Using Content to Drive Traffic

[Beginner – 105] How to Write a Press Release that People Will Actually Read

While not new to the marketing landscape, press releases are still one of the best ways to convey information about your product or service, to generate awareness, or to support your sales team.

PR writing is still a highly coveted skill that marketers must deal with all the time. With the right strategic toolkit, you should be able to create clear, concise press releases for distribution – and find an audience that is eager to discover what you have to offer.

1. Prepare your press release:

  • Determine your audience. Are you targeting a certain demographic? Is your release intended for a specific segment of your industry? Should your language be suited for the general public, or are you hoping to speak to business insiders? The more clearly you define your audience, the better chance you’ll have to craft a release that truly connects.
  • Organize your main messages. The most effective press releases communicate the information clearly and succinctly. You’ll want to answer the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How as soon as possible, making clear why your event or update is newsworthy. Make the “hook” evident to ease sharing.
  • Set your objectives and measurable goals. These can range from “Increase ticket sales for X event” to “Introduce readers to new web initiative.” The concise nature of press releases means you should be upfront about your main objective, but you should also build a room for some measure of conversion. The best press releases not only offer information about the new product but convince readers to click through to your website, blog, or social profile, and eventually become loyal customers.

2. Write less, not more

There are several different types of the press release so before you start writing first figure out which type does the best job of framing your announcement to the audience you are targeting. The Web Press Release, the Event Press Release, and the Small Business Press Release are described in further detail in this article: 3 Press Release Template Formats to Teach you How to Write the Best Press Release.  Whichever type you choose, the release should never be longer than one page. The point of a press release is to entice the reader and leave them wanting more. So be concise and to the point. Is the release is too wordy, people will glaze over and could miss the key elements of the announcements.

3. Your title is your best (only) shot

Yes, your press release may not be where you let your creativity fly, but if you’ve been looking for a way to show your personality, the title is where it’s at. The best press release headlines are explicit and informative while still maintaining a sense of cleverness. They shouldn’t undercut the material, but since the subject line is often the only part of the release a reporter will see, do your best to craft compelling and timely headlines. In addition, make sure the most important part of your headline is clearly visible in email or when sharing. Try to get your message across in as few words as possible. Don’t let all that work go to waste!

4. Distribute Like Crazy

Press release distribution has two primary steps:

  • Personally, send your press release to as many relevant journalists as possible. Hopefully, you’ve already been sending them interesting articles and trying to help them in other ways so this isn’t just a cold email, but even if it is, what you have to announce is interesting, and they should be happy to find this message in their inbox.
  • Once several journalists have published stories about your announcement, don’t let the story stop with just the reach of that particular publisher. Send these articles to your clients, your newsletter list, your twitter and facebook followers. If it’s a really great article you should even consider paying to drive traffic to it with a service like Outbrain Amplify. On their own, most news stories have a shelf-life of a few hours. It’s your job to keep that momentum going by driving new eyeballs to this content for weeks or months after the story breaks.

In addition, make sure your press release is hosted on your website or blog, and you have included the proper keywords in the title tag as well as written a great meta description. Your meta description what will show up in the Google search results describing your content. So if you expect people to click, it better be exciting.

Now that you know how to write a press release, getting press coverage should be much easier, and that’s when the fun starts!

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