, with an emphasis on the latter. That’s because people’s attention spans are dwindling, and as such, brevity is crucial for your message to be read.

To keep it brief:

Consider who would want to cover your story before writing any of this content; what do they care about? What will excite them? How can you make your announcement relevant to those people and their interests? 

To answer this question, think about what makes newsworthy a new product launch or service offering from a major company could be interesting if it reveals that the company has partnered with another big player in their industry or if it addresses an issue currently facing consumers (like sustainability).

Write in simple language that anyone can understand including journalists! If possible, include some key statistics at the beginning of each paragraph so readers know how big or important something is right off the bat.

Keep each paragraph focused on one thing only; don’t throw everything into one release unless there is only one thing going on at your organization (and even then, try not to go overboard). 

You’ll have more success getting coverage if you break up all relevant information into multiple releases over time instead of just sending out one long missive about everything that has happened since January 1st (or whenever).

Crafting an effective press release involves careful planning and execution. Learn how to enhance your press releases with these 17 Tips for Putting Together a Press Release to capture the attention of your target audience.

Rule 2: Write the way you speak

If you’re going to write a press release for your business, chances are you’ll have to do it several times. That means if you want it to be effective and get results, it has to be easy for people to understand. So write in a way that is easy for the reader to understand using short sentences and simple language. 

Make sure that everything is clear and understandable because this will help them decide whether they want more information from you or not.

Another important thing is using active voice instead of passive voice when writing a press release (more on this in Rule 4). 

The reason why this is so important is that people generally prefer active voice over passive voice. After all, active voice makes things more interesting than passive voice does! And since we all know how boring life can sometimes be…well let’s just say I wouldn’t mind being entertained every once in a while 🙂

Another thing I would recommend doing when writing your press release is using contractions.

they make what you have written sound more natural which means that people will feel like they’re reading something authentic rather than forced or fake sounding which might turn them off from wanting more info about whatever product/service/etc., etc., etc.,…you’re trying to promote!

Rule 3: Show, Don’t Tell

This concept is best explained by example. Here’s an example of a press release written with the don’t-tell approach:

“Our company offers the most affordable, reliable, and efficient service in town.” That sounds nice but it could be said about any other company in any other industry. 

The goal of your press release should be to give readers a reason to care about what you do and how you do it. Showing them exactly why they should care about those things will help them connect with your brand more effectively than just telling them that they should.

Want your press releases to go viral? Discover the strategies behind creating press releases that attract widespread attention. Explore the guide on How to Create Press Releases That Go Viral and make your releases share-worthy.

Rule 4: Answer The Dang Phone

This is a no-brainer, but I’m going to encourage you to pick up the phone, call reporters and ask them if they would like more information about your business/company/product/website/press release/whatever.

If you don’t hear back from someone, don’t get discouraged or angry. Just try again with another reporter on another day or week (or month). Sometimes all it takes is for someone who has never heard of you before to pick up their phone and change everything for the better!

Rule 5: Put Someone Else In The Story

The final rule is to put someone else in the story. Don’t just talk about your achievements and company tell us about the people who have helped you along the way, or what you’ve learned from them.

For example, if you were able to secure a new client, mention that fact but don’t stop there. Tell us about how excited they are that they chose your company over others who were also vying for their business. 

You could even go as far as saying what sets you apart from those other companies: “We’re thrilled that our client chose us because we know we can offer them something no one else can uncompromising quality, attention to detail, and an unbeatable price point.”

Writing effective press releases involves mastering the dos and don’ts of the trade. Dive into the valuable insights of an experienced press release writer in the article on My Favorite Dos and Don’ts for Writing Press Releases to refine your press release skills.

Rule 6: Be Fast

You’re probably thinking, “What the heck does being fast have to do with writing a good press release?” It’s simple: You want your news to be new and fresh, so you can’t wait too long before releasing it. But don’t go overboard the key here is moderation.

You’ve heard the phrase “strike while the iron is hot”? That’s what we’re talking about here! Once you think you have something worth saying, get it out there as soon as possible. 

This way, if someone else gets wind of your story first (and they will), then at least no one will be able to say that they saw it first in their publication or blog post. If a journalist covering your industry sees that another publication beat them on an important story, they might lose interest and move on elsewhere.

The best way to ensure speediness? Use a tool like TCPR (or any other company) because we offer same-day turnaround times when most platforms take a week or longer! 

