Editor’s note: This is a sponsored post put together with PR Newswire.
Not too long ago PR professionals were the gatekeepers to writing a good press release and getting it distributed, but today that’s no longer the case; anyone can craft a press release target it wherever you like using press release distribution services like PR Newswire.
What’s more difficult, however, is getting the right people to read and react to your company’s news.
Part of the problem stems from the archetypal idea of the press release – an old product designed for print. As technology moves forward, so should a press release, changing it from a dry document to a rich media promoting your news and read by everyone from journalists, bloggers, potential clients, investors, and partners.
So what does it take to make a good, modern press release? To answer that, we put our brains together with PR Newswire, whose releases are read over 40 million times a year just on their website alone. Here are some tips that we came up with.
1. Call to action & Objectives
Just as in any other startup process, think about your audience, how you want to motivate them, and design the user experience accordingly.
For instance, are you targeting publication in the tech press? Or perhaps aiming to get social shares on an infographic? Or do you want to motivate readers to click on a certain link? To effectively hit that goal, you need write your press release with every paragraph leading to and supporting that objective.
If you have many messages you’re trying to get out at the same time, then take into account the other channels you have, such as your company’s blog, or trying to get included in an industry-wide newsletter, but keep your press release focused on how you can best achieve your goals through the medium.
2. Keep Short Attention Span of Journalists and Bloggers in Mind
The truth of the matter is that most journalists will spend about half a second skimming through your headline and if it is exceptional, will then spend another 5 seconds on scanning the body of your text. It’s only with the right keywords and “hooks” that look like a potential article for their publication will a writer really dig into it.
So, that means that you need to keep the title short and punchy while still hitting the right keywords . This both helps writers scan it easier, but also if you distribute it through social media and via PR Newswire, it will automatically become an easily shareable and retweetable title that will also have plenty of space for links.
In the text itself, again keep your paragraphs focused on the goal of the press release and throw plenty of links into to back up your claims – which makes it easier for a writer to quote and link to a statement about the size of your industry, for example.
Additionally if you have caught a writers attention in the first paragraph, they want to move forward and keep checking what you’re working on. A low-hanging fruit is to throw in a link to your website or app download page right after the first paragraph, giving the writer something to open up as soon as they get interested, rather than having to dig through your boilerplate to find your product.
3. Tell a convincing story.
Readers and writers are interested in stories more than a “this exists” or “this happened” announcement. To stand out from the crowd, weave some sort of light narrative through your text that helps explain the “why” behind the news.
You don’t need to be James Joyce here – one example is to in a quote from someone in the development team about the genesis of your project, rather than the boring and repetitive “We’re excited” quote from an investor or the chairman of your board.
On that note, make sure the release doesn’t love itself too much with flowery language about how amazing or world-leading you are, which can come across as trying to sell itself too hard. Facts tell a better story than your description of your company, and will more likely make it into the eventual story.
4. Use Multimedia
According to PR Newswire research, press releases that included multimedia like videos received 10 times more views than their text-only counterparts. And if you’re looking for an extra bump, an infographic that clearly explains your progress might get picked up in the press, and is easy to share in social media.
When talking about using modern Press Release writing practices, Peter Harich, Nordic Marketing Manager at PR Newswire told ArcticStartup that they collected data from over 10,000 press releases and 200 multimedia press releases over a four week period.
“As a result, multimedia press releases containing at least 1 video and image, were shared thee times more often as plain-text ones. We also found that content such as video and images has a longer “shelf-life”, holding the audience’s interest for more than twice as long as text press releases. On average, text press releases generate visibility for 9.4 days, while multimedia press releases – 20 days on average.”
5. And finally, get it out there.
Press Releases are no longer made to be sent to a couple of journalists and bloggers. Get it out there to the wider audience, put it up on your website in the press section, share it on social media, and if you want it to reach a massive audience, use a press release distribution service such as PR Newswire’s tools.