When launching a new site, product, service or promoting an existing business, a well-crafted press release has all the potential to gain attention from industry experts, news outlets, bloggers and most importantly, customers.
If you’re lucky enough to find your press release syndicated by a major outlet, it could mean an avalanche of traffic and high quality, one-way, inbound links to your site.
Earlier this year, I created a press release for a new service I was launching and it was syndicated by Yahoo News! which resulted in over 40,000 hits in one week and over 3,000 inbound links!!
While some people may overlook the press release believing there is little value or it is simply too costly, those assumptions are simply incorrect. A well-written, professionally distributed press release will always be the cornerstone of an effective publicity campaign.
In this article, I won’t go into the distribution aspect, instead I’ll be examining the components and focusing on writing an effective press release.
The 4 Components of a Press Release
- The Headline
- The Summary
- The News Body
- Company / Author Information
The Headline – “The Attention Grabber”
When writing an effective press release, the headline is the single most important piece of the puzzle. If viewers are not interested in what they see in the headline, they probably won’t bother reading any further. This is a worst case scenario.
Keep your headline short yet engaging while being direct as possible. By all means, utilize keywords (do not stuff Keywords -It may confuse search engines)in your headline but be careful of going overboard. Make sure your headline uses proper grammar and there are no spelling errors. Whatever you do, NEVER use all capitals but DO capitalize each and every appropriate word in the headline.
Here are a few examples of good and bad press release headlines :
Good : New Website Offers Cash Back Rewards to Shoppers
Good : Affiliate Magazine Celebrates 15 Years by Featuring Top Affiliates
Good : SEO TV Debuts Nationally with Guest Donna Rankings
Bad : Finally, a shopping website even grandma can love (poor capitalization)
Bad : CPA And CPM Affiliate Has Increased By 200 Percent (ambiguous)
Bad : Real Black Hat Secret Unleashes at Boot Camp (poor grammar)
From the examples above, you can easily see which headlines catch attention and which ones don’t. When writing an effective press release, you will be putting content in front of people who are well versed in writing skills. A headline that is poorly capitalized and grammatically incorrect is the fastest way to have your press release overlooked by the people who can syndicate it.
The Summary – “Get Local and Make Them Want More”
The summary of a press release is condensed version of the press release’s News Body. The summary should expand on the headline and engage the reader’s interest even further. It’s recommended that when writing an effective press release, to include the company name, location and other relevant details that might attract local print media or even local television to pick up your release for syndication.
Here are good and bad examples of press release summaries :
Good : Phoenix, Arizona based manufacturing firm Acme Widgets, known for their production of high quality anvils, has announced production of inflatable detour signs. “This innovative new product is designed to assist coyotes in catching roadrunners and eliminate the high margin of error” stated Elmer Fudd, founder and president of Acme Widgets.
Bad : Does it matter if your new home addition looks like it was built by monkeys? If you live in the historic district, where residents are critical of code enforcement, the answer is yes. That’s why you need to call Acme Construction for your next remodeling effort.
In the first example, the author effectively pushed localized company information in the summary of a release. In the second release, the author assumed the reader will figure out the localized info for themselves.
Some of you may be wondering “why should I include localized company information when I’m promoting a website?”
The answer is this technique gives your press release the advantage in reaching local news and media sources. More likely than not, a local news source will be interested in local businesses and your press release will have a better chance of being picked up for syndcation.
The News Body – “The Meat and Potatoes”
When writing an effective press release, the news body is the place to go into greater detail. If your press release is for a website (ie: Gauravheera.com), make certain every time you mention the site you include the domain extension (ie: Gauravheera.com) and not the base name.
The second thing to remember is DO NOT engage in negativity or name calling in your press release. Never, under any circumstances, use your release to downgrade the competition. This is one of the most common mistakes made by novices and can have a long lasting impact on your business. Additionally, never make statements such as “XYZ company is the best…”, “XYZ company beats the competition…”, or any type of blatant self-promotion.
Use facts and concise information in the news body of your press release while avoiding excessive quotes or customer testimonials.
Company Information – “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”
There is absolutely no viable reason to create a press release if you’re only going to leave an email address or website URL as your contact information. To begin with, no respectable media outlet will syndicate a press release without real-world physical contact information.
I’ve seen far too many website press releases doing this and none of them have been picked up by significant media outlets. Sure, Facebook, Twitter or eBay can get away with publishing only a URL but it’s not good practice for unknown businesses to go without. If you are seriously intending to have your release picked and syndicated, at minimum, it should include contact phone number.
Final Note on Writing an Effective Press Release
One final tip for writing an effective press release is to make sure the release is spell checked and proofread before submitting it. A second set of eyes on the press release will sometimes turn up spelling or grammar errors the author might have missed and there’s nothing worse than finding errors in a your release after it’s been distributed.
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