How do you write a killer press release
When I first entered the world of copywriting, I was introduced to Press Release.
Everyday, I make PR pieces for local businesses.
And I was making progress.
But in the mid 90s … newspapers were slowly becoming obsolete.
The internet has taken over.
Soon, reporters and Press people were turning to online media.
Some newspapers and magazines were closing down.
In spite of all of these, I still believe that Press Release has its own place.
Here’s why …
Contrary to popular belief, PRs, like any other opportunity in the digital age, aren’t all about Internet marketing.
In this age of social media, press releases have also become the perfect way of license marketing.
With this strategy you get to address your fans on a one-one level, and get an open-mind that can gain new value for future marketing opportunities.
Start there with a powerful newsworthy press release.
A press release, though, isn’t just a newspaper-style article.
For one, it is restricted to the web, not the printed page, and only contains a limited number of characters.
With the number of users who routinely access the Internet, press releases can become an effective way of delivering some very effective news and promotion.
Let’s talk about some of the benefits of using a press release to gain and keep a targeted audience:
1) Build long term online visibility.
Press releases are effective on several levels, first of all it enables website consumers to learn about new product releases, in addition to any new updates or changes that you have made to your company.
Like in any news piece that you publish online, press releases can be submitted to the major news outlets, enabling you to gain more online exposure.
2) Highly Targeted Traffic An effective press release can be tailored to target a specific audience.
This in other words means to write just what your target audience is looking for.
Price increases, new units, new customers, new prizes, new product positioning, and/or special promotions can all be covered quickly by publishing a press release.
Therefore, it is essential to do your research to find out what your target audience is looking for, and ensure that your newsie will fit in exactly with their needs.
A very effective piece of copy can be crafted that will drive visitors to your website, thus generating new traffic to your business website.
3) Informative Content Unlike other media headlines, press releases have to be well written in order for them to be effective.
That is because thousands upon thousands of other releases are floating about, and news editors are looking for something new, something that is going to be the tipping point of their day.
This means that you have got to have your press release headline be the most interesting headline that you can come up with.
If you have the expertise in place, you can educate your targeted audience on the most exciting product release of the day or the most important announcement, or even the best deal in town on internet marketing.
This creates an amazing opportunity that really delivers the perfect message.
When it comes to rates, there is a significant difference between planning your press release and running it.
Although you do not have a monthly budget to control how much you invest, the cost (with the investment of your time) is much less than the traditional copywriting and other forms of traditional marketing.
When you take a closer look at it, from a business perspective, press releases can be a very effective way to accomplish more than advertising.
You probably already know that almost all consumers consider press releases to be traditional advertising, except that instead of print, they become a visible and valuable representation of your business in the Internet.
Perhaps you have also realized that the distribution of digital campaigns for such is ideal for small enterprises that have limited resources to generate buzz, but have marketable ideas to share.
Maybe you are still wondering why it makes sense to spend dollars promoting press releases over the Internet when other forms of advertising do not present the same potential return.
Here is an overview of some of the ways that business- microbial can use promotional techniques to achieve significant benefits (and ultimately higher ROIs), and to leverage the marketing dollars otherwise spent on the traditional advertising initiatives.
First, we start where the public is.
Lets assume that your company is listed in the online Yellow Pages or similar directory when people query their products/service providers online databases.
Then people typically search the web for directories of providers.
If your site is listed in the directory, and displayed and linked to from sites that are too crowded, the user will likely visit it first.
That gives you a first impression, but does not guarantee a return.
With a larger and more extensive Internet presence, this first impression will stand time and time again.
Also, the Internet is filled with problem solving resources, and many times you just have to get listed in a directory of user generated resources to gain access to a big chunk of this traffic.
Even though listing your company in a directory should not be the primary focus of a press release campaign, it will definitely help.
Here are 7 other reasons why marketing using press releases is actually a far more effective way to drive business than paid advertisements:
1) Press releases instantly appear online.
Once you have a landing site, press releases are available to everyone.
