How to Optimize Press Releases for Shareability


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Taylor Cole

In 2013, a lot of focus shifted away from impressions and moved toward shareable media.

Sites like BuzzFeed, The Onion and Gawker were among some of the major content producers that created a new narrative—shares are king. That is, shares make your content sticky and bring in new audiences. Not only that, but shares are an extremely attractive metric to advertisers.

Of course, for PR pros, creating shareable content is a bit trickier. Posting shareable content for a branded website is one thing, but crafting a release and distributing it to journalists is another. Now, your news pitches must have panache and characteristics that shout “share me.”

Easier said than done.

Still, there ways to convince journalists that your news is shareworthy. With that in mind, PR News asked Taylor Cole, director of public relations and social media at Hotels.com and a facilitator at PR News' Feb. 4 Writing Boot Camp at the Westin San Francisco, a few questions on how to write shareable press releases.

PR News: What really makes a press release shareworthy?

Taylor Cole: Press releases are shareworthy when they’re accurate, well-written (to the point) and timely. With the abundance of information available to consumers and the media, press releases will no longer be the primary source of data on a brand’s topic. Instead, press releases will increase awareness, spur conversation and help build a brand’s reputation.

PR News: How do you craft a release to read like a news story? 

Cole: Begin by considering the headline you’d like to read about your brand’s topic, then work backwards to tell the story with the who, what, when, where, why (and why should I care?). As you’re crafting the release, be mindful that any good news story will be balanced and present all sides of an issue. Your release will need to be balanced as well (and not masquerade as a stand-alone sales tool).

People have short attention spans. Don’t waste your first paragraph on obvious information that any consumer could easily gather elsewhere. Use the first paragraph to draw readers into your story and give them the call to action early.

PR News: What is your number one actionable tip for writing better releases?

Cole: Never miss an opportunity to include visuals such as photos, infographics, short videos or charts with your press releases. Visuals can be shared along with the text of your release to draw more eyes to your content. Tag your images or visual content with your brand and add keywords that illustrate your topic. With social media and web links, visuals can become the initial driver to lead viewers to your release, blog or brand’s website for more information.

Learn more from Taylor Cole at PR News' Writing Bootcamp on Feb. 4, at the Westin San Francisco.

Follow Taylor Cole: @TravelwithTLC

Follow Caysey Welton: @CayseyW




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About Caysey Welton

Caysey Welton is Associate Editor at PR News and Folio: Magazine. He spent more than a decade as a chef and restaurant professional before switching tracks to pursue his passion for media and communications. Caysey has a deep interest in converging media landscapes and ecosystem disruptors, public relations and crisis communications. He holds a BS in Media, Culture and Communications from New York University.



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