Online Content Specifics: How to Write Press Releases for the Web

Whether you’re writing a press release for your business or for a paid writing assignment on, writing it the right way influences how it’s perceived, shared and read.

To keep press releases full of informative, engaging and effective online content, follow these principles:

  • Keep it newsworthy.
  • Make the length short.
  • Include only facts.
  • Avoid extra words.
  • Minimize jargon.
  • Avoid directly addressing readers.
  • Write in the inverted pyramid style.

Press releases are effective only when they are optimized as online content. Optimizing press releases for the web involves considering how to use keywords and where to place them.

Making the purpose of a press release clear also influences its effectiveness. Keep your focus on sharing exciting news and not on selling a product or service. Following these guidelines helps you write clear, concise, newsworthy and engaging press releases.

Guidelines for writing effective news releases

  • Keep it newsworthy. An online press release is about giving the media a story. It’s not a promotional piece designed to drive sales. Make your release as newsworthy as possible. More people are drawn to something with true importance and value over a puff piece with sales-driven language.
  • Make the length short. Writing a too-long press release gets your content discarded faster. Online readers are scanners, and to accommodate them, keep the release to two pages max. One page is ideal.
  • Include only facts. Avoid placing embellishments and exaggerations into the release. Honesty is key. If what you write sounds unbelievable, it probably is, which hurts your credibility and the credibility of any company you represent.
  • Avoid extra words. While word choice has a big impact on the quality of your release, omit unnecessary adjectives and adverbs. Avoid flowery language. Write in the active voice. Be direct and to the point. All of these things strengthen your copy.
  • Minimize jargon. You might need to include some jargon for effective keyword usage and SEO, but minimize it as much as possible within those constraints. Plain, ordinary language opens your message up to a much wider audience while also staying easier to digest.
  • Avoid directly addressing readers. Keep your writing in the third person for press releases by never addressing readers directly with “you.” Avoid writing in the first person using “I,” “we,” “us” or “our” as well The only appropriate place to use non-third-person pronouns is in a direct quotation. You want the release to come across as a statement of interesting facts, not a promotional piece or sales pitch.
  • Write in the inverted pyramid style. Any piece of content for the web is best written using the inverted pyramid style of journalism. Write press releases in this format – always. It conveys the who, what, when, where and why of your release in a way that accommodates online readers the most.

Tips for writing an effective online press release

Online content must get the attention of readers quickly to be effective. Engaging readers is a must as well. Use these tips to accomplish both more easily:

  • Tip #1: Use your headline and opening paragraph to tell a story that readers want to read through to its conclusion. Draw them into the body of your release.
  • Tip #2: Illustrate the story in the body of your press release. Weave in examples from real life. Create a way for readers to connect to and visualize the story.
  • Tip #3: Take the right angle. Consider the social issues and other current events that are occurring as you send out your press release. If you can connect your release to those things, it is more attractive to readers.
  • Tip #4: Stay concise and as grammatically perfect as possible. Omit fluff and filler – online readers see it for what it is: wordy and distracting.

Write powerful press releases when you follow these guidelines and tips. Don’t make the mistake of turning one into an advertisement. Instead, keep the focus on crafting and delivering a newsworthy piece focused on the company about which you’re writing.