Online PR is one of the most effective marketing strategies for several businesses and press releases are an integral part of it. No other form of content can be as effective as a press release to gain some media coverage and attract potential consumers. In fact, it is a favourite tool for digital marketing companies to generate backlinks from quality websites.
Press releases are usually used to announce higher level management changes, product launches and other newsworthy achievements of a company. They are published in print as well as electronic media. But, electronic media is flooded with fresh content every day, making it harder to get the attention of the target audience.
It is, therefore, necessary to write a press release that stands out from the crowd. This guide illustrates how to produce a top-of-the-line press release with an example.
What Is a Press Release?
As said before, press releases are used to issue an announcement to the media and the general public. Usually, press releases are used to publish newsworthy information in a standard format. So, before writing a press release, make sure your story is newsworthy.
A press release should contain the essential information such as who, what, where, when, why, and how. However, avoid giving extensive details of the story because press releases are only meant to outline the major facts of your story. A press release also consists of quotes from company officials, sources, and standard contact information of the company such as email, phone, and physical address.
The purpose of a good press release is to pique the interest of potential consumers and target audience. A great press release is meant to do more than just get media coverage. As a matter of fact, companies often use it as a valuable content marketing tool.
Here is a sample press release. Take XYZ Digital Marketing Inc., a fictitious digital marketing company which has completed 10 years of service. To announce its 10th anniversary celebrations the company publishes a press release such as the one given below.
Ruth Madison For immediate release 19/10/16
XYZ Digital Marketing Inc.
1234, Lake Drive
Chicago, Illinois – 12345
Phone – (123)123-4567
XYZ Digital Marketing Inc. Celebrates Their 10th Anniversary
Digital Marketing Company Completes 10 Years of Service in SEO, Social Media, and Digital Marketing
CHICAGO, IL: A milestone is fast approaching for XYZ Digital Marketing Inc. as they celebrate their 10th anniversary on 25th October, 2016. XYZ Digital Marketing Inc. is celebrating a decade of providing innovative digital marketing solutions to clients nationwide. The celebration will go on from 5 P.M. to 10 P.M. at the Plaza Hotel.
“We would like to thank our partners, colleagues, and customers for the successes that XYZ Digital Marketing Inc. has achieved in the last 10 years,” said Ruth Madison, Chief Executive Officer, XYZ Digital Marketing Inc. “This milestone is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our employees to make XYZ one of the best companies in the digital marketing industry. We have come a long way since the company started its operations in 1996 and are looking forward to a bright future,” said Madison.
Over the last decade, XYZ Digital Marketing Inc. has built a reliable name in the digital marketing industry. The company has provided an array of digital marketing services to more than 200 clients across industries such as education, entertainment, marketing, and finance. They have also expanded their service offerings beyond the traditional digital marketing niches. The combination of personalized customer service and the thirst to utilize the latest technology has contributed to the company’s success.
About XYZ Digital Marketing Inc.: XYZ Digital Marketing Inc. is a digital marketing company based in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1996, they have worked with more than 200 clients in SEO, Social Media, and Digital Marketing. They were ranked 1st in the top ten digital marketing firms in Chicago in 2015 by the Digital Guru Magazine.
XYZ Digital Marketing Inc.
1234, Lake Drive
Chicago, Illinois – 12345
Phone – (123)123-4567
1. Use a Killer Headline to Grab Attention
The headline of a press release is probably the most important part to get right. Usually, people get hundreds of press releases by email every day. So, only a killer headline with an intriguing opening line can catch the attention of your target audience. However, the body of your press release should be as engaging as the headline.
Readers, as well as search engines, are not fond of lengthy headlines. So, keep the title short, preferably less than 100 characters. Besides, it is easier to promote short headlines on social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Avoid using passive voice as it weakens your message. The headline should be emotionally appealing as well. You can also use online title generator tools to get ideas for press release headlines.
2. Be Concise and To-The-Point
You may be tempted to spell out an articulate and colourful narrative to get the attention of your readers. Well, don’t, because colourful narratives often translate into bad press releases. Instead, pack your press release with hardcore facts. You can write three to four paragraphs and one quote in a press release. Press releases are brief documents, generally one page long i.e. around 400 words. 500 words tops.
3. Use Plain English with a Professional Tone
Avoid technical or industry jargon. Instead, use simple language that your target audience can understand. Avoid using lengthy sentences and most importantly, write in the third person. Don’t use “I” or “We” except in a quote. Keep it short and simple. Proofread the document to make sure there are no grammar or spelling errors. The last thing you want is to write a press release with silly mistakes, such as writing ‘conversation’ instead of ‘conservation’. Avoid using repetitive words and sentences.
4. Add a Creative Angle
Come up with a creative angle that suits your target audience. A press release is not a sales pitch, so avoid using loads of adjectives and keep your opinions out of it. Write your pitch from the perspective of your target audience. However, make sure to present the facts as objectively as possible. The tone of your press release will also change depending on the type of news. There are six broad categories of press releases. However, the basic structure of a press release typically remains the same.
5. Provide Good and Reliable Quotes
Quotes can help you establish a personal connection with your target audience. It is also a great way to express the opinions of your higher level management. Quotes are perhaps the only way to make your press release less objective. Plus, engaging quotes can add credibility to it.
Using controversial language is probably a good idea. However, avoid exaggerating facts in a quote. Don’t use words like ‘delighted’, ‘thrilled’, ‘pleased’, and ‘proud’, which don’t have any business value. Pay close attention to grammar when writing a quote. Mention the full name of the speaker, their title, and company name for the first reference. For further references, using only their last name is sufficient.
6. Make It SEO-Friendly
Search engine optimized press releases are invaluable online marketing tools. Use only the most relevant keywords for your story. In fact, it is advisable to use your keywords in the first two paragraphs of the press release body. However, make sure the text is readable. Using anchor text is a great idea, however, if Google finds it too obvious, they may penalize you. Anchor text can be used as much as possible, but don’t use words such as ‘Click here’ or ‘Read more’. Try to make your anchor text as natural as possible.
7. Timing Is Key
The optimal timing for sending out press releases to the media is a matter of debate. Everybody, however, agrees to avoid weekends, Mondays, and Fridays for submitting a press release. Usually, Tuesday is the day when most publishers receive the maximum number of press releases. In fact, 53% of press releases are published in the middle of the week, i.e. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
You can send a press release either for immediate release or under embargo. Under embargo means asking the publisher not to publish the document before a particular date. Generally, companies don’t send press releases under embargo. Time considerations may also change depending on the type of media you are targeting. For example, a print media publisher cannot cover a last-minute story, but electronic media can.
8. Include Your Contact Information
Relevant contact information of the company is often given at the bottom. However, it can also be given at the top of the page. It should include the name of a contact person, company name, phone/fax, email, website, and physical/postal address. The contact information at the bottom usually indicates the end of the press release.
A press release is the quickest way to get publicity for your company. In fact, a well-written press release can be used to generate good-quality backlinks. However, most press releases fail to accomplish these goals. It is, therefore, important to write a press release that connects with your target audience. But, writing a great press release is easier said than done. Hopefully, this guide will help you create a great press release that makes your company look professional and promising.