Much has changed in the business world in recent years, including the way press releases are written.
The whole point of a press release is to attract attention by sharing highly important, newsworthy information about your company that will attract the attention of the public and increase the success of your business. However, attracting the attention of the general public has gotten a bit challenging in recent years. And in fact, it only promises to get more challenging moving forward.
Social media has completely changed the way that people view news. The public has become accustomed to scrolling through newsfeeds, only stopping on content that immediately captures their eye. With that said, it’s no wonder why writing press releases has gotten to be such a huge challenge these days.
copyright: Andrey-Popov @ fotolia.com Contrary to what a lot of people in PR may think, the press release isn’t dead. In fact, you might even say that it is a more important marketing tool now more than ever before; it just has to be modified in order to meet the ever-changing needs of the public.
How can you make sure that your press releases remain relevant in a world of technology that has changed the way that people collect information? It’s not hard! Actually, it’s as easy as ABC; well, maybe not that easy, but as easy as A through Z, anyway…
A. Audience. What are the preferences of your audience? How do they consume content? How do they interact with it? You want to make sure that you gain an understanding of your audience and gear your content toward them.
B. Boilerplate. Your boilerplate should contain all pertinent information about your establishment; however, you don’t want it to be long, drawn out and full of technical jargon. Make it short, sweet and to the point. Also, don’t forget to include your website!
C. Call to Action. What should your audience do after they read your press release? A call to action lets them know. Make sure you include a clear and easy to understand call to action somewhere within your press release; preferably near the end.
D. Distribution helps you get discovered, so make sure you think outside of the box and go beyond your borders.
E. Earned media. Earned media is as important today as it has ever been. In fact, it can significantly help to increase the familiarity of your audience. As such, you want to make sure that you take advantage of it.
F. Don’t forget to format the text of your press release so that it is appealing and easy to skim through. Split up blocks of text. Include bulleted and numbered lists, change up the font.
G. Google ranking. Say goodbye to black hat SEO and hello to the ranking algorithms of Google, which now prefer content that is friendly to humans. What’s that mean? Keyword stuffing and backlink building are big no-nos. Make sure your content is high-quality and useful to your readers.
H. The headline is the first thing that people see. Make sure it’s brief, informative and engaging so that it makes readers want to click.
I. Make sure you make an effort to build relationships with key influencers in your niche. The general public is getting bored of traditional ads and instead, they are relying more on the influence of their peers.
J. Consider what type of journalists you want to target by thinking about what type of outlet they represent, they type of formats they make use of, as well as the demographics and niches that they cover.
K. While keyword stuffing is no longer acceptable, keywords are still very relevant. Take the time to think about how you can incorporate your keywords in a way that is natural, informative and useful.
L. Lead generation. Either link to or embed leads in your press release so that you can generate leads from your marketing program. Doing so will help you create more revenue streams.
M. Multichannel. Make sure you understand the different types of channels and which channels your targeted audience is using so that you can reach them.
N. This has always been a staple of press releases: they have to be newsworthy. otherwise they don’t really serve a purpose.
O. While media coverage may be your goal, don’t overlook the importance of the online presence of your press release. You’ll be amazed by how much attention you’ll draw online!
P. Always, always, always make sure you proofread your content. Typos and grammatical errors will kill your reputation and authority.
Q. Quality content. Make sure your content is high-quality. It should tell a compelling story, have value, be engaging, and be relevant. If it is, search engines will reward you handsomely.
R. Look past being picked up by the media when you’re reporting. Take into account the engagement of your audience to make it really matter.
S. Social media. Take advantage of the power that social media has to offer for the visibility of your press releases.
T. Timing is everything in the news world. Make sure you deliver your press releases in a timely manner; between 9:30am and 4:00pm is ideal.
U. Avoid using more than 4 URL links. Any more is considered over-linking.
V. Add photos, videos, graphs and other images to your press releases to make them more compelling.
W. Word count. Find the sweet spot for your content. Too short is spammy; too long is boring. Take into considering the purpose of your press release and your audience when determining the word count that works for you.
X. X-factor. What is it that makes your press release stand out? What’s its X-factor? Make sure you can pinpoint it before you send it out.
Y. Year-round strategy. Create an editorial calendar to make sure your content is cohesive and consistent.
Z. Avoid becoming a press release “zombie”. Asses your reporting on a regular basis and make sure your goals are being met.