As PR professionals, we understand the value of a well-written, timely press release. A crucial part of any successful public relations strategy, a press release provides you with an opportunity to boost your company visibility and have control of the news that’s being shared.
Before you even develop a press release, ask yourself two questions: Would reporters find the content compelling; and is this the kind of announcement that journalists in your space would like to cover? If your answer is ‘no’ to either of those questions, it’s time to rethink the news that you’re sharing. If your answers are ‘yes,’ it’s time to get to writing.
Here are five tips to ensure that you’re writing the most effective press releases for your brand:
> Know the alternatives: First, ask yourself whether a press release is the best way to share this particular news or announcement. Be a strategic advisor to your clients. Share alternatives that may be just as effective—if not more effective—than press releases, including social media updates or corporate blog posts.
> Avoid corporate speak: Be as clear as possible. Take the time to fully understand all aspects of the press release, and translate technical, corporate jargon into terms that speak directly to your audience. Get rid of words like “innovative,” “unique,” “leverage” and “optimize”—they are so overused that they’re often deemed meaningless. To help find the best word replacements, use websites like Un-Suck It or Learnings.org.
> Streamline your release to just one angle: Simplify your message by focusing your press release on one idea. Don’t think that you’re getting the most bang for your buck by including various corporate messages because, in the end, those messages will confuse and disinterest the reader. Minimize qualifiers and conditional tenses and remember to stick to active sentences with strong verbs. The simpler the message, the greater chance you have of your audience remembering the key facts.
> Focus on features and benefits. The features should answer the question, “What?” while the benefits should answer the question, “Why?” Showcase the facts of your announcement, followed by an explanation of the product’s value for the end user or target audience. Focus on making sure people want to learn more information: What’s in it for them?
> Optimize for search: Keep SEO tactics in mind when writing your press release. Be sure to include relevant keywords within the first 60 characters of the headline. If you’re unsure of which keywords will be most effective, use the Keyword Tool in Google Analytics to see popular phrases that yield the best results.
Writing press releases is a core part of what we do as PR professionals. It’s essential that we take a step back and rethink our approaches every once in a while. What are some of your tried and true tips for writing press releases that you have found to be most successful?