Writing your first press release can be daunting. Though they are less important now that social media and digital marketing dominate the landscape, effective press release writers know that these targeted communications are still effective marketing tools. However, they are not advertisements, marketing copy, or blog posts. Press releases are presentations of facts, with a distinct structural format and voice to be employed. But don’t be intimidated! Here are some quick and easy tools to guide you.
Nail Down Your Intention
The ultimate effectiveness of a press release is judged against the goals you set in creating it. What are your goals for the release? Is it to generate publicity with media outlets in hopes that a journalist or editor will contact you for a story or use you as an expert source? Are you hoping to attract new readers, customers, and subscribers? Is it a link building exercise intended to drive more search engine traffic to your site? All of the above?
Hammer Your Title
The title of your press release is the first impression and only chance to capture attention, so make it a concise, compelling, and punchy one! Give readers a reason to keep reading. Remember: this is not a blog post or a creative writing project. If you must use puns, make sure they are clever! Clearly identify the name of your company or product and the topic of your press release in the title. Incorporate your primary keywords for search engine optimization (SEO).
Chisel Your Intro
Now that you’ve captured attention, engage the readers by conveying why your announcement is relevant to them and worth their time. Why should they care? Incorporate the who, what, when, where, and why, providing immediate value to the reader in the first couple sentences of your release. Whenever possible, incorporate your primary SEO keyword within the first 25 words of your text.
Weld Your Copy
Here’s where experienced press release writers really bring it all together into a cohesive, well-crafted whole. Using a journalistic, neutral tone, offer additional, relevant details about your product, achievement, or company. Aim for specific, clear, and dynamic sentences to make your point quickly and powerfully. Avoid marketing hype and anything that resembles advertising copy. Do include an authentic quote or two with proper source attribution.
Judiciously and deliberately include your relevant SEO keywords throughout the body of your release. The total length of all content in your release should fall between 500-800 words.
Seal It With Your Boilerplate
Think of this as your “elevator pitch” description that explains your company or product to someone who is totally unfamiliar with you. You will use this same content every time you write a release, so it’s important to polish it well.
Be sure to include a press contact at the end of your release, giving readers the name, title, email address, and phone number of the person who will provide additional information or be available for interviews.
No need to fear press release writing! Sharpen a few of the tools offered here, and if you need additional support, “Baby, take the hand” of an experienced press release writer.
Laura W is a freelance writer available for projects at WriterAccess.