8 Steps to Writing Strong Press Releases
The press release is making a come back. It used to be a very easy to boost your SERPs back in the day when spam ruled the SEO world, but it soon became hard to rank a website with just press releases alone. (Those were the good old days!)
Well, the press release is making a comeback, which is something I have been predicting for a while now. Not only is regular press release distribution great for link diversity, but it can help you get featured on major news sites. This is great for links of course, but it also gives your website more credibility. If you were shopping on two identical websites and one had a big “As seen on Fox News!” graphic wouldn’t you feel more confident shopping on that site? The average person is going to assume that website is better because they were featured on Fox News.
Anyone can write a press release, but only those that know what they are doing will see success. There are thousands of press releases sent out every single hour, so you need to REALLY know how to stand out.
These are some tips that will help you write better press releases and increase your odds of getting some worthwhile exposure.
1. Write a Title That Pulls People In
Your title is the most important part of your press release. A bad title will kill any chance you possibly had at getting links or any exposure. A bad title is the same as taking the money it costs to send out your press release and throwing it in the trash. There isn’t a single webmaster or editor that will see a bad title and want to read more incase the actual press release is good. It will never happen.
There is so much content online, so you need to create a click bait title that people aren’t going to be able to resist. The majority of press releases are boring, so the only chance of getting people interested is with a title that can’t be ignored. Make it so good that people have no choice but to click on it.
2. Create an Intro That Summarizes the Entire Press Release
The intro of your press release is the second most important part, right after the title. This is the one to two sentences that comes after the title and is the header before the actual press release starts. There are some people that will glance at the title and if that grabs their attention they will read the intro. A boring intro won’t get them to dive into your first paragraph so you need it to hit just as hard as the title.
It should let the reader know what to expect if they decide to take the plunge and continue to the first paragraph. If you need some creative motivation go read Buzzfeed. They are very creative when it comes to titles and headlines. You almost have to think like them if you want to stand out from the rest.
3. Include All Important Information in the First Paragraph
The person deciding whether or not to publish your press release will never read past the first paragraph. Actually, most won’t even read the first paragraph. They will typically make up their mind from just the title and the intro that sits right below the title. But, there are some smaller, niche websites that will read into a press release a bit more to decide. So, you need to make sure you appeal to them as well.
What is the important news worthy announcement you are making? What makes your press release stand out from the other thousands of press releases being sent out the same day? Why should every media outlet want to publish this press release? All of these questions need to be highlighted in the first paragraph, consisting of no more than 3 to 5 sentences. Make your points clear and make them simple to digest. If someone is confused they won’t stop to try to understand it; they will skip over your press release and move on to the next one.
4. Publish Quotes That Websites Can Use
Don’t forget that not everyone who is searching through fresh press releases is looking to just republish the whole thing. Some media outlets search them to get information on related topics and news stories. I’ve seen plenty of times when we sent out a press release and a major website republished a quote found in the release and linked to the company.
For this reason, always include 2 – 3 quotes from a prominent person that represents the company on the press release. Quotes from the CEO or owner always attract more attention than just a regular employee. I like to always include at least one quote in every paragraph. This presents every person with an opportunity to use a quote from your release, no matter how much they read down.
5. Include Full Contact Information
Sending out a press release should always be thought of as more of a publicity play than just for getting links. Back in the day you could do a press release full of fake contact information and just load it up with exact match anchor text links. You can’t get away with that any longer. A lot of the distribution outlets now want to verify phone numbers and emails on the domain associated with the press release.
You also want to include detailed contact information so media people can contact you incase they have questions. A lot of the really big major news outlets will not only look for press releases to just publish on their sites, but they also search them to find information to add to existing stories that are in the works. If you don’t have a business phone number use a forwarding service that gives you an 800 number that just forwards to your cell phone. It can help any website and press release look more professional.
6. Don’t Over Optimize for SEO
I keep talking about the old school press release strategies used, and how to avoid that same way of thinking. The quality of the actual press release writing was never a concern. It was basically just words to surround keywords like “law firm San Diego” or “make money online.” Now, I wouldn’t ever use an exact keyword as anchor text in a press release.
I will typically suggest including 3 links in your press releases. One company name, one URL and then a generic “here” or “click here” that points to an inner page. You risk over optimizing if you do use a spammy anchor, especially if your press release goes viral and thousands of websites pick it up. Thousands of company name and naked URL anchors won’t hurt you in the event that your press release attracts the largest websites. One thing to remember: if your release gets published on top sites it will also
7. Include Video & Images
The major press release distribution outlets will allow you to include videos and images, so make sure to pack them full of as much interactive media as possible. Back in the day nobody cared about anything other than just the links, so there was no interest in actually attracting people to read a release.
Most websites have some YouTube videos, so include interesting ones. You should also include your website logo as one of the images and then images related to whatever the topic of your press release covers. For example, if you are announcing the hiring of a new employee, include a picture of that person. If you are announcing a new business partnership, include the partner’s logo. Use media to make your press release more interesting.
8. Use Reputable Distribution Channels
There are a lot of websites that will claim to get your press release seen by all the right eyes. There are really only a small handful of distribution channels that actually get you picked up by larger websites. When you read the fine print at some of the websites you will see they send them to websites but they don’t guarantee they ever get picked up. Anyone can send an email, but the reputable outlets have direct feeds and contacts that result in published releases.
Writing an effective press release takes experience and also full knowledge and understanding of what news outlets want to see. There are thousands of press releases distributed every single day, and only so much space to publish them. Not every press release that is submitted is going to get published on major websites.
If you would like to learn more about our press release service, which includes the complete writing and distribution across the biggest outlets, click here. We only use the most trustworthy distribution outlets and partners to get you the maximum exposure and the best mentions and links available.