When it comes to content writing and promotion, sometimes old school can be a good thing. But when it comes to your company’s public relations strategy, being old school isn’t advantageous for your business or your brand. Few years ago, people used to rely on morning papers for news. Today, the vast majority of your company’s customers and prospects scan read news digitally or digital publications or read headlines on Twitter or see what’s trending in their Facebook feed or LinkedIn feed. Press releases to this major networks ensures your news reached right audience at right time and through right medium.

Once you understand the formula for all successful press releases you will start to see the results you’re after.

Let’s take a look at the anatomy of the perfect press release and how you can go about creating one yourself, one that can form the heart of a successful PR plan. But first, the essential foundation.

What is a Press Release?

Press releases can be used to announce products, services or initiatives, although some organisations choose to only distribute these announcements via an email list of news journalists or bloggers. The aim when distributing Press Releases is generally for them to be picked up by the relevant media outlets and included in their publications/broadcasts.

A press releases are branding and credibility tools, as well as SEO tools. They are a great way to get the word out and more effectively about brand, company, products, and services.

If a release is engaging enough, it can generate social signals, drive shares, direct targeted and organic traffic, and create journalistic interest abroad. All of this is in addition to the sweet maraschino cherry on top – the possibility of major media coverage.

A press release has a standard format and are formal.  They address the needs of journalists who are constantly looking for a story to write about and they also speak to current and prospective customers. The goal behind writing a press release is “just the facts mam”.  They educate and give interesting information.

Press Releases are created to attract buzz around a new product or service, general news, or an upcoming event. Press releases also call for a specific format to be written in, which includes a title, a subhead, a quote, the body, and a boilerplate (a summary of the organization).

What are the reasons when one can do Press Release?

There are no limits to your reason for doing a Press release but below are some popular reasons why people reach out to media outlets like us for getting the word out and connecting with their audiences:

  1. New Product Launches
  2. Mergers and Acquisitions
  3. Product Updates
  4. Events
  5. Grand Openings
  6. New Partnerships
  7. Rebranding
  8. Executive Promotions/Hiring
  9. Awards
  10. Anniversary celebrations

Press releases are an opportunity to tell a compelling story about your brand to larger untapped audiences (& to Google bots)

How to write Best Press Release?

Understaffed newsrooms and time-poor journalists need ready-made stories. There was a time when a reporter may have trawled through your press release to find a news hook – not now – you need to give it to them on a plate. And that’s why a quality press release will be of as much interest to a journalist as it will to a high profile blogger or podcaster. All of these are content publishers and they all want stories. It is important to know that no one factor can bring success – but by following these 9 simple rules, you’ll have a much better shot at being featured in the mainstream media both online and offline. A properly optimized PR campaign has been known to go viral!

Rule 1: Make Sure the Media Outlets you Choose are Relevant to Your Industry

This is a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how many people think that a PR campaign can be a success without considering this first. The media outlets you choose for placement need to have a significant amount of influence in your industry. If they don’t, your story will fall flat and nobody will hear about it!

Keep an eye out for publications which cover the same topics as the ones on your website. Try using Followerwonk or BuzzSumo  to search Twitter bios and determine who the most popular influencers in your niche are. JournoRequests  is also useful for finding specific journos who cover similar stories – just take a look at their latest tweets to find out what types of stories interest them.

Take the time to search Google News for keywords related to your business, or use Social Crawlytics  to discover which influencers are talking about your competitors. If you don’t do this step thoroughly, you could be setting yourself up for failure by choosing irrelevant media outlets.

Rule 2: Provide Exceptional Quality Content

The old adage “content is king” holds true when it comes to submitting press releases! If you’re not providing content that can compete with the other articles on the website where you’re hoping to get published, then people aren’t going to care that much about yours. Thus, it will achieve very little exposure (if any).

When you’re creating content, always try to mix it up. Try including images, infographics and videos whenever possible (and don’t forget to optimize them for search engine crawlers).

If nobody is interested in what you’re publishing then where will the links come from? Nobody knows your business better than you do – let that knowledge shine through in your writing! It’s also important to make sure the media outlets you submit your press release to are able to actually use it – most companies like CNN or Forbes won’t want to publish an article with only a few hundred words. If they can’t find any data related to your story, they may not even bother looking at it. In this case, there’s no point spending time on a press release!

Rule 3: Create a “Media-worthy” Headline and Sub-Heading

This is where you need to work your magic. The headline should clearly state what the press release is about (for instance, Google’s Panda 4.0 algorithm). People who see this in their news feed will be interested to read more – and if they like it, they’ll post it for wider distribution.

