your passport to all things web
The Press Release: Make it Pop!
A press release (PR) can be an effective SEO and marketing tool. However, many struggle with how and why to write one. Here are tips from our pro, Stephen, to make your press release stand out.
Open the Press Release with a strong headline.
Most people will not read a PR unless the headline catches their attention. In October last fall, a magazine cover boasted, “Rachael Ray finds inspiration in cooking her family and her dog” that story went viral. It turns out that it was a photo shopped hoax, but it illustrates two points. First, a great or shocking title (maybe not cannibalistic shocking) will attract attention and secondly, be sure to proofread the PR before sending it in for publication.
How to make it Pop!
Stick to the news story and don’t add a lot of fluff and fillers. Sugary words are not necessary in a PR. A great PR is more “See spot run,” than William Shakespeare. So being a great writer is not necessary. Skip buzz words that attempt to make the story sound more newsworthy than it is, such as legendary, revolutionary, or cutting-edge those clichés are too salesy and say nothing!
Write a Press Release as if you are a reporter, not a salesman. People are bombarded with ads all day long. Start with an attention getting headline, just like the ones you see in the newspapers. Then cover the five W and the H, who, what when, where, why, and how.
Use short sentences and only three or four sentences to catch and keep the reader’s attention. Use common terms everyone will understand. Be careful not to use too much industrial jargon and when it is necessary, explain it simply.
Using quotes and statistics help tell the story and make it believable.
According to Ken McGaffin in his recent article Is There Really a Battle between SEO and PR? “PR is the practice of encouraging news and business media to carry positive stories about your company, website, or products – and where possible carry a link to your site.” In this case, he is referring to Public Relations when using PR. But, the two are mutually inclusive. Using a Press Release to create Public Relations for your website and ultimately your product is brilliant and free. Utilize a link to point to the article, so the user can read the entire article.
That in turn helps with SEO by providing an external link.
That’s another good point, use compelling quotes by subject matter experts to strengthen your viewpoint. Also, use statistics and percentage figures that support the story. In the article he states that, “71% of respondents had used PR in SEO or link building over the last 12 months.” And when asked, “Do you intend to expand your use of PR in 2015?” More than half of those using PR already said yes, and 79% that didn’t said they would expand their use.
Not only does the proper use of quotes and statistics add credence to the story, but almost two complete paragraphs or nearly 200 words out of a 300-500 word press release are already written for you.
Close with an effective summary.
It’s like the speechwriter and philosopher Aristotle reportedly said, “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.” This is the last chance to drive home the importance of the story, so wrap it up with a bow. Once again, a good press release doesn’t require Shakespeare or Aristotle’s talent to be effective. The ability to write a good PR is developed by utilizing the five Ws and an H.
Always close with a point of contact.
“For more information, contact:” The Press Release Format used to be to give the standard name line, position, FAX, and telephone number, but put your website URL in at least twice, at the top and again at the bottom.
Following these tips should help you to create a press release that will impress current and potential clients alike.