Press release writing: 10 Tips from professionals

As humans, we love being constantly informed about everything: information is power. Empower people with timely news about your industry and reap the rewards. At Sitetrail we have seen examples of how one single press release can land a B2B client worth millions: sometimes in a matter of hours after the release, or even after several months.

“The press release writing tips you are about to learn provide substantial commercial value and is part of the reason why more than 3500 releases per year are prepared by Sitetrail with a recurring client rate of 98%” (Adriaan Brits, CEO, Sitetrail.com)

A revolution in digital PR, blending modern technology with conventional news writing

Through strong industry connections encompassing media owners, our own media and technology partners, we helped revolutionize how press releases reach the media and public alike. Appearing on channels like Fox, CNBC, CBS, Marketwatch, Google News, Yahoo Finance etc. sometimes within 2 hours of a release going out – shows how effective we have become in recent years. With academic research confirming that this is one of the most efficient channels in digital marketing, it is well overdue to catch up with pay per click in budget allocations.

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The basis for online PR through press release writing can be described as follows: We are now more connected with the world than ever, and when it comes to news and online content; it would be crazy to imagine our lives without it. Our consumption of online content has made it possible for companies and businesses to find better ways to communicate with us. Whether they’re selling a new smartphone or offering the lowest premiums of health care, we want to be informed about everything. If you had to look at traditional media channels ten years ago, you might be shocked to see how many companies still used old-school avenues of public communication. Traditional ways may sometimes be better, but if you want to cater to a global community you might want to change your companies’ public relations strategy.

As mobiles and sophisticated app distribution channels, including Google News and Apple news empowered us to excel beyond the printed newspaper, so did our methods in PR shift radically. It’s now easier to publish more content on a website, social media or any other platform, the digital age have given companies the chance to have a better online presence, and be up to date with what their customers want. A simple change PR strategy has shown that companies can now make use of basic tools such as press releases and other news articles to reach a global consumer base all at once.

What is a press release?

First, it’s important to establish the name, as many people may still be confused with the difference between a news release, press release, a press statement etc. They’re all the same thing, depending on the platform where it’s used; a press release is an official announcement that is issued to media outlets.

Press releases can be written or recorded, and there is no true limit to what it can contain, as your media team or perhaps journalists will calibrate the most important information you want to get across. If you’ve ever read a press release, you probably saw that the headline is filled with great action verbs like ‘buckle up’ or ‘prepare yourself,’ and it’s exactly these headlines that got us to read the article. A press release will contain a lot of information, it quite easy to see, as the first paragraph will typically answer the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘where.’ People only read for about 30 seconds before they get bored, so you have to make sure the content in the first paragraph is captivating enough.

 

Some classic examples to demonstrate how press releases vary in nature include the following:

Institutional example 1: The White House Press Releases (Briefing statements)

Institutional example 2: UK Government Press Releases

Corporate example 1: Unilever Press Releases

Corporate example 2: The Google Press Corner

 

A sample Press Release from our clients:

 

Press releases contain a multitude of information and need to meet certain requirements; that’s why we compiled a list of top ten tips from professionals on press release writing. Pay attention to each, as they call become interweaved with one another:

Follow the Inverted Pyramid

If you’re relatively new to press release writing, don’t stress because there is a “cheat sheet” many people have been using for years. The inverted pyramid contains the most important information (who, what, when, where, when, why) right at the top. This information always goes first, as this will help readers understand what the article is about right from the start. It’s important to keep it clear and simple in this paragraph, and to ensure you answer all 5 ‘WH-questions.’

The second part will contain secondary details; this is where you can add a quote from someone involved. Be sure to make use of a good strong quote by a notable person. Finally, any additional information that you might feel is relatable to the story can be added last, this can normally be something like a follow-up or perhaps contact information if you’re selling a service or product.

FAST. BIG. LOUD & CATCHY HEADLINES!

The headline of any article is the reason why you’re reading it, not simply because you might have an interest in that topic; because the headline was fascinating. Your headline/title should be irresistible, contain action verbs and also be simple and short. Always keep the first three and last three words interesting, as people tend to just scan over those words the most when reading any headline. Make use of Google Keyword search optimization, and look which words are being searched the most online, this way you can formulate a better headline.

The WH-Questions

As already said, your first paragraph should always contain the five WH-questions. More importantly, you should make sure that whom you’re talking about gets clearly identified. If it’s someone well-known or a celebrity, use their full name as early as possible. Another great thing to do is to summarize your ‘what’ question in a simple and clear way. This will give readers a better idea of what the article is about, and what they can expect to follow.

