Technology has taken us by storm and is continually changing our old ways of doing things. No longer do we need huge maps that cover the entire front seat of our cars when there’s a GPS that finds your location in mere seconds. Press releases were also impacted; as technology has streamlined the way we communicate and how quickly word can get out. But make no mistake, we’re here to tell you that press releases are very much alive and are still a vital tool that can help your company gain the exposure it needs.
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter; they’re all handy when you want to relay a quick message to people who follow you, but what’s an alternative when you have a message that’s longer than 140 characters and you want the right eyes to see what you have to say.
Here are some of the questions you might be asking yourself or need to be asking:
- What is a press release?
- How are press releases still relevant today?
- What are some of the best practices to create a compelling press release in 2018?
- How long should my press release be?
- How can I make my headline stand out?
- What is a good example of a press release?
- What are some key features that a press release needs to reach the next level?
- Can a press release be optimized for high search engine rankings?
Press releases serve a very clear-cut purpose and that’s to report very specific but brief information about an event, circumstance, or other happenings that are considered important. Typically, a press release is provided by a business, organization, or someone of status to media outlets to relay a message.
A great press release catches the eye of news sites, bloggers, and others who find it worthy of sharing on their social networks and actually serve a purpose for their readers/listeners.
You may find yourself wanting your information to remain exclusive to certain outlets for a certain amount of time. The timing of the release is critical and an immediate release would be the opposite of beneficial. This is what makes a press release critical for a business that has a timeline for a release of a product or a company announcing a merger. Media outlets have the power to make it a grand opening or an afterthought.
Take these next tips into consideration before you begin writing your press release:
1. Headlines Can Make Or Break You
A headline is a small part of your press release but it plays a huge role if it’s to be picked up. The headline is the first thing that a journalist, or anyone reading it, will look to first and most of the time, this is all they read before making their decision to pass or not.
Use action words that will immediately capture the attention of your reader. Make them eager to read on and find out why your press release is a must-read. The ideal length for a headline should be 100 characters or less. By keeping it short and sweet, you’re appeasing to the search engines, as well as prospective readers.
Don’t be afraid to be creative – stand out among the crowd while staying in the language you know your readers are attuned to. If your audience understand your industry jargon, play around with a specific headline that appeases them while not distancing from casual readers. We even advise on waiting to create your headline until the end so that you have a better feel of your content. Find even more tips here.
2. Be Precise
Answer the main question, “Why should I care?” This is the very first question every reader asks themselves when reading a press release, or any post. They need a reason to want to share your content with their audience.
As we stated earlier, the headline is the most important piece when creating your press release but the first paragraph is a close second. Cover all the information you feel is vital and express directly what you’re trying to say within this specific frame. Avoid any fluff material that will only leave your reader guessing; stick to the facts. Keep your press release at around a page — two at the most.
Make it easy to read by utilizing white space and avoiding long paragraphs. Break up information into lists, as we just have!
As we say this, pay very close attention to your grammar, spacing, and style. Small errors could completely break your press release and leave it in the abyss. The last thing that editors want is more work, and if you don’t meet specific press release standards, then consider it down the drain from the get-go.
3. Utilize A Great Quote
A quote gives your press release the human touch. What we mean by this is that it doesn’t feel robotic, it doesn’t feel written as just another post, but rather it’s a press release that resonates and affects real people.
Choose someone either whom the press release directly affects or from an important executive in your company. Now, the quote has a personal touch that carries its weight with readers.
4. Let Them Know Who You Are
Explain who your company is, and include a link to your homepage. Give every detail: include the title of the people you cite, include contact information of your company, use statistics to quantify your company and provide appropriate links to legitimize your statistics.
Don’t leave them guessing as to who you are and what you do. Make it as easy as possible for them and don’t leave it up to chance.
5. Use Visual Content
Growing up, we all heard the statistic that humans are mainly visual learners and we digest visuals much easier. We also warn that you don’t just throw in visuals for the sake of throwing in visuals. Your press release is telling a story and you want your visuals to play a part in telling the story, with perhaps telling a story of their own within the story.
Be sure to include visuals such as: infographics, photos of your product, video demonstration, etc. Take this blog post as an example. We can and will add visuals that include a press release example, press release template, and other proper press release formats.
( Proper press release format)
If this sounds intimidating, do not fear, you’re not alone. We were in your shoes before and felt overwhelmed at the thought of creating our own graphics. Fortunately, there are sites online like Canva that make it super easy and convenient to get the visuals you want. Don’t worry, there are many free visuals to choose from as well.
6.Make The Final Paragraph Count
By this time, you have most likely provided all the information that you deem essential. This isn’t the time to slack off and start adding in fluff or redundant information. In fact, it’s time for the exact opposite. It’s time to go in for the grand finale. Use the last paragraph to add significance to your cause. Show how your news is significant to the future of your company or the industry as a whole.
Now, where we see many press releases falter is their lack of a Call-To-Action or lack in clarity. Be clear on what you want your readers to do after they’ve read your press release. Use one very specific CTA that tells them what to do. For example, for the release of a new product, you can use “Request a Demo” or “Sign up now to receive updates before product launch”.
reate urgency by prompting your readers to take action. Write a compelling CTA that makes it imperative for them to do so.
7. Use Online Distributions Services
You may write the best written press release that mankind will ever set their eyes upon, but none of those eyes will know it’s the best if it’s not distributed to them to see it. Here are only a few distribution services you can utilize to help you get it to the right people. Although, we urge you to keep in mind what amount you’re willing to spend for these distribution services.
Many press release distribution services offer a range of options that have various different prices, so it’s up to you to decide what type of reach, how far of a reach, and at what cost you’re willing to spend to extend for that reach. Do your due diligence by researching which media outlets would be the most beneficial to you.
We wouldn’t be The Ad Firm if we didn’t include a mention of optimizing your press release for search engines. Choose a specific long-tail keyword that directs extra traffic to your press release. The chances of journalists and bloggers running into your press release are that much higher and who doesn’t love better odds. Just like that; you’ve built an increased reach, an improved SEO, and your public perception has been shaped the way that you want it without any negative publicity.