Press release is still a very useful tool in disseminating news. Despite the changes in the media landscape, it remains valuable for brands that want to grow their business.
You need to ensure that it is well-written before using a press release service in distributing it. It must be content that is ready to publish.
It is also best to answer these five questions before distribution to increase the odds that it will be a successful campaign.
Question # 1: Did I include the right information before sending it to a wire service?
Not all news warrant a release. Only relevant and newsworthy one deserves to be written and distributed.
It’s essential that you have included the right information and details to support your key message. The majority of paid distribution sites check the release carefully before you are able to submit it.
The good thing is that they care about the quality of the news you’re submitting. It must also be free from errors and follow the standard form of writing a release.
Check these points before you hit the “sent” button:
- Is your headline catchy, short, and newsworthy? Is it compelling? Is it between 65 to 80 characters?
- State where and when the news needs to be published. If it needs to be published at once, write “For immediate release.” If not and it must be released on a specific date and time, write, “Under embargo until date (January 30, 2012), time (5:00 EST)”.
- Did you state the key facts in the first paragraph or lede? Answer the what, who, where, why, when and how?
- Include images or videos in the release.
- Include powerful quotes that they can use in the release. Make sure that you know how to quote statements. Include the name and position of the person speaking.
- Did you include the contact details of the person who may be contacted by the journalist? Make sure to include the phone number, email address, and office address.
- Write a boilerplate to provide the reader’s information of the company behind the announcement. Is there a link towards your site?
Question # 2: Did I follow the format of writing a release?
You can’t publish a release that doesn’t follow the right format and structure. The release starts with the release date, headline, subheading (optional), contact information, dateline, first paragraph (lede). body of the release, boilerplate, end notation, and the final note.
The release itself must be 300 to 500 words. Two pages are fine, but make it one page as much as possible. The shorter, the better.
A standard release is written following the correct format and spacing. The words used must be plain and simple. Avoid industry jargons and adjectives.
The release must be readable. Break long paragraphs with the use of bullet points and subheadings.
Images or videos are recommended. Provide a link that can be downloaded.
Today, releases must have multimedia to boosts engagement of readers. It also makes the release more shareable on social media.
Question # 3: Did I include powerful quotes?
Your release must contain quotes from credible people who are affected by the news. Get quotes from the CEO or president of the company.
Quotes are very important in a release. It boosts the credibility and weight of your claims.
Keep in mind that quotes must not include information, but offer the perspective of the speaker. The speaker can give insights on what you are claiming. Let’s say, you are launching a new product.
The speaker doesn’t have to explain the product anymore. It must be part of the release not the quotes. The speaker can explain why the product is extraordinary, why it would benefit the user, or why it is important.
Use the verb “said” for news. Other words like “stated,” “commented,” or “says” are not recommended.
For instance, “abcdefg,” said Henry Ang, General Manager of XYZ Company. The quotation must be inside the quotation marks.
The first mention of the speaker must include their full name, position, and the company. In future reference o the speaker, you can only write their last name.
Question # 4: Do the readers benefit from it?
A release is written with the audience in mind: the customers and investors. If you are a startup, you want to write a release that concentrates in helping you grow your business. You must be more visible and establish brand awareness.
On the other hand, if you want to impress investors, write about the progress of your business like annual growth report, how you acquired a business or collaborated.
If your news has no new angle or doesn’t affect your target audience, don’t force to issue a release. Keep in mind that a release must be written only if there is a newsworthy reason to do so.
If there isn’t, there is no way that you must write a release. For instance, you bought a new machine in your kitchen. Although it is modern equipment, it’s not a big story that would affect your target audience, unless it is an equipment that can produce the product.
Your release must be valuable for the readers. You’re not going to get media interest if you concentrate on what your business is or what you offer.
Question #5: Did I target the right audience?
Targeting the right audience is very important in the success of the release. Always ask before writing, “Who is my target,” “why,” and “how.”
When writing, think about your target audience. Think about the platforms and journalists that are important to your audience.
Do you want to reach businessmen or employed individuals? Do you want to reach a specific industry?
Are you targeting people located in a specific location? Do you want to reach people in a different country?
If you are trying to reach the media in different channels, sort them out per industry, location, audience, and subject. Use the information to personalize your release.
If you don’t know who you want to reach, your release is just a waste of time and effort. Before writing, identify your buyer’s personas. List down the persona of the audience that you want to reach out.
Question # 6: Is it newsworthy?
Always ask if your release is newsworthy enough. “Should they care?” Is it newsworthy enough that your audience would care?
Remember that no matter how well-written your release is, if it is not relevant and newsworthy, it’s not going to be read by the audience. When choosing the story to share, pick the one that interests them.
Make sure that you are offering a new angle. This should excite the readers. If it doesn’t, don’t attempt to write about it.
Question # 7: Is it optimized for the search engines?
Before sending your copy on the site, make sure that you check if it is optimized for the search engines. Include keywords in the headline, subheading (optional), and the body of the release.
Don’t overstuffed keywords in the content. It can flag you as spam. Don’t force keywords in it.
Use it when necessary. However, don’t try to use it just to optimize your release. Google isn’t after the number of times you use keywords anymore.
As long as you have written good content that offers value, it can run at the top spot of the search engine result pages (SERPs). Use relevant links in your content.
You can hyperlink on keyword anchor text to suggest Google what the page is all about. Don’t hyperlink on general terms like “click here” or “download here.”
If you want to boost your SEO, write interesting and compelling content. Use multimedia to increase engagement.
Images and video increase the chance that the content would be likes or shared. The more interaction a content gets, the higher its place on the ranking.
Question # 8: What is the basis for choosing a press release distribution platform?
You have to consider several factors when choosing the right PR service. Weigh if it suits your needs, budget, and goal.
Does the platform offer the plan that provides your needed features? Does it offer social media integration? Does it provide monitoring or analytics report?
Is the price of the plan suitable to your budget? Can you afford it? Can you get a good return-on-investment?
You must read reviews about a platform. Check what their previous and present clients say. Do they have complaints or negative feedback?
Ask recommendations from your friends and colleagues. Do they recommend your choice? There are so many factors that you must consider when planning your distribution.
List down the important elements to your campaign. It must be provided by your chosen PR provider.
Again, before sending your press release distribution to any provider, ensure that you answer these questions. This is a guide to ensure that you are submitting a quality release.