7 tips to writing a press release that gets read (print this out)
Writing a press release can be difficult.
In fact, when I was in journalism school, it was the toughest class I took. The professor would knock 50% off your grade for making a ‘factual’ mistake. The tough grading standard made me aware of how important press release details were. Nothing worse than including the wrong date or wrong URL…
Done poorly, your company looks like a joke. Done properly, it can lead to inquiries, sales and quality backlinks from well respected publications.
Even worse, press releases can be time consuming if you don’t have a solid template to use. Lots of time spent staring at a blank screen.
Below I’ve included 6 Tips you can use when writing a press release so you don’t sit in front of your monitor like a zombie.
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1. Keep it short. Brevity draws readers.
Reporters and editors are all short on time. As such, they will NOT read an essay about how awesome your new product or service is. Be very concise and to the point with all of your quotes and any metrics you include in the release.
2. The release is not news or newsworthy. Creativity keeps readers.
Is it really news-worthy? Does the product or service benefit your target customer? If so, you need to focus on the pain this new product or service solves. Answer the basic questions of who, what, when, where, how, why and build upon that.
3. The release is too technical. Plain language helps readers remember your message.
Drop the crap superlatives like “leading” and “solution”, and any other words that say “amateur”. Reporters and editors move on when they see wording used like this. Use wording that doesn’t draw attention to itself or send reporters and editors clicking the next button. Rather, demonstrate you are familiar with the content matter and in touch with the market you are trying to reach.
Also, don’t mention how thrilled you are… no one cares.
XYZ is the leading provider of…. no one cares.
4. There are no quotes. Use quotes as testimonials from real customers or partners.
Worse than no quotes are quotes…. what? I’m talking about quotes that say nothing or simply praise whatever it is you are writing about. Use quotes that really prop up the legitimacy of your product or service. Get a real quote from an actual customer that says how effective the product or service helps them do their job better or how it is saving them money. Think of the quote as a “testimonial” from an outside third-party.
5. The release does not have a news-like headline. You want it to be read and possibly picked up.
In 2011, Groupon used a headline that was picked up and used… word for word.. by just about every major publication, offline and online.
Headlines should be used to draw attention, so make sure you spend time on crafting a good one.
6. Distribute your press release to the proper channels. Industry pubs are likely to pick up the PR.
It’s no secret that sites and networks closely aligned to your target market help propel you higher in to Google ranks. Quality backlinks is still being used by Google to rank your site.
Even Twitter links are being assessed in the new Google formula…
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I hope you found these 7 tips useful and something you can implement immediately to craft PR that leads to more inquiries, sales, and backlinks for your web hosting company.
The news or press release should be the cornerstone of any new product launches you do. A good press release can bring you a lot of new eyeballs as long as your release is creative, short, compelling, and leaves the reader yearning for more information.
“Wait a second! You said there were 7 tips! What gives?”, you say…
Keep reading and you’ll find tip #7. I apologize for all the drama, but I wanted to make a point.
PS – #7 is to leave the reader wanting more… use links to expand upon your brief press release.
You don’t need to answer every single question in the press release. Normally agencies allow three or four quality links back to your website. Use them smartly with good keywords and take the reader to the exact information you are promising them. Avoid taking them to sales pages… you want to answer their questions first.
PPS – A revised article on creating the perfect customer avatar is in the works… stay tuned.. this one is going to be awesome. Also, some of you have been asking for some more in-depth marketing articles.. those are on the way.