Working Backwards Press Release Template and Example

Whenever I talk to someone about the Working Backwards[1] process used by Amazon to define new products the first thing I get asked is, “Do you have an example you can share?” Before now, I didn’t. All the examples I had were internal press releases I or others had written at Amazon.

Now, I do! Below is a basic template for the internal press release, a primary artifact of the Working Backwards process. I’ve added a few tips on writing each of the sections, and then included an example press release I wrote for a fictional product. I hope these will help you get started working backwards from your own customers!

TITLE

Subtitle

[City, State]–[Intended Launch Date][Intro paragraph]

[Problem]

[Solution]

[Quote by leader in your company]

[How the product/service works]

[Quote by a customer of the product/service]

To learn more, go to [URL].

# # #

A few notes on using the template above:

  • Title – This is a standard press release title. I like this general format: [COMPANY] ANNOUNCES [SERVICE | TECHNOLOGY | TOOL] TO ENABLE [CUSTOMER SEGMENT] TO [BENEFIT STATEMENT]. You can browse company investor relation websites to get other examples of press release titles and subtitles.
  • Subtitle – The subtitle just frames the main announcement in a different way or provides another element of detail.
  • Date – This is the date you could potentially launch the product. Safety tip: If you add a date and then review your press release with an exec, they’re likely to cache this date and think the product is going to actually ship on the date. Make it practical, just in case.
  • Intro paragraph – Provide a crisp 3-4 sentences that reiterate and expand on the title with a little more detail on the customers served and what is being launched.
  • Problem paragraph – Lay out the top 3-4 (max) problems for the customers your product or service is intended to serve. Describe each problem briefly and talk about the negative impact of it. Resist the temptation to start talking about your solution. Keep this paragraph focused on the problems, and make sure the problems are ranked in descending order of how painful they are.
  • Solution paragraph – Describe how your product/service elegantly solves the problem. Give a brief overview of how it works, and then go through and talk about how it solves each problem you listed above.
  • Quote by leader in your company – Pick a leader in your company and make up a quote that talks about why the company decided to tackle this problem and (at a high-level) how the solution solves it.
  • How the product/service works – Describe what a customer has to do to start using the product/service and how it works. Go into enough detail to give them confidence it actually solves the problem.
  • Customer quote – Create a fake quote by a fake customer, but one that sounds like it could be real. The customer should describe her pain point or the goal she needs to accomplish, and then how the product you launched enables her to do so.
  • How to get started – Provide a URL or other information on the first place a customer should go to get access to the product/service.

Here’s a mock press release to show you how it all comes together: 

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