Also, make sure that whatever tool/platform you’re using has features like custom tagging and/or keyword enrichment so that there are no mistakes made along the way by our team members who may not understand specific terminology unique only within other industries outside their expertise.”

Rule 7: Be Nice

Being nice is the most important rule of all. The more your press release is likable, the more likely it will be shared online. Here are some tips for being nice:

  • Be polite and respectful (even if you’re not feeling that way). Make sure to use a friendly tone when writing about your topic.
  • Don’t write in a negative or confrontational manner instead, try giving helpful advice and sharing useful information with the reader.
  • Write in an honest, straightforward way without exaggerating or lying about anything you say in your article or press release; doing so will only make people distrust what else you’ve written down there too!

Do 1 – Tell A Story

You need to tell a story that your audience can relate to. You want them to know that you understand their needs and want to help them solve their problems. This is the most important part of your press release, so take some time and make sure you do it right!

To illustrate this point, let’s look at an example. Say you’re launching a new product for dog owners: an energy bar made with real peanut butter that contains no artificial preservatives or chemicals. Your target audience is people who have dogs and want their furry friends to live longer lives through healthy eating habits (this is hypothetical). 

The headline of your press release might be something like: “New Product Launches Today – Perfect For Dogs That Love Peanut Butter!” 

And then in the body text, you might say something like this: “Our new dog food energy bars are made from all-natural ingredients so they’ll keep your dog’s teeth clean while also giving him or her all the energy needed for long walks on cold winter days.”

 In other words, what matters most here isn’t how great our new product tastes (which it does!), but how much better it makes life for owners who care about what happens when their pets eat bad food products.”

Writing press releases for startups requires a different approach. Gain valuable tips on how to make your startup press releases stand out with the guidance provided in 9 Tips for Writing Press Releases for Startups to effectively reach your target audience.

Do 2 – Use Facts And Figures

Don’t just tell us that you are a great company or that your product is the best. Use facts and figures to back up your claims. Numbers give credibility to your story and make it more powerful, especially when used in headlines.

Here are some examples:

  • “123 million Americans suffer from back pain every day.” (To sell a new type of mattress.)
  • “Child hunger has increased by 10 percent in America over the past decade.” (To raise money for children’s meals.)

Do 3 – Stay Away From Jargon

This is a very important rule.

When you’re writing your press release, don’t use jargon, acronyms, and technical terms in the first place. When you do this, it makes it harder for a journalist to understand what you are saying and could make them lose interest in reading further into the story. 

For example: “We have developed software that can track down customer buying patterns and predict the next trend before it happens.” You should rewrite this statement as “We’ve developed a new product which tracks customer buying patterns and predicts what the next trend will be before it happens.”

It’s also important not to use industry-specific terms that no one outside of your industry would understand (e.g., “blockchain”). All this does is make your story more complicated than needed so keep things simple!

Do 4 – Write A Boilerplate And Include It At The Bottom Of Your Release

A boilerplate is a paragraph or two at the bottom of your press release that has been used repeatedly in many different releases. This can be helpful for reporters and editors since they know what to expect and where to find information.

Here is an example of a boilerplate:

  • Who am I? My name is [NAME] and I am a student at [COLLEGE].

How did I reach this conclusion/what was my inspiration for creating this project? When I was researching for my senior thesis about sustainability in New York City, I realized that there were few resources available to help people make better choices when it came to reducing their carbon footprint, especially around food consumption. 

So last summer during my internship at [FAMOUS COMPANY], we started working on our idea for an app that would allow users access to local farmers’ markets through geolocation technology. 

We knew that if they could easily find out where their local market was located by inputting their location into the app’s search engine, then consumers would have no excuse to use it!

Do 5 – Offer Suggestions For Follow-Up Stories

A successful press release should offer suggestions for follow-up stories. A good suggestion is to include a link to your website, as well as contact information for someone who can speak about the news in greater detail. 

You might also consider providing quotes from people at the company the CEO, founder, or president who can provide context with their words and opinions.

When you’re done writing your press release, it’s important to take a step back and assess whether or not it’s ready for distribution. If so, send it off! And if not…

Don’t 1 – Forget The Basics

It’s easy to become so wrapped up in the excitement of a new product or service that you forget to provide an easy way for readers to get in touch with you. If readers don’t have your contact info, they’re not going to be able to buy from you, so make sure it’s front and center!

Don’t forget headlines (and subheads).