This is like promoting your site in the real world, even if it is done online.
People could read your press release right then and there, without having to wait to receive your email newsletter.
2) Press releases can be ongoing.
Press releases are never time sensitive, and can be done repeatedly in days and weeks.
They rarely require more than a quick 140 characters, compared to tens of written text advertisements that take often to be printed.
3) When posted on article directories, your press release can be discovered by people searching for articles of the category where you landed.
You get exposure to the tens of thousands of visitors that may have found your press release while on an article directory or another similar site.
4) Prospects can read your press release at their leisure.
They are on your site and reading your press release.
Again, they will not have to wait to receive your email newsletter.
You can pre-program them to click on the link to discover your press release.
5) Your principal message is within your press release.
The online version does not have to be saved and cited in a marketplace report or reprinting directory, as it is readily available to everyone who clicks the link.
Control your message, which makes it longer, more prominent, and compelling.
6) It is easy to create links from one resource to another after you submit your press release to a directory.
You can create easy navigation from any directory to yours, and you are easy to submit to, and climb the search engine rankings immediately.
7) There is much more you can do with a press release article base.
Articles, such as this one, can be posted on your primary press release site.
They can be posted on popular directory sites.
These presence grow your website traffic.
You can syndicate your articles on your site (this will finally make your keywords work).
And you can reach YOUR customers directly with it too.
By writing your own press release(s), you can accurately target your customers for who you want to hear about your products or services.
Instead of direct mail, you’ll mail your best copy directly to your customers!
You can write press releases or have them written for your business.
Some free press release distribution sites will let you submit your own release, and others will do it for you. Most don’t even charge a fee for post-release distribution.
But first, let’s discuss why and how a press release can be a powerful tool for getting new customers and rising your business portfolio.
Networking’s not about calling to order.
Many network marketers are in businesses that directly owe to the power of communications.
If they take a bold stance on solving problems that don’t fit into the typical network marketing model, they win, big time.
The First Priority:
Communication Without communicating, you will have no business.
Regardless of the scale of your company, your goal is getting the word out about your business.
That means getting key business information out in the most cost-effective manner.
Corporations have been very good at so-called silent ad campaigns; but the art is to actually engage your customers in a two-way dialogue.
The most effective strategy is to start with the customers.
What constitutes a good communication message?
An effective press release speaks directly to the customer so that they have all kinds of data, statistics and reviews, which are at hand.
It describes the customer in a focused way and really tries to engross the reader.
It does not SPAM, and it should be something the reader wants to hear about.
Here are some examples of effective written PR.
Did you know?
Only 50% of offline consumers use the Internet to research products and services?
Did you know?
When it comes to online research, only 15% are actually interested in product research?
Did you know?
52% of Internet users (according to eMarketer) research other consumer products/services?
Did you know? 51% of online users say that shopping online is more convenient than shopping at physical retail locations?
Did you know?
70% of consumers have used the Internet to research products/services before, and 61% say that they will research purely through the Internet next time.
Did you know?
90% of Internet customers have used the Internet to research products and services within a certain chain of business or service that provided them with their address.
Did you know?
67% of communications, Multinational CEOs spend 80% of their time during and after the company meeting with customers, which is up 47% this year.
Did you know?
By 2008, Bill Gates said that people will relate to the user experience of their websites 100.0% more than anything else, and that raises targeted search to 22.8% instead of 5.0%.
Did you know?
In 2009, newspaper and magazine ad spend increased by 31% and 7% while Internet ad spent rose from 1.29 billion in 2003 to $18 Billion in 2009 – and growing.
Did you know?
61% of online shoppers have bought from where the company themselves have received advertising.
Did you know?
Importance of traffic-targeted search now leads to 61% of all traffic to consumers.
When you examine the different aspects of online PR, it becomes apparent that PR writing is a choice – and there is great risk to publishing a poorly written press release.
I don’t emphasize on the word “awash” because it is an accurate representation of the quality of the press release.
I am saying that out of 99 suggested press releases you will find only 1 to be completely well-written.
