The following tips will help you write a professional, concise and powerful news release:
Proofread: I recommend that you write your press release in a Word or other text document instead of writing it directly on the online submit page. Writing online will not achieve the best results. Write your press release, print it, and proofread. Rewrite and then proofread again. The more time you take to do it right, the better your company’s first impression.
Start Strong: Your headline, summary and first paragraph should clarify your news. The rest of your news or press release should provide the detail. You only have a matter of seconds to grab your readers’ attention, so you want to capture it with a strong opening.
Identify Yourself: If your news or press release does not identify the source of the information and news within the first few paragraphs, you may lose the promotional value your release can provide. Readers want to know who is talking; letting them know builds the credibility of the release and promotes your name and brand online.
Write Professionally: It takes only a few sentences to discern whether a news or press release is written professionally. If your release contains hype, slang, excessive exclamation points or direct address, chances are it will be viewed as an advertisement rather than a news release. There is no better way to destroy credibility than to distribute a release full of hype. Additionally, on occasion, media outlets may pick up your release and run it in their publications with little or no modification. The more professional your release sounds, the greater the chances are that this will happen.
Answer Tough Questions: Not everything is news. Your excitement about something and its availability does not necessarily mean you have a newsworthy story. Think about your audience. Will someone else find your story interesting? Let’s assume that you have just spent a lot of effort to launch a new product. Announcing a company’s opening is always an exciting time for any business, but the last thing the media wants to write about is another product. Instead, focus on the features of your product and its unique value and service to others. Answer the question, “Why should anyone care?” Make sure your announcement contains news values like timeliness, uniqueness or highlights something truly unusual. Avoid clichés such as “customers save money” or “great customer service.” Focus on the aspects of your announcement that truly set you apart from everyone else.
Being Timely: Try to make your press release timely. Make sure that your release has a good news hook. Tying your news to current events, recent studies, trends and social issues brings relevance, urgency and importance to your message.
Use Text and Features: Press releases can accommodate multimedia files like images, video, links and other features that will capture the attention of your readers and highlight your news. Nothing is worse than seeing a release go out “naked” with none of these capabilities utilized. Attach logos, head shots, product shots, photographs, audio files, video files, PDF documents or any other supplemental materials that build up your release. Use anchor text and hyperlinks to point readers back to your site ensures both your website and your important keywords receive simultaneous promotion in your press release. Back links also improves your google rankings.
Provide Solutions: Use real life examples to illustrate how your company or organization solved a problem. Identify the problem and why your solution is the right solution. Give examples of how your service or product fulfills the needs or satisfies desires of your readership. Using real life examples powerfully communicates the benefits of using your product or service.
Don’t Be Afraid to Toot Your Own Horn: Articles is a successful way to create expert status. If your company has reached a milestone, celebrated an anniversary, hired a new president, experienced significant growth or received an award, tell the world what you did right. Or, write a tip sheet that offers readers “tips” or help in your field of expertise.
Don’t Give Away All your trade Secrets: If you’re running a new promotion this season, tell readers where they can go to learn more. Provide links in your press release directly to the page on your website where readers can learn the specifics about your news and then act upon it. If you give your readers no reason to click through to your site, they’re not necessarily going to. This kind of “call to action” pulls them away from reading and urges them to respond.
Stick to the Trustworthy Facts: Tell the truth. Avoid fluff, embellishments, hype and exaggerations. If you feel that your press release seems sensational, there’s a good chance your readers will think so too. With so much information available to the consumer, readers are naturally skeptical. If your story sounds too good to be true, you are probably hurting your own credibility. Even if it is true, you may want to tone it down a bit.
Use powerful words: Verbs in the active voice bring your press release to life. Rather than writing “entered into a partnership,” use “partnered” instead. Do not be afraid to use strong verbs. For example, “The committee exhibited severe hostility over the incident” reads better if changed to “The committee was enraged over the incident.” Writing in this manner helps give life and energy to your release, which may set it apart from the rest of the pack.
Be concise: Wordiness is distracting, so be concise. In addition, news search engines sometimes reject news releases with overly long headlines, excessive lists and high overall word counts. Eliminate unnecessary adjectives, flowery language or redundant expressions such as “added bonus” or “first time ever.” Make each word count. If you can tell your story with fewer words, you’ll have better results with your readers and the search engines.
Avoid jargon as much as possible: Jargon is language specific to certain professions, industries or groups and is not appropriate for general readership. While a limited amount of jargon is required if your goal is to optimize your news release for online search, the best way to communicate your news is to speak plainly using ordinary language. Using an abundance of technical language and jargon limits your reading audience.