September 30, 2014

10 Tips for a Killer Press Release

Are you using press releases as part of your marketing and PR strategy?

Press releases are great for online visibility. When you distribute one using a press release distribution service, it sends your release to dozens of news and niche websites.  Think about all the places where your release will live online.

10 Tips

Here are my top 10 tips for getting the most out of your press releases:

1. Start with a gripping headline. Headlines are what draw readers in. If yours isn’t engaging and exciting, it’ll get skipped over. But on the other hand, if it’s something that stops you in your tracks, like “Fancy Underwear: Coming to a Mailbox Near You” (a headline I just made up for a pretend online lingerie store), you’ll get the clicks.

2. Use keywords. You want your press release to be found when people search for certain keywords that relate to what you do. Use tools like Wordtracker’s Keywords to find out what keywords in your industry people are searching for. Try to incorporate words that don’t have too high a competition level but are still getting a fair number of searches. Use them in your press release (but make sure you use them in a natural and not forced way).

3. Include the basics. Thinking back to second grade grammar, remember who, what, when, where, why and how. These are the questions you need to answer in the first paragraph of your release. Assume people read nothing more than that first paragraph. It should provide all the basic details they need to know about your news.

4. Use a quote. People like quotes. I don’t know why. But having a polished quote that doesn’t say “I’m so excited about blah blah news” can enhance your release. Include a quote from the head of the company or someone involved in the news. Try to provide something useful (other than their reaction to the news). We know they think it’s great. Tell us something else.

5. Use a template. People think writing press releases is a lot harder than it is. Bill Stoller, The Publicity Guy, has some great info on what should go into a release. In looking at his or other templates, remember that you’ll be inputting it into a distribution system like PRWeb, so it won’t look like that. You can see how press releases look on PRWeb in this screen shot:

PRWeb

6. Include contact info. Seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many releases there are without Web links, emails, phone numbers or social media links. Include all of them.

7. When emailing releases, focus on Tuesday through Thursday. Never email a press release on Monday or Friday. The reasoning is: On Friday people cut out early, so they’re in no mood to read your release. On Monday, they’re recovering from their weekend and are in no mood to read your release. Aim for midweek, between 10:00 and 2:00, for the best chances of getting read.

8. Never, ever email attachments. Attaching your release when emailing a journalist is tantamount to PR suicide. Nobody likes getting attachments from people they don’t know. I’m not even a fan of sending the whole press release. Instead, I give the outline of what it’s about and link to it. If they want to read the attachment, they can click.

9. Check your stats. It’s easy to go into Google Analytics or any other analytics program and see what sites people are clicking from. You should be able to easily identify those sites that hosted your release. See how much traffic your releases are sending you and determine whether it’s worthwhile to build into your long-term strategy.

10. Keep the momentum. I recommend distributing one release a month. One release won’t drive tons of traffic and sales to your site, but over time, it will help you get more visibility online and get more traffic.

5 Comments ▼

Susan Payton - Awards Communication Mgr.


Susan Payton Susan Payton is the Communications Manager for the Small Business Trends Awards programs. She is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in content marketing, social media management and press releases. She is also the Founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners who want to generate their own PR.

5 Reactions

  1. Great info Susan. PRWEB IS great and I love the fact that they provide helpful guides on how to write a solid press release.

  2. PRWeb also has some pretty good analytics to augment your on-site analytics.

  3. Susan,

    Great tips. Have you found a site with a list of news organizations and journalists?

    I have now created a TeaParty.nu newsroom on MyPRGenie thanks to the tip by Anita Campbell during the Verizon Small Business webinar on July 13.

    You are welcome to check out my press release and blog note, and of course become a fan (“follow us”), if you want! :)

  4. Great reminders, thanks Susan. I disagree with the tip on sending out the release between 10am and 2pm though. I have researched this quite a bit and the majority of PR Pros I spoke with agreed that it is best to send the release at 1 or 2am so that it appears first thing in the journalists/media in-box rather than buried mid-morning to late afternoon where they may not be likely to see it until later in the today which may render it too late to pick up. Do you agree or disagree with this?

    Also, are we talking about doing a press release for SEO purposes or to get the attention of a journalist for an actual news story or both? As an added tip for SEO purposes, it’s best to make sure that you include anchor links and that the link text is a keyword or long tailed keyword that is pertinent to your vertical.

  5. All the 10 points are great tips one can follow, especially the last one, where you should learn to keep patience and not overdo things. Thanks a lot for this guide, it surely helps you getting the most out of a press release.

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