A good press release will target the right customers with specific information about your business.
It will tell them about a problem, situation, concept, product, service and/or event, which is not as easy or accessible as traditional addressing of a product or service.
And a well-written press release will tell your customers (after addressing the press) what they should do next.
You will greatly enhance your online customer experience and capture your future customer base.
You have already released your marketing message.
You’ll want to see how well it’s working and how much activity have your customers and prospects taken on.
Enter a Twitter / Facebook followers/ fans.
Now you can gauge your audience as their attention is on your new release to see if there is a direct attractor responder on a particular incident, problem, problem, event, product, service, or concept.
Now you can also see which of your concepts is driving your prospective customers to respond in most interest.
You can then create some messages for customers who responded in order.
A successful press release carefully places the right timely message within the right target, and at the right time.
A well-written press release can garner heavy media attention.
A press release designed without a clear focus will be a waste of your company’s time and money.
Set a Clear Message:When making the decision to write a press release, answer these three questions:
Who is it for?
What is the intent?
And Everyone in the news should know about it?
Simply put, who are you?
Are you an employee or contractor, or a consumer or investor, publicly known?
The truth is that your PR could be the most important piece of your media communications strategy, and your distribution components should be designed to maximize the effectiveness of your distribution.
Not every type of reader is appreciative of a simple notice informing them that someone sent a message to them.
They need to be compensated for their interest in your press release, and will naturally skim its contents to find out about your message.
In contrast, people prone to market conversion prefer to open email messages with a basic “thank you” message.
The basic message in an email message, just like a traditional press release, begins with the sender’s name, and is packed full of a well-thought-out message designed to meet identified goals.
Your message also builds valuable, content-rich links to your target articles, emails or web pages.
When you create a press release, identify your goals and design your release in a manner that targets your audience.
The most powerful press releases are the most reader-friendly.
Here are five press release distribution components to help you maximize its effectiveness, should you decide to release one.
Submit to an Online Directory:
Submitting your press release to local online directories has been proven effective and a cost-effective way to generate buzz.
Type’s review directories, industry specific networking sites and other article directories like contentgeyser.com are some of the best places to post your press release.
Link to Your Website:
Once your press release has been published and received its attention span it will need some more time.
Try to make the most out of the attention that it’s getting, and link to your website.
The more people that read, the more valuable your message will be.
Send to Several Distribution Channels:
Posting your press release on PR websites, industry specific networking sites, online article directories, blogs, social media sites and more will maximize the convenience and format as well as reaching your target audience.
Promo & Announcement Services Is your press release one of the things you will use to announce your business?
Promo & Announcement Services will manage your week of announcements and help you connect your message to your prospective audience.
There are also many more places you can submit your press release, some free, some not.
If you maximize your distribution strategies, your PR could become one of the most powerful tools in your marketing toolbox.
How effective can your message be, wrapped in a simple yet compelling message?
In this age of social media, you may wonder why your company should even bother to write and issue press releases. Newspapers have less influence, and we can be our own publishers, right? Press releases are still relevant in today’s crowded media landscape. If you know how to draft […]
In this age of social media, you may wonder why your company should even bother to write and issue press releases.
Newspapers have less influence, and we can be our own publishers, right?
Press releases are still relevant in today’s crowded media landscape.
If you know how to draft one, in addition to how to use the best press release distribution channels, you can reach a wide audience with a persuasive message.
This can lead to higher brand recognition and increased sales.
The Benefits to a Great Press Release
Press Still Matters
Your website may extol the virtues of your product, with video and testimonials. Your followers on Instagram may be through the roof.
However, the imprimatur of a third-party reviewer will always raise the status of your goods or service.
When a reporter covers your launch, interviews your CEO, or praises your service, consumers tend to have a higher degree of trust than when they get the information directly from the company.
They understand that you might leave out negative details.
On the other hand, a positive review or article from a trusted source can play a huge role in boosting your business.
For example, if your restaurant gets a great review in the New York Times, you can bet your tables will get booked up fast!
