It's not many small businesses who can hire PR firms. Yet, press releases are a great way for small businesses to get their names in front of local or pertinent news outlets. I've put together a basic outline that one can follow to write a press release in the instance that your business has received an award. 

Press Release Outline

There are many different ways to write a press release but you should make sure that you include a headline, summary, link to your website, a quote and contact information for someone at your company.  

Headline

Example, “Amy Thacker Named Best Marketer In New York City”

Length: Shorter is better. Keep under 70 characters.

Summary

Who, Who, What: State what the award is all about. Who won, who gave it, and what the award is for.

Length: Make it one sentence. 

Body

This is the portion of the press release where you delve into why the award matters. Try to explain why the award is newsworthy and why anyone should care. Is it because the organization giving away the award is super special? Is it because the good work that you did is so noteworthy? Focus on the more newsworthy aspect and explain. Ask yourself, "why would anyone care?".

Length: 2-3 sentences

Quote

Quote the highest ranking person at your company. Write the quote for the exec and then have him or her sign-off on it. Have the quote answer these questions in a succinct way: Why does he or she care about the award? What does it mean for the company?

Length: 1-2 sentences 

More Body

Add a little more detail to the work you did to get the award. Or, add a brief statement about the history of the award. Has anyone famous in your industry ever won it? Was it named after someone? Go a little deeper into details (while staying succinct) than you did in the first part of the body.

Length: 1-2 sentences

Quote

If possible, grab a quote from the organization giving the award. Why was the organization impressed by your work? If not, add a 2nd quote from your company's executive. 

Length: 1-2 sentences

Call To Action

Leave the reader knowing what to do next. Is it to visit your company's website? 

Length: 1 sentence

Company Summary

Start a new paragraph with a header, "About [Insert company name]."

Under this heading, briefly explain the services your company provides. 

Length: 1-2 sentences

Press Release Pro Tips

When quoting someone for the first time, you should refer to him or her by the full name along with his or her title. Every time after that, simply refer to him or her by last name.

Headlines should be in present tense. The rest of the press release should be written in past tense if the events have occurred in the past. 

Don't use a fancy word for "said" when you are quoting someone. News stories relay information without amplifying emotions. For example, don't say someone shouted, or yelled, or exclaimed. 

The overall tone of the piece should be neutral. Your company's executive may sound exuberant and excited, but outside of the quotes, neutral language should be used. You don't want the press release to sound cheesy or like an advertisement. Too many exclamation points and fluff seem disingenuous and people won't take it seriously.  

Great resources for writing press releases

Cision: 10 knock-their-socks off press release headline writing tips

Kissmetrics: 12 Ironclad rules for issuing press releases

The Guardian: How to write an effective press release

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