As a PR professional putting out a news release, it is natural to expect a solid return on your outreach investment.
In previous decades, the ROI of a news release would be limited to media coverage. Nowadays the expected return is much more thanks to new metrics tools that allow you to track the true impact of your news after it’s been released. The game has changed but this particular post isn’t a piece on measuring ROI.
Putting together a news release requires many elements, from the simple to the sophisticated. Just like a house requires nails, it also requires a plumbing system and electricity. These 8 rules start with the simple, easy-to-master techniques that can bring about instant change to the quality of your communication. They continue to more tactical measures that when mastered, over time, can transform not only the announcements you put out, but the expectations your market will have for your news.
Avoid unnecessary jargon
Journalists and other media professionals are experts at providing newsworthy content to the public. However, they most likely aren’t experts in whatever field your content is sourced from. For this reason, keep the language of your release at a level that outsiders to your industry will understand. Attorneys use different language when discussing a case with each other than when talking to a jury, and there’s a good reason for that change in communication. Pretend your target audience is a high school student – educated enough to understand your message, but foreign to the fine details of specific industries. Don’t ignore what your company does, simply write so your news attracts your industry experts, but can also speak to all potential audiences.
Include multimedia to improve the likelihood of triggering a positive response by journalists, analysts and consumers
If the 1980s was the Pepsi Generation then we currently find ourselves with the multimedia generation. Technology has evolved to become the apex delivery systems of multimedia. From smartphones to tablets to television sets that allow you to access the Internet, audiences have come to expect multimedia at every turn. There are also scientific reasons behind audiences’ affinity for images and videos. Regardless of why people are intrigued by these assets, you must include assets that tell your story to increase message adoption and affinity with your brand.
Did we mention that AP media subscribers do not utilize news releases without multimedia assets? Don’t limit your audience and release potential with text-only news releases.
Write a press release that anticipates questions reporters, analysts and other readers will ask
Is your announcement interesting? Find out what’s interesting about it that audiences would want to know and craft your release from that angle. Reporters and analysts are writing for a news consuming public. They need to provide their audiences with enough information so that the readers feel like they know the full story. They accomplish this by putting themselves in the audience’s shoes and asking questions that a reader would want answered. Put yourself in the same shoes and ask yourself: what details are interesting and important to my audience and theirs?
Instead of keywords, include search phrases your audiences use to find your products, services or organization online
As search engines become more sophisticated so do the audiences that use them. Instead of cramming keywords in your article, include company or product specific phrases that are commonly used to locate your products, services or organization. Your release is providing a specific message about a specific industry, and you want to reach people eager to consume that message. So use the phrases they are currently using to ensure easy news release discovery.
Don’t just get the reader’s attention, do something with it
Anyone reading your press release is a potential brand fan. Activate them by including a call to action that directs the reader to your desired next step. There’s a reason why you’re going through the trouble of crafting engaging content and the reason is the hope of a return on that investment. Start working on that return as soon as possible by providing a bridge between your release and your product.
Use Google Analytics' URL Builder to track the traffic your press release drives to your website
What good is a news release if you can’t track the results? By using URL builders you can identify the stream of potential clients that are using your news release as a bridge to your product. URL builders can alert you to new inbound traffic, repeat visitors, purchase intent and even if your landing pages are successful enough or not. Set benchmarks and tweak your communications to maximize results.
Use measurement data to improve future press releases and positioning
Measurement tools offer deep insight into how your news is traveling the internet (via social media platforms) and impact market trading behavior. This series of data can aid you in identifying what’s working and what isn’t in order to put out news that best drives in engaged and activated audiences.
Build a better relationship with key reporters and bloggers by socially sharing their coverage to increase the traffic to your news
Building a professional relationship with media professionals will impact the attention your news receives. Journalists, bloggers, and other media professionals come across an immense amount of breaking stories every day. Sometimes it takes more than just having a great piece of news to get their attention – it takes direct access to their attention in the form of an ongoing professional relationship. By reaching out to them with emails and showing genuine interest in their work, you are triggering a bond between newsmaker and news provider. This is a symbiotic relationship. Socially sharing their coverage is mutually beneficial and creates greater visibility for your news, directly impacting ROI.
Learn more about good press release writing at PR News' webinar How to Write Effective Press Releases That Reporters Will Actually Read on Tuesday, August 18 at 1:30pm ET.
Vilan Trub is a marketing copywriter at Business Wire. Follow them @BusinessWire.