Nice reference piece from Vocus and PRWeb “Writing Great Online News Releases.”
If news releases aren’t part of your online and traditional marketing efforts they should be. Today, more and more people and publishers are looking for content. However, it must be information of value.
Over the last four years, I have been able to generate 34 media “hits” for one company worth more than $350,000 in media value and more than 500 “hits” for another company worth more than $25 million in media value.
Today you are writing for two audiences: 1) the people searching for your business, your products and your services; 2) the search engines that find your content and bring it to those people.
Here are 15 things you should do to write a professional, concise and powerful news release:
- Start strong. You only have a matter of seconds to grab the readers’ attention so start with a strong opening. Your headline, summary and paragraph should highlight the information of value. The remainder of the release should provide the detail.
- Identify yourself. Put your contact information up front. If your release does not identify the source of the information, you will lose the promotional value your release can provide.
- Write professionally. A news release should provide information of value. Do not include hype, slang, exclamation points or anything that will make it seem like an advertisement.
- Limit jargon. The best way to communicate is to write simply using ordinary language that a fifth grader can understand.
- Ensure information is informational and timely. Will someone else find your story interesting? Why should anyone care? Make sure your announcement contains information that is timely, unique, highlights something new or unusual, and provides information of value to your audience. Do not make it an advertisement for your business.
- Avoid clichés. Focus on the aspects of your announcement that differentiate you.
- Pick an angle. Make sure your release has a good hook. Tying your information to current events, recent studies, trends and social issues brings relevance, urgency and importance to your message.
- Use anchor text and features. Link to images and video that will capture the attention of readers and highlight your news. Attach logos, head shots, product shots, audio files, video files, PDF documents and other supplemental materials that will build up your release.
- Illustrate the solution. Use real life examples to illustrate how your company, product or service solved a problem. Identify the problem and why your solution is the right solution. Give examples.
- Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. Online news and press release distribution is a successful way to establish yourself, or your company, as a “thought leader.” If your company has reached a milestone, celebrated an anniversary, hired a new president, experienced significant growth or received an award, tell the world what you’ve achieved. Or, write a release that offers readers “tips” of help in your field of expertise.
- Don’t give away all the secrets. If you’re running a new promotion, tell readers where they can go to learn more. Provide links in your press release directly to the page on your website where readers can learn specifics about your news and then act on it. If you don’t give your readers a reason to click-through to your website, they won’t.
- Stick to the facts. Tell the truth. Avoid fluff, embellishments, hype and exaggerations. If you think your press release seems sensational, your readers will think so too.
- Use active voice. Verbs in the active voice bring press releases to life. Don’t be afraid to use strong verbs.
- Economize your words. Be concise. News search engines will reject news releases with overly long headlines, excessive lists and high overall word counts. Eliminate unnecessary adjectives, flowery language or redundant expressions.
- Proofread. Write your press release in a word or text document instead of writing it directly on the online submit page, so you can print it, proofread, rewrite and proofread again. The more time you take to do it right, the better your company’s impression to the world.
How have you used news and press releases to build awareness, traffic and leads?