An effective marketing plan for any company includes a variety of promotional tools. One of the most powerful and cost effective is the press release.
A well-written press release can dramatically increase your sales, expose your company to prospective customers and enhance the image of your business or products. And the exposure can be virtually unlimited.
No longer are you restricted to print and broadcast media. You can post press releases online as fresh content for your website or blog. And you can distribute your press releases to news websites like Google News for further visibility.
“A press release isn’t going to magically get your company featured on the cover of Forbes or Fast Company,” writes Brian Dean in an article where he examines Why Send Out a Press Release in 2019. “But when done right, a release can be a powerful tool to spread the word about cool stuff that your company is doing.”
“They are a great way to get the word out about a company, product, or service, and to more effectively brand that company, product, or service,” he says. “If a release is engaging enough, it also can generate social signals and chatter and sharing; direct targeted and organic traffic back to a website; and create journalistic interest abroad. This is all in addition to the sweet maraschino cherry on top – vast news and major media coverage.”
Think your company has nothing to publicize? Think again. While big news is great, you don’t have to wait until you have earth-shattering announcements. You can write about anything your organization is doing. Some ideas for press releases are:
- Company launches
- Creation of new division
- Staff hiring or promotion
- New programs
- New products
- New applications for existing products
- New study or statistics
- Product endorsed by well-known person
- Participation in a charity event
- Key people speaking at a conference
- Hosting a business event
- Speaking engagements
- Winning an award
- Publishing a white paper or report
- Tie-in with hot or trending topic
Once you have a newsworthy topic, then it’s time to get down to writing your press release.
“When writing a press release, your goals should be uniqueness, timeliness and top-of-the-mind awareness,” according to Entrepreneur.com. You can hire a professional press release copywriter or craft your own copy, keeping the following guidelines in mind:
1. Create a compelling headline. It should be brief, clear and to the point, an ultra-compact version of the press release’s key point. Be sure to include your keywords to catch the reader’s interest and also the attention of search engines.
2. Start strong. Your first paragraph should tell the story. The rest of your press release should provide the detail. Your lead should highlight the most interesting part of your release — that new product, upcoming event or award won. You have a matter of seconds to grab your readers’ attention. Don’t blow it with a weak opening.
3. Use keyword-rich copy. Use those phrases that will help people find you via search engines. For example, if you’re an Orlando copywriter promoting the fact you’ve won an award, be sure to use that exact phrase, “Orlando copywriter,” several times in your text.
4. Be concise. Don’t exceed two pages. A press release that’s too long won’t get read.
5. Keep it simple. Internet readers don’t read word for word. They scan. Use short sentences. Steer clear of fancy language and jargon. Consider incorporating bulleted or numbered points, which make for quick reading and comprehension.
6. Focus on facts. Provide the relevant information without editorializing. Tell the truth. Avoid fluff, embellishments and exaggerations. Same goes for unsubstantiated claims. You want your press release to read like an article in a newspaper — a straightforward presentation of the facts minus excessive hype — so editors can copy and paste sections of your release into their story without having to rework the copy. Make it easy for them and they’re more likely to publish your press release over someone else’s.
7. Write it well. Your press release is a reflection on your company. Check your grammar and spelling.
8. Incorporate links. While Google ignores press release backlinks, your release can get picked up and syndicated on sites that use dofollow links, which can help your ranking on search engines. Those links can also deliver potential customers to your website.
9. Add quotes. Have someone in an official capacity provide their commentary in the form of a few sentences that you can incorporate into the text as direct quotes. Here’s where you can interject some emotion and editorializing.
10. Include your contact information. Give reporters and readers an easy way to get in touch if they have questions or want more details. You can also let them know you’re willing to assist journalists with their story. Say something like, “For questions about this study, a comment on its findings, or an interview with the authors of the study, contact Susan at SusanG@gmail.com.”
11. Don’t forget a call to action. Use your press release to prompt your reader to take additional action such as visit your website, subscribe to your blog or even make a purchase.
12. Add a picture. Photos can draw the eye and add interest to any write-up. Charts, graphs and illustrations can also work. Use captions to help tell the story.
If you write and distribute your press releases correctly, you can reach your prospects directly. The benefits are numerous and the costs are far less than purchasing paid advertising. Make use of this highly-effective marketing tool, and you’ll soon be reaping the benefits of free publicity.
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