The headline is where most people will stop reading, so make sure yours is compelling enough that even if they only read this part of the release, they’ll still be able to glean its gist. 

That being said – don’t get too wordy; keep it short and sweet! Make sure each sentence can stand alone as well as fit within the context of the whole release. You want people who skim through these releases while looking at their phones while waiting at the doctor’s office reading every single word!

Don’t forget dates and bylines when writing press releases: Writers should always write their names on all pieces before submission unless asked otherwise by an editor; this serves both informational purposes (so editors know who wrote what) as well as legal ones (in case someone else takes credit for writing something). 

Additionally-writers should always put publication dates wherever relevant within their documents; this way everyone knows exactly when something happened instead of guessing based on context clues alone.”

Learning from the experiences of an industry expert can greatly enhance your press release writing skills. Discover the valuable lessons shared by an experienced press release writer in the article on Lessons from an Experienced Press Release Writer to refine your craft and improve your results.

Don’t 2 – Repeat Your Headline Five Times

Don’t use the same headline over and over again in the body of your press release. While it might make for a good SEO strategy, it will not help you get published. Reporters are looking for something new and interesting here, so always aim to think outside of the box when writing your headlines.

Don’t 3-Try To Be Funny Or Clever

You should never try to be funny or clever in a press release. This includes puns, jokes, or any sort of clever wordplay.

Why it’s a bad idea: The media will likely not see the humor and may not even understand the joke if they do. This can lead to your story being missed entirely by many outlets who don’t have time for silly press releases. Additionally, audiences are more likely to share content that is informative and relevant than something that’s meant to entertain them.

How you can fix it: Focus on making sure your message is clear and concise so that journalists can take away its meaning without getting distracted by any unnecessary sarcasm or humor (unless you have experience writing comedy).

Don’t 4 – Makeup Quotes

It’s tempting to make your press release sound more interesting by faking a quote from someone, but it never works out well in the long run. 

You’ll end up looking like a fake and will get caught, which will only make you look even worse than if you had just told the truth in the first place. 

Not to mention that making stuff up can lead to legal issues! If you want to add quotes from people who weren’t interviewed for your story and believe me, I understand how much easier it would be for me if people were as excited about my work as I am you have two options:

a) Find someone willing to say nice things about your product/service/ideas without having met them before or without knowing much at all about what they do (this is rare).

b) Just don’t use any quotes at all; leave any interviewee’s name out of it too so no one can call them later on when they hear their words used incorrectly (this is more common).

Don’t 5 – Send Generic Press Releases To People Who Don’t Care About Them

Most business owners get the impression that they need to send a press release every time they have an important announcement or event, but this isn’t true. A good rule of thumb is to only send out a press release when you have something newsworthy or interesting to share with your audience not just because it’s Tuesday and you think it’s time for another release.

If you do decide to go ahead and distribute your public relations tool and make sure it’s worth reading! then make sure it addresses the needs of journalists and other media professionals first and foremost:


Press releases are not designed to be exciting or glamorous. They’re designed to be informative and engaging. They help people who may not know you very well learn about your organization and its mission, which is why we think they’re so important. When you write a press release, keep these ten rules in mind: they’ll help ensure that your next release gets read!

Further Reading

Expand your knowledge on effective press release writing with these additional resources:

The 10 Golden Rules of Writing Press Releases

Learn the essential principles behind writing compelling press releases and capturing media attention.

Avoid These Press Release Mistakes

Discover common mistakes to avoid when crafting press releases to ensure your message is clear and impactful.

Dos and Don’ts of Writing Press Releases

Explore the key dos and don’ts of press release writing to maximize your chances of success.


Have questions about effective press release writing? Here are some answers to common queries:

How can I make my press release stand out?

Craft a compelling headline and lead paragraph that immediately grab the reader’s attention. Focus on the most newsworthy and relevant information to engage your audience from the start.

What mistakes should I avoid in my press release?

Avoid excessive jargon, overly promotional language, and neglecting to include essential details. A well-structured and concise press release is more likely to be well-received.

What is the ideal length for a press release?

Aim for a press release length of around 300-500 words. Keep it concise while covering the necessary details to make your message clear.

How can I distribute my press release effectively?

Consider using press release distribution services, reaching out to relevant media contacts, and sharing your release on your company’s website and social media channels.

What should I include in the boilerplate of my press release?

The boilerplate should provide a brief overview of your company, including its mission, products/services, and contact information. Keep it concise and informative.