So you think you know how to write a press release?
There are many tips and guidelines online advising PR’s and SEO’s on how to cook up the most effective press release, and in my first Creare blog, I am going to attempt to do exactly the same thing – but with a little extra seasoning. The kind of press release that I am referring to is one which will be distributed to journalists personally, rather than those solely for SEO purposes, advertorials, or to be published on a press release site such as PR Web, or Official Wire.
Online coverage goes hand in hand with a successful SEO campaign. It is the process of generating content about a business on news sites with high authority. This can include online news stories through traditional media forms such as newspapers, magazines, TV and radio. Increasingly, the line between the two is being removed. Remember, all media forms have a website, and most duplicate their printed material online. For example if you manage to get a story about your business in a regional paper, you will normally find it on the website too. One press release sent to a journalist can generate both online and offline exposure. This increases coverage, assists with brand building and creates content and links online to support SEO.
There are many do’s and don’t do’s when it comes to press release writing, but there are no set rules, so for those of you who want to give it a go, here is my quick guide on writing a press release that will get results!
But first: Who Cares?
Before even attempting to write your press release, ask yourself and the person next to you two things; why is it interesting and does it matter to anyone? If you can answer this then you have immediately got your target audience, and your angle.
For example: Small company ‘Printalot’ has been given the job to print the official Olympic banners.
(B2C) Local people of Rugby -Rugby Observer, Rugby Times, Coventry Telegraph, Rugby FM, Rugby Advertiser.
(B2B) Trade publications- Newspapers & Technology , SignCraft Magazine, Printingtalk, FORM Magazine On-Line, Labels and Labelling, Pre Press World
In this case, you will need to write two separate press releases, with different angles. All it takes is a bit of tweaking.
Follow my example below on how to effectively structure this kind of press release.
Now you may think that your press release is ready to go, but make sure that you give it to someone else to copy check it first. It might make perfect sense to you, but could possibly have bad spelling or grammar and read as gobbledygook to a journalist. Have it checked first and approved by the client to protect your back.
Also save it as a pdf, this will decrease the file size and will avoid the chances of clogging up the journalist mail box.
The distribution is just important as the quality of the press release. It is more effective to send the release, and also call the journalist. You might decide to email the journalist before the phone call or visa versa, but when sending out the release check these things:
- Add their name to the email
- Add the first paragraph to the body of the email if you are adding an attachment
- Make it personable (morning, afternoon)
- Tell them why they should care (region? Trade?)
- Make sure all your details are clearly stated in the email
- Call them just before or after you have sent it (make sure you are clued up about the news).
- If you are sending a mass email, state ‘Good morning’ or ‘Good afternoon’, and call the top ten most relevant publications.
- BCC not CC in a mass email (bad, bad mistake)
- Don’t forget to attached the pdf!
Do I really need to talk to the journalist?
It is utmost importance for a PR to create relationships with the journalist. They will remember you (hopefully for good reasons) and may want to print your releases again. This is also the point where you can discuss links from their site to yours. Make it branded if it becomes too spammy, but a good relationship with a journalist in a publication with high authority, can help your SEO campaigns go a lot further.
Is it worth it for SEO?
As stated by Rand Fishkin in Whiteboard Friday Vlog on 24/05/12: “Google and Bing have both stated very specifically that they love this practice of content marketing, of doing great stuff on the Internet, even if it’s only partially or semi-relevant to your particular niche or industry or customers… It is a great way to earn branding and awareness and attention. It’s a great way to do well in social media and earn a following there. It’s a great way to have content that’s spread throughout the Web. It will help with SEO because of the rising tide phenomenon, which is essentially your site is this ship sailing on the ocean, and as the tide rises from all the links that are pointing into you, essentially your domain’s link juice rises and authority rises, all the pages on there will perform slightly better”.
So there’s the proof and you are now ready to attempt your press release, go ahead… it makes so much sense to do so!