How To Write A Press Release

How To Write A Press Release

Jeffrey Willenbrink

Online press releases are a stronghold of the public relations business – a viable method of communicating news to the media and making announcements worldwide. A press release is a digital marketing tool for announcing your business, or a new service within your business, to the media.

The media is the essentially the target audience for a press release. The media consists of editors and journalists for newspapers, magazines, newsletters and trade publications, as well as television and radio stations. When your company releases a new press release, you want it in the hands of the media as soon as possible so that the news does not become stale. Therefore, it is important to have your press release featured in the chief places the media will use to search for information on a regular basis.

Middleberg/Ross conducted a survey and found,
98% of journalists go online daily
92% conduct online article research
81% conduct general searches
76% are looking for sources or experts
73% go online to find press releases

Because 73% of journalists go online daily, specifically in search of press releases, it is important to optimize online press releases to be found by major search engines.

Here are the basic steps for optimizing press releases:

Identify the target audience
Develop a segmentation strategy. The purpose of a press release is to reach the media, but it can also be used to reach potential web visitors and prospective clients.

Decide on a major keyword phrase(s)
Identify three to five search engine optimization keywords or phrases that people are most likely to use to find information on the topic in your press release.

Keyword phrase in headlines
Place the most important keyword phrase into the press release headline.

Keyword frequency
Keeping the keyword frequency around 2% within the body of the press release. If your press release is 300 words, six words can be keywords meaning you can use your keyword / phrase three times.

Use keywords instead of pronouns
Substitute keyword phrases for pronouns like “it” to increase keyword frequency.

Include keywords in subheadings
If the press release is three or more paragraphs, include a subheading that uses keyword phrases.

Include a link to your home page
Be sure to add a link back to your own website and make certain you include the https:// at the beginning of the link. This is an easy way to gain links from other sites and increase your link portfolio.

Post your press release on your website
The press release should be posted on its own page on your website and should be linked from your home page.

Submit the press release to distribution services
Linking is an important optimization strategy not only for websites but also for press release pages. Make sure your finalized press releases are submitted to distribution services. Also, take the time to develop linking strategies with similar PR sites as your own.

Noticeably missing from the list of steps for a press release optimization is the construction of meta tags. The meta tags do not appear to have great affect on rankings in the search engines. However, if used properly, they do not harm a press release’s rankings on an engine either. Title tags appear to be used more frequently in online press releases than the description and keywords tags. For instance, the majority of press releases ranking within the the top ten results on Google News are not using keyword or description tags, but are using a title tag. If you choose to utilize meta tag data in your press release page, follow the same guidelines as for optimizing a website.

Submitting a press release to distribution services is one of the most important steps. There are over 4,500 news sources online. Of those 4,500, Google, Bing and Yahoo tend to trust a far fewer amount.

However, before submitting your press release to distribution services make sure it is well-formatted and, above all, a quality source of information. First-rate online press releases follow these guidelines:

Craft a compelling headline
The headline makes your release stand out. Keep it short, active and descriptive.

Hook reader with the first paragraph
A first paragraph should summarize the five W’s: who, what, when, where, when and why.

Keep it interesting
The press release should be informative but appealing. Stay away from academic-style writing. Remember, you are writing for potential clients, not an essay test.

Use the inverted pyramid format
Put the most important information at the beginning. This will grab the reader’s attention, and benefit you in the search engine results.

Provide contact information
Provide the reader with mail address, telephone, fax, email and website URL.

Use block format
Structure your press release in block format by not indenting your paragraphs.

Keep it short
Try to keep your press release between 200-500 words; this should be enough to cover your news event and prompt people to take action while fitting within the preferred range of an optimized page.

Proofread and proofread
Proofread your press release more than once.
Yahoo, Bing and Google receive millions of visitors per day and an ever increasing number of individuals are getting their news and information from news aggregator services.

Thousands of documents are published every day on news sites and visibility through press release optimization. Millions of prospective customers and the media are regularly searching for information on search engines, news search engines and news aggregators. Using proper press release optimization, you can achieve a measurable increase in brand visibility, traffic and revenue.