Great Content is a winner – intercepting competitor traffic helps:

The secondary details of your article should always be clear ad straightforward. Depending on what you’re writing about, and word count, you can look at anything between 2-5 paragraphs of valuable content. It’s important that the content here is of value to the story and what you’re trying to get across. Remember, press releases are a great tool to introduce a new service or product your company is selling; so make sure it’s significant. As Adriaan Brits said: “If we help Lenovo to sell more PC’s by pointing out points of parity with Apply Macs, or BMW to sell more electric vehicles by pointing out points of parity and differences with TESLA – we do that by mentioning the competitor, along with valid and true claims. It is legitimate and yes, we do intercept competitor traffic and drive millions in revenue for our clients. That is one of the examples of what our clients consider to be great content.”

Find your angle

This is important to remember, as your angle will determine what perspective you’re taking with your story. Every angle is different, depending on who and what you’re writing about. It can be for the local community, a progression of some sorts, emotional or even about conflict. The angle is very important, as this will tie in with your content and also your five ‘WH-questions.’

Have a great quote

It’s great that you have an amazing article about someone or something, but it’s even better if you can put in what someone is saying about said topic. Providing a great quote in your secondary content will give your article more substantial ground. Quotes make press releases more personal, informative and also give the reader a more memorable experience. Always make sure your quotes are accurate and aren’t conveying the wrong message.

Keep it short & simple

No one likes to read endless texts, just to finally realize it wasn’t even worth the time. Every news article will have a word limit, as even great online content can sometimes become boring. Make sure your content is in equal paragraphs, each containing something important and relevant. Don’t add a quote to every paragraph, and don’t dump too many irrelevant words in every paragraph. Get to the point quickly.

A Boilerplate is important

This is almost the final piece of information you would add, as the boilerplate would normally contain a link to your company or any other relevant link. This link will be related to the article, and may take the reader to anything from GoFundMe campaigns to LinkedIn profiles; the boilerplate should be concise and straightforward in its delivery.

Contact press outlets personally

If you’re not going to write your own press release and would rather entrust a qualified journalist or writer, make sure to always contact them personally. This will create a better network between your company and the media outlet, but also you might get the chance to get your own press release published by them.

Press releases sell

Finally, it’s important to remember that every company or business making use of press releases is sharing something important with their selected audience. A press release could be a great marketing standpoint for a new product or service you want people to know about. You can add various media to enhance the press release and you can include a company link, which will lead the reader’s right to your website.

Here are some examples of press releases

Sample high ROI releases from a Sitetrail client:

Because the possibilities of a press release are endless, so are the ways it can be used to your company’s advantage. Some examples of press releases are:

New product launches: this is great for smartphone or tech companies, even for people bringing out a new book.

Opening a new office or relocating: If your team is growing and you’re branching out, share your great news with your clients.

Updates on existing products: With great technology, comes better software or perhaps revision thereof. Many companies use a press release to inform users if there might be an interruption in service.

Awards and Events: You won best in the show and hosting a party, tell everyone where and when this will happen and why they should come.

Rebranding and New partnerships: Some companies are merging with others to offer better services. Tell customers what to expect from your new partnership.

B2B Press releases: Naturally this drives millions in revenue compared to B2C which is a different concept. The ways in which we can actually achieve good B2B marketing by aligning newsletter communication with a B2B press release deliver a spectacular return on investment: we are talking about award-winning agency tactics that not many people are aware of.

 

 

Final takeaway on Press Releases:

Press releases are a great way for companies to clearly communicate with their customers. It’s a traditional tool, which has become more integrated with modern technology, to ensure more informative global communication. It is crucial to the revenue of your business, helps with reputation management and is one of those elements very few businesses can omit these days.

 

Quick Facts – Did you know:

[toggle title=”Who is the best: Sitetrail, PRWeb or EINPresswire?” state=”close”]If you run a business, chances are that you will need press releases frequently. We’d like to challenge you to order ONE press release from each company: Sitetrail, PRWeb and EINPresswire. Once you have done that – you will know the answer. Note that Sitetrail is the only provider who covers BOTH editorial news and press releases, with a team of in-house journalists.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”Press Releases are perfect for SEO” state=”close”]They are only effective as part of a broader SEO strategy. For example: If you have a combined PR package that can obtain both NO-Follow links from press releases and DO-Follow links from within editorial news articles – well that is the only way in which press releases will really boost SEO. It is not realistic, however, to rely on press releases alone for SEO.[/toggle]