The press release has evolved over the last several decades to accommodate the digital age. What used to be something reserved for newspapers, periodicals and the nightly news has become a medium that can be used online to great effect. For instance, a properly written press release can be a very effective SEO tool. The key for website developers is to know and understand what constitutes effective press release writing.
Before we get to the three most important tips (see title above) one thing must be made abundantly clear: a press release is not supposed to be advertising copy. Search engines are very strict about this rule. If their algorithms recognise what is advertising content disguised as a press release, the website on which it is published could be punished.
With that understanding, here are our three most important tips for effective press release writing:
1. Put Some Thought into Your Title
SEO rules dictate that the title of any piece be relevant to that content. When it comes to the press release, however, your title is more important for one reason: it tells your readers whether they should spend time learning what you have to say. Your press release title should be clear, succinct, and completely accurate.
The title of this blog post is a good example. The title we chose gets right to the point. It is very direct and, through the use of the colon, demands the attention of the reader. It also spells out precisely what this blog post is all about. Your press release titles need to do the same thing. According to PR Daily’s Russell Working, press releases are not the medium for creative wordplay or ‘witty surprise’.
2. Get to the Point Early On
The primary function of the press release is to inform the general public of something new and important relating to your business. It is not to entertain or amuse. Therefore, get to the point early on. Experts say you should try to make the most important point in your first sentence and then develop it from there.
The Huffington Post’s Zack Cutler takes the concept one step further by recommending the use of hard numbers or other similar kinds of data when available. This helps to cement the idea that you are presenting facts rather than trying to market.
3. Watch Your Word Count
Length is important for a press release. In the publishing world, the general rule is to keep your release small enough to be contained on a single printed page. In the digital arena, 400-500 words is sufficient. Remember, you are presenting facts to your audience in order to inform them about something important relating to your business. By watching your word count, you can give readers just enough information to let them know the basics while at the same time encouraging them to contact you to learn more.
As a follow-up to our final tip, be sure to include legitimate contact information at the end of your press release. This includes the name of your company, your mailing address, telephone number, and e-mail. If all you present is a link to your website and an e-mail address, you are asking not to be taken seriously.
Effective press release writing can generate buzz about your business and drive online traffic. Connotations offers a press release writing service that gets results, based on the proven standards of this medium. If you are interested in learning more about how press releases can benefit your business, we welcome your inquiries.