Press releases can help your company get breaking news out to the world and kick up your search engine optimization strategy. Large companies most commonly use press releases to note every change in business. Small companies can use them to improve online visibility and support growth efforts.
You may want to consider refreshing your press release process to gain better market exposure for:
- A product launch,
- An executive move,
- Company relocation or a new location opening, or
- Mergers and acquisitions.
Here are 10 tips you need to keep your writing fresh and engaging:
- Keep it as short as possible – Online press releases almost always include links back to a company website. Try to focus on giving your audience key information in as few words as possible. People who come across press releases want to know the facts and where they can find more information. Give them a pitch, not a documentary.
Press releases typically run from 300 to 500 words based on the concept. If you do not have enough relevant information to create a 500-word release, opt for a shorter version. Do not use irrelevant company information to bulk up the document. No one cares if your press release is short or long, as long as it covers the main points.
- Press releases are notoriously boring – Remember that while you’re writing. Although you must conform to certain standards, try to find a unique perspective for your subject matter. Frame every piece of information to show value to the reader. Do not exaggerate, but look for reasons why a reader would want to continue to engage with the topic and the brand. Why should he or she care that your company just opened its third location? How do you expect a new product to bridge a gap in the marketplace?
- Use a pointed headline – A press release headline should not read the same as a product headline on Amazon. Include the company name and the reason for the press release. Use action-focused words, and keep the title simple. Some release writers try to come up with flowery headlines, but this does not always work out. Look for a headline that will make a journalist want to read more into the story. Don’t overstate the reason for the release, but create a compelling headline to capture a reader’s attention.
- Use press releases as marketing assets, but do so carefully – Press releases provide an opportunity for an organization to “toot its own horn,” but some companies write up a release for everything they accomplish. Write a press release only if you truly have something new or unusual to present and someone outside of your organization will find the information helpful.
- The first line in your release is the most important – Press releases should include a short summary in between the headline and the body of the document. Limit your summary to one or two short sentences, and spend time crafting this section. Look at examples from journalism if you need help. If you had only two sentences to express the reason for the release, what would you say? This is your audience hook.
- Craft an exceptional lead and additional paragraphs – Your first paragraph should answer all the pertinent questions associated with the story. Tell your audience who, what, when, where, and why, then focus on providing background information to fill in missing information. Write with a journalistic mindset.
- Write objectively – Unlike some articles and editorials, press releases are not conversational. They are formal pieces of writing that hinge on objective language and facts, not subjective experiences. If you want to convey a sentiment, do so within the frame of a quote. State company facts such as sales figures and goals as information, but then use quotes to clarify information and to present a company’s hopes, expectations, and insight.
- Use simple language in an easy-to-read format – Leave the flowery language for your next marketing campaign. Press releases need to hold a reader’s interest, but they also need to get to the point quickly and easily. Use bullet points and short paragraphs to improve the flow and active voice to improve clarity.
- Develop a great boilerplate – The boilerplate is your chance to provide pertinent background information about the company. Include links to landing pages where appropriate, and focus on delivering a concise description of the organization. You do not need a full background story, but you do need to include company facts regarding size, industry, history, and product/service offerings. Review your boilerplate every time you send out a press release.
- Time it right – While there is no golden time for sending a press release, wait for normal work hours instead of a holiday or right before the weekend. If possible, send your press release directly to a personal contact at a press release agency or a news outlet. Include a personalized message, and submit your release in a timely fashion. Don’t wait until months after the fact, and don’t send a submission before management has approved the release.