Both headlines and subheadings need to make sense, as well as providing enough information about the topic at hand (without giving everything away straight away). They also need to look attractive on the page – after all, people aren’t going to bother looking at an ugly article with unappealing writing – so PowerPoint presentations aren’t the way to go here! There are plenty of free tools available that will help you create a professional-looking press release. Be sure to check out this infographic  for tips on how to create a winning headline.

Rule 4: Make Sure the Main Content is Also Media-friendly

The media loves content which they can use for blog posts, articles and news reports – but not all press releases provide this kind of information. It’s important that your article has sufficient detail for it to be republished verbatim (without having to paraphrase or rewrite it). If there’s not enough meaty information included, then journos won’t want anything to do with it.

When writing your main body text, avoid using words like “best” or “top” – journos are only interested in the facts. Try to include statistics, quotes from industry experts and up-to-date data which relates to your topic. If you’re providing story ideas for other journalists to use in their reports, be sure to mention this at the end of your release!

Rule 5: Link Directly to Your Website

One of the top priorities for SEOs when creating press releases is linking back to their website. Since people are unlikely to actually visit it after reading an article on a publication’s main page, it’s vital that every single link points back towards some part of your business (so long as it makes sense).

The best approach here is entering custom URLs into the “Short Link” text boxes located at the bottom of your press release page. This will create a link which is automatically shortened and looks good on any article. Most journalists won’t bother reading more than one or two paragraphs – so you need to make sure that if they do decide to publish your story, every link included is working correctly!

All links should point back towards part of your business – be it a landing page, another press release or an area on your website where people can learn more about the topic. Whatever you choose, it’s important to remember that if somebody reads through your article and finds something that doesn’t work then there won’t be a second chance for them to find out what else you have in store!

Rule 6: Make It Mobile Ready

Since many people are now reading news on their mobile devices, it’s important that your press release is easy to read on smaller screens. This means ensuring no part of the design is crammed together or pushed into another column – as this can make it difficult for readers to understand. Scaling down images is also a good idea. If you want to ensure maximum results, try using Google’s free online tool  to test whether your article adheres to all the latest mobile guidelines…

If users have trouble navigating through your content then they won’t bother trying again. So be sure to check if yours passes mobile tests before sending it off!

Rule 7: Don’t Forget the “About Us” Section

Even though this information is likely to be republished, you should still add a short paragraph about your business and links to relevant areas of your site. Journalists will appreciate it if they don’t have to carry out additional research, so try adding all the necessary information for them in this section.

Also bear in mind that while Google’s search results love fresh content , major publications do not pick up new stories every time they are released – so make sure each article has enough detail within it before going public! This could mean including any past press releases or other related material which relates back to the topic at hand. It’s also worth mentioning that many publications won’t touch articles which mention their competitors by name (to avoid legal issues) – so bear this in mind when deciding what to include.

The following list should give you a pretty good idea of all the things you should consider before launching your press release:

What’s it about? Is there enough information included to keep readers interested? Have you provided story ideas for other journalists? Does every link work correctly and point back towards something within your business (landing page, another article or website section)? Can people read this on their mobile devices easily? Is there an “About Us” section with links to relevant parts of your site? Do you mention any competitors by name – given that some publications won’t publish articles which do this!

Rule 8: Decide if You Need an Image

Using images to break up the text of your article can be tricky, as some publications won’t publish them (especially if they are over 200KB in size). However, there are times when including an image will make your press release stand out on a publication’s main page or social media feed. This is why it’s important that you read all the guidelines before sending yours off – as this could mean the difference between publishing and ending up in trash!

Rule 9: Add Any Additional Articles (and Links)

It’s important to remember that most press releases are only published once – so adding any additional articles which might have been released at different times shouldn’t be forgotten. This means linking back to previous releases as well as any other content on your site which you think will be of interest to readers.

Now you know all about press releases – so why not put some of those ideas into practice by trying out our online press release distribution service? That way you can easily send news items, articles or blog posts to major search engines and media sites at the tap of a button.

Press releases are an essential part of any SEO strategy, especially if you want to climb up Google’s rankings. So long as you cover all the major rules included above, then your chances of success are sure to go up. If you have any questions or suggestions then feel free to comment below or get in touch with us about SEO  at any time!

Sure, spammy, story-less, advertorial press releases are dreadful – they always were and they always will be.

Have a few of your own press release tricks? Tell us about them in the comments below.