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Press releases are a great first step for reaching any audience. They attract attention from both traditional media and Google or Yahoo News, and create quality backlinks to your site. Readers can become loyal customers after understanding the story behind the business – humans buy from humans.
These steps walk you through the process of writing a great, optimized press release, from inspiration to submission.
1) Decide Your Angle
Your story needs to be a story, not just a generic announcement. Readers and writers won’t care that you are a new business or that you have created a new product – they will be excited if it is the perfect product to help solve a problem they’re having, or if they hear the story and passion behind your business. Stories stick in people’s minds, but announcements are skimmed and forgotten. Figure out what is unique about your company and story.
2) Research Your Keywords
Your story may be relevant to 90% of readers, but if they can’t find your story, they can’t read it. Figure out what readers and journalists are searching for. Use those keywords.
3) Create a Descriptive Headline
Concise, keyword-driven titles are widely recommended, even compared to catchy titles designed to peak curiosity. Journalists want to know at the outset what the story is about, and they weed through too many each day to spend time viewing an article that doesn’t get its point across fast. A quick rule of thumb: keep your headline under 80 characters (the length of this sentence).
4) Write the Copy
Just like your title, your copy needs to come out and be clear about what the story is. Who, what, when, where, how, and why need to be front, center, and obvious. The first 250 words are prime real estate – convey all your details, and don’t forget to include keywords. Avoid jargon at all costs, and define any technical terms you must use.
5) Write Your Company’s “Elevator Pitch”
After a few paragraphs describing the story, it is typical to include an “About the Company” section. This should be written in third-person and only be a few sentences long. Instead of making it generic, cover the basic information but also include some details referencing the press release story.
6) Use Keywords as Deep Links
Link keywords and specific information to relevant areas on your website. Ensure that at least some of the links are to a page that is not your homepage. Don’t forget to spell out the company website in the “About the Company” section as well.
7) Format for the Web
While writing your press release, think of it as a single webpage, and format it as such. Write short sentences and paragraphs, and use formatting like headings, bold, and italics. Be aware of how it will appear in an e-mail message, or familiarize yourself with the looks of good press releases on wire service websites.
8) Include Multimedia Elements
Many wire services allow you to embed images, videos, or audio. When possible, use a third-party tool to host these elements, and name and tag them descriptively, giving you the opportunity to be exposed to search traffic from Flickr, Picasa, YouTube, or iTunes.
9) Submit the Story to a Wire Service
Now that your press release is created, you can get it indexed by search engines by submitting it to a wire service. Some wire services include Business Wire, Marketwire, GlobeNewswire, PR Newswire, and PRWeb. These services also allow you to browse press releases – observe what formatting and content works best in your eyes.
10) Send to Specific, Relevant Media
Don’t just send your press release into the void of national and international news – though there are plenty of opportunities to be seen by a wide audience, smaller audiences are often more receptive and responsive. Think about local media sources – newspapers and radio and TV stations. Also explore media within your specialty or niche – including newsletters, magazines, and blogs.
11) Be Available for Quotes, Interviews or Photos
Make sure your press release includes easy ways for media to get in contact with you or find out more about your organization. Be prepared for the possibility of journalists asking for quotes or interviews, and have photos and other media on hand to distribute. Respond to any queries promptly and politely.
Follow these steps, and have a winning press release submitted in no time!