When you write a great press release, it should be newsworthy and get the attention you demand. The real question is — what is newsworthy? So often in today’s environment, the press release is looked at by some as another form of digital advertising. It takes some serious reflection to understand what constitutes a great press release. No doubt, a press release is a fantastic tool for entrepreneurs or small businesses to highlight their success or achievements.
Consider the Facts
Let’s look at a few facts to bring things into perspective when you consider whether or not to write a press release:
There are about 30 million businesses in the US and about 50,000 journalists working in the US.
The press release is about 112 years old and has been an invaluable tool for businesses and marketing professionals to engage journalists. With the advent of the telegraph, the fax machine, and digital media, the platform for transmitting information has grown exponentially over the years.
Because of this explosive growth, editorial assistants are overwhelmed by the sheer volumes of information coming at them. Journalists are flooded with hundreds of press releases in their email every day, which means you have to be compelling and get their attention.
Keys to Success
Don’t let these facts deter you from developing a great press release. The key to success is to use some best practices to ensure that your information gets the required attention.
Headlines Get Attention – A great headline is compelling and is what gets the attention of a journalist. Keep the length to six words, and feel free to use a subheading to support the heading’s point.
Have a Purpose – The first paragraph of a great press release concisely tells the story. There is a good chance the journalist won’t go past the first paragraph, so make it count.
Stick to the Basics – Practice the basics of great storytelling: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. These points, of course, should be followed up with How. These simple basics are the meat and potatoes of your story. Without the basics, there is a good chance your press release will be deleted.
Lead with Style – Style matters with a great press release. Keep your sentences short and be precise with grammar and spelling. A journalist’s basic skill sets encompass spelling and grammar. Too many errors will get your release deleted.
Thoughts to Close
At the end of the day, writing a great press release will get you results. Think about what you are announcing and carefully evaluate whether it is newsworthy or not. Never submit a release just for SEO purposes. A press release is great for improving SEO and off-site rankings, but it is not worth the damage it can cause when it doesn’t get the required attention. A careful and thoughtful PR and marketing strategy will get results using the press release as a tool that it is intended to be.
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