How do you get the attention of that newspaper’s reviewer? Issue a press release about a reopening, a new chef, or your recent philanthropic efforts.
When you distribute a press release properly, you can expect much wider “pick up” by all kinds of media than you would get from Facebook or Instagram posts.
Some media will write a story inspired by your release. Others may run it verbatim!
Distributing a press release will do more than just get the attention of reporters.
Many outlets will run it on their own wires.
This enhances your SEO or search engine optimization.
The more outlets that run your piece, the higher your news will appear on Google and other search engines.
A press release distributed the right way will make sure your company or product name shows up prominently when people search for related terms.
You Control the Message
When you issue a press release before other people write about your product, you control the message.
You place your product in context, position it within the market, and set the tone.
If there is a crisis regarding your company, you can also use a press release to control the message.
You can get your executives out in front of the issue, apologize if necessary, and show how you will be changing your systems to make things right.
Failing to respond quickly and succinctly can create huge PR problems.
How to Distribute Your Press Release
Watch Your Budget
There are a variety of press release distribution companies to choose from.
Don’t automatically choose the one with the biggest name: shop around.
You may not need to reach an international audience.
You may not even need to reach potential customers in other states.
Your business needs may not require the biggest, most famous distribution vehicle.
A good distribution service will offer cost-effective ways to get your releases out to the regions and demographics that will be most helpful to you.
Talk to account reps, who should be able to advise you on the best way to get your news out there.
Target Your Audience
A superior distribution service will offer ways to target your release to specific lists.
Only a certain kind of news really needs to go out to a national distribution list.
Groundbreaking discoveries, significant business deals, and political events are some examples of stories that may appeal to a country-wide audience.
However, you are likely to have more luck reaching the people you want to reach if you can target your distribution.
This can be done by geography or area of interest.
For example, if you have created an innovative software product to help businesses in the tech industry, you may want to distribute your news to media which covers technology.
On the other hand, a new mustard product should be announced to consumer, retail, and food outlets.
You can get more news attention when you have a good hook. For example, if your company president is based in Baltimore, you should include Maryland in your geographic distributions.
Reporters always like to run “local kid does well” stories. You can also send out news to areas where you have stores or manufacturing centers.
You will get a much better return when you strategize your targets instead of sending out blindly and scattershot.
Track Your Analytics
Another great value in a good press release distribution service will be in its reporting. You will want to see who your news reached.
Look for reporting that breaks down your audience in as many ways as possible.
See if people clicked through on links, and how long they stayed on your page.
This reporting can help you tailor your marketing to make each successive release even more targeted.
For example, if you see that a high percentage of women are following your news, or that you are attracting a mostly older audience, you can customize your messaging accordingly.
Many people are surprised at the analytics they receive from their press releases.
CEOs may think that certain events are hot news or that a specific headline will really grab attention and steer the communications that way.
Analytics will show if they were right or not. The data does not lie.
Grow Your Audience with the Best Press Release Distribution Strategy For Your Business
Choosing an effective and economical press release distribution service will help grow your business by expanding your audience.
It will help boost your brand in the marketplace and help you control how people perceive your product.
The best press release distribution service will do more than blast out your news. It will advise you on the best way to accomplish your business goals.
It will help tailor your lists and content.
It will help you stay within budget.
Lots of freelance writers I know offer press release writing as one of their services, as it is a great way of diversifying what they offer to clients.
I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of terrible releases.
I’ve also received a few good ones, but those have been few and far between.
I was recently chatting to a copywriting friend and web designer about what makes a good press release and she suggested I share the secrets of writing a killer press release.
How to write a press release
A press release (sometimes called a media release or press statement) is a document that provides information about an event, news item or happening to members of the media.
The idea behind distributing a press release to members of the media is the hope that media outlets will be interested in the story idea and will want to cover it in some way.
Lots of freelancers straddle the fence between PR and writing and if you can write press releases that generate interest from editors, then that’s another way you can boost your income and diversify your skill set.
