Some people equate a press release to a bland announcement, some people think it is a communication meant to hype up things, some consider it as a mere formality – well, who says some people can’t be wrong all the time! A press release can boost traffic, create quality backlinks, generate customers and even engineer tie-ups – provided it is done the right way, and here’s how it should be done:
Essentials of a press release
1. Always remember that a press release is not a sales letter. It is, however, an announcement about the introduction of a new product or service. If you don’t have a new product or service, you might want to hold up writing a press release.
2. A good press release doles out valuable information about a product, service, offer or organization. There should be no hype in a press release.
3. The headline is the hook of a press release. Without a good headline, a press release can have great content and be overlooked. There must be an element of drama created in the first paragraph that will cause the person reading to want to read the second paragraph. It must include the what, why, when, where and who in the first paragraph of the press release.
4. Content in a press release must always be newsworthy. It may be picked up the national media services and become part of a bigger story, so you need to write it like it is going to a large newspaper.
5. The press release must be interesting to read. While it is true that you’d like to glorify your product, it is also true that the reader wants to feast his eyes on worthy content – so, always think like a reader when you draft your press release.
6. Avoid all cliched statements.
7. Avoid stale headlines such as “New Website Offers 10% Off”; instead work around the forte and USP of your product/service and hammer that message in.
8. Add testimonials where possible. A press release is factual about a product or service, and with back up, it increases in credibility.
9. Press releases are known for being factual, devoid of fluff and without any exaggeration. Keep the adjectives to a minimum when writing and state facts.
10. Use dynamic, peppy language, but don’t use slang. The press release must be written in an active voice.
11. Keep your press release clear and concise. Use the KISS* method when crafting your piece. (*Keep It Simple & Savvy).
12. Avoid overusing uppercase letters and follow basic rules of grammar.
13. When writing your press release, keep in mind that you will need to summarize it. All PR websites publish press releases in total, but for their listings use your summary. Be very clear in the summary and push benefits for reading further.
14. Develop a strong resource box that talks about you or your website and carries a link back to it.
These were some guidelines for writing a good press release. Follow them, and you’ll come up with a cracker that will get you hits, publicity and therefore more sales. Good luck!
– Kale McClelland