Press Releases are Back! Here's How to Utilize Them Effectively.
Social media has changed how people communicate around the globe. It's led political revolutions and even created pop culture phenomena. As businesses scramble to figure out how to harness the power of social media to reach new audiences, a familiar marketing tool—the press release—has now gained fresh purpose. Press releases have become a vital tool and more important than ever in successfully promoting your company. Find out how you can leverage press releases and specific content to help investors, customers, potential employees and other target groups learn more about your brand.
Thousands of press releases are distributed daily, be it from small businesses or well-established organizations. In an age where journalists are inundated with a sea of verbiage in the form of press releases, it is important now more than ever to take the necessary steps to make your press release stand out.
Another reason you should learn what makes a press release stand out was revealed in a survey conducted by Muck Rack in 2018. This survey found that 49% of journalists worldwide say that they do not rely on press releases anymore, while 31% of them somewhat rely on press releases. It’s shocking to learn that only 3% of journalists said they rely heavily on this form of media.
9 Tips for Writing an Effective Press Release
Now, for the good news: there are indeed steps that make your press release successful and make it stand out from the swarm of press releases journalists read every day. Ask yourself the following questions before you start writing:
Who: Who does your news affect, and who should you tailor the writing style for?
What: What is new about your story? What is the essence of it? For example, if you’re writing about the real estate market, what has changed in the market recently?
Where: Where is the story situated? Where will the effect of your news be most prominent? Suppose your story is about a recent real estate market boom in the U.S. What areas are most likely to be affected by it?
When: When did your story take place? In our example, when did the real estate boom start, and how long will it potentially last?
Why: Why should journalists take an interest in your press release? Why are the changes in the real estate market important today?
These questions might seem simple and obvious at the surface, but they serve a vital purpose in planning a press release; if you start writing without a clear idea of what you want to say, it’s unlikely that journalists will pick it up.
- Write an Interesting Title
The title (also called the headline) of your press release is the first impression it makes. Therefore, you must write it in a way that grabs the attention of readers coming across it. Below are a handful of tips to help you come up with an interesting title for your press release:
- Be concise; the title should be no more than 70 characters long.
- If possible, mention an intriguing number or statistic relevant to your story.
- Phrase the headline in a way that will immediately grab attention; you can do this by focusing more on the impacts of the news instead of superficial information.
- Do not make the mistake of writing a clickbait title; the press release content should deliver on what the title promises.
- Keep Your Audience’s Attention
The leading paragraph of your press release is the most critical. Ideally, it should answer the main questions the headline raises. If your title caught the attention of your reader, your first paragraph should keep it. The rest of your content should conclude the story and deliver on the promise the headline made.
- Use Meaningful Quotes
Writing in the people’s voice; including quotes from the people directly involved and those most affected by this news story will make your press release more relatable and increase its chances of getting picked up by journalists.
- Add an Effective Call to Action
If you want your target audience to take action — whether it’s to purchase a product or visit your website — it’s imperative to add a CTA that isn’t "kitchey" and sounds organic. Write the CTA in a separate paragraph and include a hyperlink that takes the reader to the right page. You can highlight your CTA by attaching an image next to it. Keep in mind that this is the most important part of your press release since this is what you want your reader to do; so, make sure it catches the reader’s attention. It’s best to keep the CTA short, to the point, and under 10–20 words.
- Attach Multimedia
Attaching multimedia, as mentioned above, makes your content more prominent. The attached multimedia will likely catch your readers’ attention and is likely to make them read your content further. So, add creative images, videos, and infographics to fulfill this goal. The good news is that some press release distribution services allow you to include as many multimedia attachments as you want.
- Include Relevant Contact Details
Interested journalists and readers would want to get more information about your story. Although writing your company’s general email or contact information might do the trick, it is best to identify a point of contact and write their contact details instead. This makes it easier for readers to contact you and makes it easier for you to take action.
- Review, Edit, and Repeat
Never submit your first draft. Read through it multiple times to edit and perfect it before pressing send. Your press release is a reflection of you and your brand. Once you submit your press release, what becomes of it won’t be in your control, so make sure you’re vigilant about any errors.
- Use the Right Template
Although the general formatting of a press release is similar across different types of press releases, there is a specific template for each type. For example, there are templates for events, awards, product/company launches, research, and more! Don’t make the mistake of writing a music press release the same way as you would a book press release. Research “Press Release Template” and find the right fit for your brand voice and identity.
Conclusion and Additional Tips
I hope this article helps you in your journey to publishing a successful press release. Before signing off, I’d like to mention a few additional tips to help you:
- Don’t use sales language, jargon, or superlatives in your content; your writing style should be tailored for a general audience.
- Be concise and to the point.
- Include facts and figures to capture the reader’s attention; a good idea would be to use the statistics of your company as much as possible (sales, revenue, growth, etc.)
- Advertise on social media platforms with the help of press release distribution services or other marketing affiliates.
- Target your audience through advanced targeting methods.