Press releases are a crucial tool for public relations professionals: they help deliver a brand’s message to the media as well as the public in a fast and efficient way. Thousands of press releases are distributed daily by various wire services. That’s a lot of content across multiple channels, vying to be read! Given all the competition out there, how can you make your press release stand out from the crowd? Here are some important tips and tricks to consider.
1. Keep your Content Easy-to-Read and Newsworthy
If your release is not engaging from the first sentence, there is a good chance the reader will click away. Having an interesting and compelling headline and first paragraph is extremely important to help capture your reader’s attention from the onset.
When you begin to write your press release, ask yourself: what question is this press release answering? Search engines are more likely to rank your content higher in results when the content directly answers user queries. Additionally, presenting your content in bite-sized chunks by using bullet points or shorter paragraphs makes it easier to read and increases user time on the page.
2. Don’t Overlook the Importance of a Compelling Headline
The headline is your first impression. If you don’t capture your reader’s attention with the headline, it could be ignored. A lot of journalists are using news terminals to see press releases. Therefore, when they are combing through hundreds of releases they will only see the headlines. From there, the journalist will decide if they want to click and read the rest of the release. To make sure you’re writing a compelling headline, keep the following notes in mind:
- Your headline should be shareable across social media platforms. Stick to a headline that is a maximum of 140 characters.
- Content that generates engagement or is shared on social media is more likely to receive better search engine visibility.
- If you are having trouble keeping your headline short, consider using a sub-headline to provide readers with more information.
- Use a number in your headline (if appropriate) as headlines with numbers have been shown to receive better engagement.
- Use important keywords in the first 55-70 characters. This will not only help with SEO, but it will ensure your keywords are not cut off in search results or email subject lines.
3. Always Include Multimedia
One of the best ways to capture your audience’s attention and boost SEO is to include visual content. Including photos and videos has been proven to significantly increase engagement. A study by PR Newswire showed that press releases that included images received an average of 1.4 times more views than text-only releases. Video releases averaged 2.8 times more views than text only – double the performance of releases that included images.
4. Include a Call-to-Action
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen, even with well-written press releases, is that there is no clear action being asked of the reader. Are you trying to sell something? Do you want a reader to fill out a form? A clear call-to-action in a release is crucial. Keep in mind that including too many links in a release will be viewed negatively by search engines and could confuse your users. Pick a single action and lead your reader to it.
5. Keep the Boilerplate Information in the Boilerplate
Don’t be tempted to describe the company in the first paragraph of your release. If you do, you are sacrificing reader interest and SEO opportunities. The first paragraph and headline are the hook that reels a reader in. Don’t waste your prime real estate with information that can be found on every other press release you’ve written.
Your press release is a valuable earned media tool; don’t let common PR blunders derail your hard work. If you write your content with your reader top of mind, your release may soon be top of search as well!
To read the Ad Council’s recent press releases, go to: adcouncil.org/learn-with-us/press-releases