The Secrets to Writing Better Press Releases

It is no secret press releases are a powerful means of promotion. But their efficacy can be easily diminished thanks to the search engine optimization world we now occupy.

Make sure your press release doesn’t have an express ticket to a writers’ trash can by following these points.

Newsworthy Content. A press release is your avenue to warrant some earned media. A writer is looking for content that both her readers and editor will be pleased with. Don’t write a press release with a sales-y marketing angle. A writer pays no mind to how “remarkable” your customer service is, or how “revolutionary” a product is. Be sure your subject is even newsworthy before you start typing those words.

Hit ‘Em With a Bang. The title and summary sentence should hit writers like previews in the movie theater. They should captivate and keep them wanting more.

Be Active. Taking it back to Public Relations 101, use the active, not passive, voice when writing.  No one wants to read about something that already happened; they want to follow along as a story develops.

Tomato or Tomatoe? This seems like a no brainer, but pay attention to the red and green squiggly lines under the words in documents. Writers are wordsmiths; don’t turn them off with a spelling or grammer mistake. [See what we did there?]

What Time is It?  Some PR professionals claim they have a secret time for sending out press releases. While you try to figure out what exact time that is, remember there are more worst times than best times when it comes to hitting the send button. The Friday morning before Memorial Day weekend, or the night of the Superbowl probably isn’t the ideal time to send out an announcement.

Quick, Quick, Not Slow. Get to the point, stat. Millions of press releases are sent out each day. Use your quick whit and attract the writer’s attention. The first paragraph should answer the “who, what, when, where, why” of the news. Keep preceding paragraphs crisp and no more than 4 sentences long. Bullet points help break up the paragraphs and make the entire content flow.

The Kitchen Sink. Include links to a homepage, and if applicable, a splash page specifically designed for the newsworthy news. Quotes add a humanistic and relatable approach to the content; incorporate those if it pertains to the news. Don’t forget “###” at the end of the release to indicate there are no more pages to follow.

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