How to Nail Your Next Press Release

Picture it now. You walk into a crowded room – hundreds of people are shouting about their ‘fantastic company news’ all at once.

A sea of chaos – nobody can be heard or understood by the one person on stage – the object of all this commotion.

How do you stand out? You need to grab attention in a unique way.

Approach your press release writing and submission with this in mind.

Press release must stand out in crowd

First things first; who are you writing for?

  1. Research and identify your target audience, i.e. the people searching for your business, products or services
  2. Search for industry websites, national and local news websites and other places that would potentially host your press release
  3. Investigate the search engines that will find and display your content and research how they operate in terms of keyword optimisation; monitor competitors for guidance

What do you write about?

Be inventive, be relevant. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • New product or feature
  • A ‘though piece’ relating to current trends, events, studies or social issues
  • Events and awards
  • Employee promotions/new hires
  • Launching a new partnership
  • Survey results

Bruce Lee quote - to hell with circumstances, I create opportunities

Format

All the important stuff comes first. Remember that information should be succinct and attention grabbing. You have just seconds to engage.

1.       Headline

  • Provide interesting information and entice the reader to find out more
  • Include your primary target keyword
  • Demand attention – shock, be controversial, play with words

2.       Summary paragraph

  • Serves as a brief introduction to your business and topic
  • Include your company name
  • 1 or 2 lines maximum

Tip: By writing the headline and summary last you will make sure you capture the overall theme and don’t miss out important keywords.

3.       Dateline and lead paragraph

  • Who (main focus, person, group), what (event or project), where (location in question), when (day, date, time), why (the purpose of the event)
  • Keep it compelling, simple and factual. Provide critical information. Get your audience interested.

4.       Body

  • Elaborate on lead paragraph and explain how this event sets you aside
  • Include supporting information and proof in the form of quotes, stats, charts etc
  • Include relevant links

5.        Boilerplate & Contact

Always include a brief paragraph on standard company information, i.e. what your company does, its purpose and USP. Be sure to include company name, telephone number, website and email address.

what's your story

Unlike a press release, we save the best ‘til last

Follow these tips to ensure your release stands out:

Do…

  • Ensure that your headline and first paragraph stand out. Be relevant, engaging and informative. Evoke questions and offer a unique perspective.
  • Write professionally and clearly. Plain English means you won’t alienate readers.
  • Pick an angle – what is your ‘hook’? Articles that relate to current trends, events, studies or social issues will be snapped up by online media.
  • Use real life examples to illustrate how your company or organization solved a problem – position yourself subtly as a solutions provider.
  • Attach logos, head shots, product shots, photographs, audio files, video files, PDF documents or any other supplemental materials to support your release – as long as they are relevant.
  • Use anchor text and hyperlinks to point readers back to your site where relevant.
  • Be factual. Avoid fluff, embellishments, hype and exaggerations. Command respect and authority through honesty and back it up.
  • Use active voice to bring your press release to life. Don’t be afraid to use strong verbs.
  • Eliminate unnecessary adjectives

Don’t…

  • Use slang/jargon unless it is relevant to a niche audience that will understand and relate to it.
  • Use exclamation marks excessively – nobody wants to be shouted at excitedly (remember the crowded room).
  • Use clichés or overly ‘salesy’ text. Readers will see through this and your content will not gain their respect.
  • Give away all the secrets – give readers a reason to click through to your site
  • Use “you”, “I” or “we” outside of a quoted statement
  • Include an email address or excessive links in body text. Be conscious of spam filters and the risk of being penalized by Google.

And lastly, always remember to proofread your work before you submit it for publication.

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