In today’s age of digital publications and magazines, people are consuming information at a much higher rate. Most of the information is already available on the internet and is just a click away.
According to Pew Research conducted between Oct 2019 and June 2020, almost 25% of US adults prefer to read the local news, 16% watch cable TV for news, 16% prefer local TV, 8% turn to radio. Almost 89% of Americans get at least some local news online.
Reading news online is just a matter of convenience. You can just check the latest news on your phone or iPad while on the lunch break, going home, or waiting for coffee in the cafe.
These digital changes are making business owners strategize their marketing efforts. There are some serious benefits of being a part of a growing digital news feed.
There are tons of marketing strategies to bring more traffic to your website or grow brand awareness. The press release offers to bridge a communication gap between business and target audiences.
A successful press release distribution has the ability to:
- Grow a brand awareness
- Generate new sales leads
- Get more traffic to your website
- Improve SERP ranking for targeted keywords
1. Find the news angle
Many business owners fail to resist the temptation of writing press releases for almost everything happening in the company. But doing it without any reason would make a press release look like a desperate effort to advertise your company.
It is called a news release for a reason. Ensure that you have a newsworthy topic to write a press release around it or else it would be just another ad that no one wants to read.
2. Write it for people
Before you even begin with the draft, take time to develop your client’s or reader’s persona. Brainstorm and think from their perspective. If you are writing about an in-house event, list down the things that are important for your readers. If you are announcing a new product or service, do mention the necessary detail. Don’t send half-baked press releases to the journalists.
3. Keep it concise
There are no hard rules about the total number of words a press release should contain but the longer the press release, the harder it is to read it. The good practice is to keep the news release to the point, concise, and without too much technical jargon unless it’s absolutely necessary.
A press release of 500-words seems reasonable, readable, and balanced. Most PR companies won’t suggest you go beyond two pages. So it is important to convey the story in the right way.
4. Write an interesting headline
The headline of your press release should be good enough to make journalists or readers click on it. Boring or sales-like headlines fail to attract the attention of the audience and mostly end up in the trash bin.
The headline should be good enough to give the reader an idea of what they are getting into. You shouldn’t try to stuff targeted keywords in the headline if it doesn’t make any sense to the reader.
Here are a few examples of press release headlines:
- ProNorth Medical Corporation Launches Newly Designed Website
- MY BOXI Announces Major Launch of Unique and First of its kind Boxful Themed NFTs
- Amazon FBA Expert Team, Just One Dime, Receives Service of the Year Award
5. The first paragraph is important
Writing a press release isn’t similar to writing a blog post. With a news release, you have only a few seconds to impress the reader. For many journalists, the first paragraph is enough to decide whether they want to keep on reading or not.
In the first paragraph, you must communicate your story. In the rest of the news release, you can go on and explain the story in a more interesting and readable way. You can also include images, videos, infographics, or any other media to support your facts or story.
6. Do your research – include necessary information
A well-written press release is essential, but backing up your claims with facts or figures is even more compelling. Do the prior research to support your message. By adding citations or referencing, you are adding a deeper meaning to your news release.
Doing research and giving the whole context of your story not only educates your audience better but also gives a sense of seriousness to your organization.
7. Don’t skip any necessary detail
A news release is supposed to act as a communication bridge between you and the customer. That’s why it is important to include all necessary information in your press release. You should include information like:
- What your business is all about?
- How your products or services can help the customers?
- What makes you different from the rest of the competition?
- Where, how, and when it will be feasible to approach you?
- You can add your contact information like email, phone, website, or office address.
8. Add authentic or thoughtful quotes
If you are writing a press release about a new product or service, it is better to include a quote from higher management or the CEO. Don’t just add some random quote. Include what’s related to the press release and add some kind of value to the copy of the news release.
9. Include images, videos, or infographics
We, humans, are visual creatures. Images or videos are better sources of information when it comes to making people interested in your business.
If possible, add a high-resolution image with publishing right to your press release. If you are announcing a new product or service, adding a teaser video or product photo would be great. You can also include your image or business logo. This will increase brand engagement and connection with customers.
10. Know your target audience
Writing a press release starts with the news. Before you start to make the draft into the final concept, make sure you know the target audience. Once you have the clear goal of the press release distribution and what type of audience you will be writing for, you can actually get better results with strategic writing and distribution.
It is absolutely imperative to understand how the news will impact your audience. Writing a news release for an audience who doesn’t care about the news or story is a complete waste of time and energy.
11. Share the core vision and company profile
The press release is a perfect opportunity for a business to reach out and connect with a larger audience. Other than the news or story, you can also include the company profile and the core vision of your business.
It should explain the vital facts of the company such as when it started, what the vision behind it was, what are the main products or services, and what kind of customers can get benefit from them.
12. Create unique boilerplate
Once you are done with the main body of the press release, the next step is to write your company’s about us section. It should include a very brief overview of your mission statement, core values, or highlights such as an award or achievements. You can also mention the website in the boilerplate if that doesn’t sound repetitive.
13. SEO optimize a news release
A professional press release writer knows how to use targeted keywords to make the news release searchable. Since consumers look for products or services online, optimizing your news release for SEO is way more important than ever.
It would help you to get in front of the people actively searching for related products. The press release can even get featured in Google or Bing news. An SEO-optimized news release is much better than a news release that can’t be found anywhere.
14. Fix grammatical and spelling errors
This may seem too obvious. Once the draft is approved by customers, it should be written and check for any grammatical or spelling mistakes by the editor. It is extremely important that your press release is free of any grammatical or spelling errors, has correct data, facts, figures, or citations included.
Professional PR agencies often keep the roles of press release writer and editor separate. It may take another day to edit the whole press release and make it perfect but it is worth it.
15. Get feedback
Now that you have written the press release, it is time to get feedback. You can ask a co-worker or friend to read your news release and give you feedback. This will give you an idea if your audience feels connected with your story, or it needs revisions.
16. Craft an elevator pitch
Writing for journalists isn’t a joke. They are people who abide by the journalistic writing style rules without any flexibility. They don’t tolerate any mistake in grammar or tone of the news release; they only see white or black; without any shade of gray.
A good elevator pitch must introduce you, your product, or your company. The purpose is to explain the content of the news release quickly and to spark interest in whoever is reading the pitch.
17. Use quality syndication channels
A comprehensive and verified media contact database is the heart of any successful press release distribution campaign. You can craft the perfect newsworthy press release but if it is not syndicated to related media outlets, you won’t be getting too much out of your PR distribution campaign.
Building such a media contact list isn’t easy and it might take weeks if not months for you to compile the list. The better and faster route is to purchase the list from a reputed PR agency.
18. Work with a trusted PR agency
Writing and distributed press release is a specialized field and requires knowledge of journalistic writing, formatting, style, and SEO.
Unless you know what you are doing, it is advisable to hire a professional press release service provider with a history of sending press releases related to your niche or industry. You can choose the PR agency based on their PR distribution pricing and packages.
19. Gain social traction
It is easy to find a PR agency that also includes social media endorsement in its PR strategy. This would give an extra edge over the competition. You can further boost these social media channels to increase brand awareness, gain more social signals, and grow customer engagement.
20. Repurpose the content
Unless you have a separate news-related page on your business website, avoid reposting the actual news release on your website. Instead, write down a unique paragraph, then mention the link to the news release.
This would help increase your brand’s authenticity with your site visitors because they could see what other publications have to say about you.
By now you should know how to write an effective press release and pitch to journalists for distribution. If you need more guidance, we have a resource section just for you.