4 tips for using storytelling techniques to craft compelling press releases

by | Dec 18, 2023 | Public Relations

Press releases are valuable marketing tools for spreading media awareness and positive publicity. 

But the competitive landscape is growing, and it’s becoming harder to win over journalists who receive hundreds of PR emails every week. 

One of the best ways to stand out from the crowd is to tell a compelling story.

The big news you want everyone to know, whether an event, new product, or award, is likely very important for your organization. 

But at the end of the day, will your announcement matter if your press release isn’t interesting enough to capture your audience?

By approaching it through the lens of a storyteller, you can take full control of your brand story and entice the media to cover your brand.

Storytelling for press releases: 4 tips for a compelling narrative

Press releases that tell a powerful story all have one thing in common: a deep focus on the target audience.

After all, they’re the people who’ll be reading it. So, grab their attention and keep them invested.

That means the first step is to know your audience. This is PR 101. So, you likely already have that part taken care of.

Now, let’s move on to the more involved steps.

1. Hook your audience with a catchy headline and lead

Your headline and lead are the first things people will see in your press release. So, make sure they’re catchy, clear, and concise. 

When crafting your headline and lead, ask yourself questions like:

  • How can my audience benefit from reading my press release?
  • Why should my audience care?
  • What’s in it for the reader?
  • Why is it newsworthy?

Even though there’s limited space in your headline and lead, you can still incorporate storytelling elements. Every great story builds tension and suspense, so make that come across in your headline and lead.

In your headline:

  • Use intriguing words and phrases (e.g., Unveiling the Mystery Behind…)
  • Invoke curiosity with a character or event 

For example, the headline “Wealth Protection: A Bulletproof Plan to Securing Your Legacy” by a Dallas-based news outlet catches readers’ attention by combining keywords like “wealth protection” with figurative language and a “bulletproof plan.”

It signals expertise and instills a sense of security, addressing the core concerns of people seeking asset protection.

For legal editors, this approach ensures the press release isn’t merely a source of information but a narrative journey that speaks to their readership’s interests and concerns.

This headline by a tech powerhouse is also effective. The words “here’s why” entice the audience to keep reading.

4 tips for using storytelling techniques to craft compelling press releases

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So, what about your lead? How can you bring a storytelling approach to your opening paragraph?

In your lead:

  • Hint at a resolution but leave enough room for the reader to wonder
  • Build anticipation with descriptive language
  • Set the stage by introducing a story setting
  • Outline the challenge

2. Frame your narrative from your audience’s perspective

When it comes to storytelling for press releases, the best way to spark curiosity is to write from the perspective of your target audience.

Sure, you can create a press release about how proud you are of receiving an award or how excited you are for your new product launch. 

But your news story can be even more powerful by focusing on what your company means to your audience instead of what it means to you.

This is what journalists and editors want to see when sharing news releases.

Here are some tips for framing your story from your audience’s perspective:

  • Use pronouns “you” and “yours” to make the reader feel personally connected
  • End with a call to action (CTA) that aligns with your readers’ interests
  • Highlight how your news directly impacts or benefits your audience
  • Start with a scenario your audience can relate to
  • Address pain points and aspirations

3. Answer the most important questions: Who and why?

Answering the 5 W’s is essential in any news release. Again, PR 101. 

So, you already know the importance of addressing the who, what, when, where, and why in your press release.

However, this approach only conveys essential information. It doesn’t really help to tell a story.

But the words who and why relate to two important parts of story design: character and desire.

Who refers to the ideal customer you want to reach and the goals they want to achieve.

Here’s an example from a payment optimization company that does this effectively. They highlight e-commerce merchants as the ones who’ll benefit from its increase in funding.

4 tips for using storytelling techniques to craft compelling press releases

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Why focus on why your ideal customer wants to achieve those goals and the forces preventing them from doing so. 

With this approach, you can invoke your audience’s psychological and emotional response. It works because it focuses on what they truly want, why they want it, and what it’ll mean for them to win or lose it. 

4. Develop a story arc

With the previous best practices in mind, it’s time to craft your story using a narrative arc. This involves plotting out the journey you want your reader to take. 

There are many types of story arcs, such as the classical story arc, rags-to-riches, man in a hole, Icarus, and Cinderella. 

These narrative arcs focus on a problem, journey, and resolution. 

Let’s put these into action. Imagine that you’re announcing a product launch in your press release.

  • Hook readers in by introducing the problem you’re looking to solve.
  • Highlight how the problem is causing pain and frustration for your consumer.
  • Take readers on a journey to finding the solution to their problems. Analyze why the problem exists in the first place to ease your audience into looking forward to a better future. 
  • Consider bringing real people into the story to give it life. Introduce your brand’s founders and employees. Showcase testimonials.
  • Highlight the product/solution your company offers. Show, don’t tell. Use examples, direct quotes, and social proof to illustrate your points. 

Hit ‌writer’s block? You can use a free essay writer to write a compelling story for your press release.

It can easily gather all relevant information and present you with a professionally written report.

Wrapping up

A well-crafted press release goes beyond presenting data, research, and bullet points of features. You want to win over hearts, not just minds.

That’s why an emotionally intriguing narrative is so powerful. Never underestimate an emotional connection.

But the first step to storytelling for press releases is knowing your audience. From there, you can introduce a breaking story that captures both hearts and minds.

Luca Ramassa
Luca Ramassa, Outreach Specialist at LeadsBridge, is passionate about Marketing and Technology. My goal is to help companies improve their online presence and communication strategy.