Throw all of your standard cookie cutter press release ideas out. Nobody wants to read the same press release time and again. Would you? They’ll notice and just stop paying attention. Over the years I have read a large number of press releases that simply don’t cut it. Because of that, here are 5 tips to help take your press release to the next level.
- Include a quote. Quotes from high-ranking individuals, especially a respected third-party outside your organization, can really elevate your press release from good to great. It’s important because it brings a more personal connection to the reader, it increases visibility in search, and its helps complete your story.
- Story is important, so make it newsworthy. You need to know why someone would want to read it before you write it. What makes this press release worth writing? Give it a thought. Then, craft the press release to focus on one big takeaway for the reader. In today’s world, there are countless press releases coming out each day but only a few of them are ever actually read. Every story will be different so this is why the cookie cutter approach doesn’t work. Get them hooked, focus on the brand, and leave them wanting more.
- Avoid overused words and phrases such as “world class.” You can evoke the feelings of being world class and cutting edge without having to say it. These words are something people have come to expect when reading or writing press releases. Needless to say, it doesn’t help you stand out. If you think you have no other option, try writing the same sentence 3 or 4 different ways without using the overused word in question. If that doesn’t work you’re focusing too hard on one sentence. It’s time to go back to my second point and think about the whole story again.
- Use keywords appropriately. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a powerful thing. The quote will definitely help your SEO efforts, especially if your quote if from someone respected in your field. But, when I say used keywords appropriately I mean it. Not everyone reading your press release will be within your industry. With this in mind, make it understandable to the average person. Sometimes PR writers get too stuck on fitting in all of the industry jargon that they lose readership. It’s still okay to fit in your keywords, just make sure it makes sense to your neighbor, your boss, and your spouse.
- Lastly, the first sentence makes the biggest difference. It’s like making a first impression. Start strong and let the reader know why they should read more. In the first sentence of this post I told you to throw out your normal ideas of a press release. Whether you liked hearing that or not it intrigued you to read more. Here’s a fine example. In a recent press release out of General Motors titled Tonawanda Turns the Page, their first sentence says, “Four million, one hundred and forty-nine thousand.” Now I want to read more. Its a big number and it’s a far from average way to start a press release. They go on to talk about engine production with the lowest warranty costs in all of GM. This could have been just another stale article but the first sentence captures you from the start. Set up your press release for greatness and make your first impression count.
What other ways have you found to take your press release to the next level?