The key parts of a press release
There are four main elements to a great press release:
1) an informative and interesting headline
2) an opening sentence that hooks the reader in
3) main body which gives all the vital information about the story
4) contact information.
The importance of a great headline
As I’ve said before, one of the best ways to get noticed by editors and clients is with a striking subject line or headline.
Regardless of whether you are pitching to an editor or writing a press release on behalf of a client (who will ultimately be approaching editors with the release), you need to ensure your headline is succinct, snappy and informative.
Often that’s easier said than done.
Sometimes if it’s a ‘simple’ story such as a hotel opening that you are writing about, it’s fine to have a headline that focuses on information.
For example, “New hotel [name of hotel] debuts in Melbourne’ or (let’s hope this one isn’t too far away) ‘The Freelancer’s Year launches new course this summer’.
I’ve received savvy press releases that make me immediately click through, such as: “Go inside Australia’s only sake brewery’ or “[Celebrity chef] creates new dessert menu at [restaurant]”
If you’ve got a story that is ’under embargo’ (meaning you can distribute the information, but journalists and writers can’t publish anything about it until a particular date), it’s definitely worth putting this in your subject line, e.g.: “Under embargo: 16-year old finds cure for cancer”.
An opening sentence that hooks in the reader
Once you’ve written your headline, it’s time to turn your attention to your opening sentence.
This is essentially a short summary of the press release so whoever is reading it knows exactly what they can expect from the body of the statement.
An opening sentence may be something like:
“Zarbon welcomes new driverless technology into all of its cars rolling off the assembly line from July”
“The world’s leading Scotch whisky maker has announced the Australian launch of its renowned green elk label.”
“RescueWaste opens the UK’s first rescued food supermarket”
Give the crucial information quickly
The crux of a good media release is that you want to succinctly communicate why this story needs to be covered now.
Your press release might be about an event, an opening, a milestone or anniversary, an award, new product or you might be writing a response or commenting on a particular news event.
The body of your release should be as short as you can make it while still giving all the essential information, and definitely no longer than two pages (the sweet spot is one A4 page).
When I receive press releases, I am looking to see why this is an important story now, if there’s background information on the subject, and a couple of great quotes from someone related to the story (e.g. if it’s a story about a dessert bar opening, some colourful quotes from the chef is what you need).
How to end a press release
A boilerplate is the last paragraph of a press release that summaries the ‘who’ and the ‘what’ – so here you might recap and include details about the business, event or product.
Sometimes this comes under a “notes to editors” heading.
You also need to ensure that you include contact information so that the editor, writer or journalist knows who to get in touch with.
Usually it says something like:
For more information or to organise interviews please contact: XXX.
It’s also usual to conclude your press release with -ends-
The most common mistake I see in press releases
Right release, wrong person
Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with the press release I receive, but as I tend to focus on travel, food and lifestyle writing,
I’m generally not the right person to receive a press release about financial markets, real estate or automotive technology.
So if you’re writing a release and you’re also responsible for sending out the release, make sure (even though it’s time consuming) that you send a targeted, personalised introduction to your release.
How much should freelance writers charge to write press releases?
As I mentioned, most press releases are single page documents (two pages maximum), and I’ve found that many freelance writers tend to charge around $1/word.
This includes the research, the writing time and one or two rounds of revisions.
Writers might not necessarily tell their clients that it’s $1 a word, but instead offer a flat fee (e.g. $500 for a press release of 400-500 words which includes research, writing and changes).
But what about if you’re also expected to distribute the release?
If, over the years, you have developed a strong network of editors or a decent contact list of people in the media to send releases to, then you want to make sure that your client is compensating you for this resource you have built up.
I know writers who charge between $1000 – 2000 to write a press release and either pass on contact details or pitch it to editors on behalf of the client.
Creating press releases can be a great way for freelance writers to diversify their income.
Of course, you need to consider the ethics of being both a freelance writer and acting in a PR role, but I know many writers who successfully do both.
I think that’s all for me this time chaps.
Till next time …
See ya later Alligator …