In today’s digital age people are consuming an incredible amount of information on a daily basis. With the widespread use and availability of technology, most people are consuming their news and information through some sort of online medium.
According to the Pew Research Center, today almost as many U.S. adults say they prefer to get their local news through the internet as prefer to do so through a television set. Going beyond digital being the preferred information consumption pathway, 89% of Americans get at least some of their local news through a digital source.
This isn’t just mainline consumers who prefer to get their news from online sources. This is becoming the standard for most modern day countries. It’s an effortless task to whip out your iphone or tablet while you are on the go and check out the latest piece of news, product release, or celebrity drama.
It’s a matter of convenience and speed.
These digital changes are causing different forms of marketing and advertising to evolve in ways to please the readers. Many people are under the assumption that press releases are an old and dying form of marketing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
There are serious advantages of a press release especially in today’s fast paced and growing digital landscape.
They are a serious form of branding and can bring a lot of credibility to a new brand or business. Press releases provide companies a way to get instant exposure to their products or services and help them get discovered.
An effective press release has the ability to:
- Help a new brand or product get discovered
- Generate social sharing
- Website traffic for the brand
- Generate product or service sales
In order to help get the most out of your press release, it’s very important to follow some important rules for writing a good press release. These rules will help your craft your press release in a way that resonates with an audience.
Reading tip: The Inverted Pyramid Style of Content Writing
Rule #1) Keep It Short and To the Point
As a general rule of thumb your press release shouldn’t exceed two pages. If you can manage to get all the information in a single page, that is even better. Focus on keeping the language inside your press release simple, concise and well balanced.
Most PR agencies and editors don’t want to deal with long winded PR releases that will fail to quickly grab the attention of their readers.
So, it’s important to have a concise layout of how you plan to address the main points of the product or service without losing the attention of readers.
Rule #2) Use Powerful Attention Grabbing Headlines
The headline of your press release should do a good job of gently summing up the story with enough mystery to make the reader want to find out further details into what is really going on.
The reader should know exactly what they are getting into and the title should be able to grab their interest with a few strong words. You shouldn’t try to overdue your headlines as it can cause some confusion for your readers base.
Your headlines should follow the Four U’s in order to remain effective and help to increase your conversions.
- Your headline should be unique.
- The content of your headlines should be ultra-specific in its message.
- It should have a sense of urgency to invoke the reader to take action.
- The headline should be useful and provide valuable information for the reader.
It’s important to note that you won’t be able to squeeze in every one of the 4 U’s in a headline, but if you can manage to get at least two of them in there it will make your headline more effective and thought provoking. Use Powerful Attention Grabbing Headlines
Below is an example:
- “Why All Guys Cheat, Fresh Insight”
- “10 Reasons Civilization May Collapse Because of Organic Foods”
- “Six Types of Investors – Which Group Are You In?”
All of these headlines happen to have at least one of the 4 U’s inside them which makes them very likely to cause readers to want to find out more information.
Rule #3) Give the Important Information Immediately
It should be your focus to give all of the important information in your press release in the first paragraph and keep it very concise and to the point. This information can include:
- Who you are
- What you do
- Why the announcement is being made
- Location of where something will be happening
- The time it will be happening
- The reason for the release
By giving this information immediately in the first paragraph you enable yourself to deliver the main points of the release without wasting people’s time and give them everything they need to continue reading further.
This is the main principle taught inside the inverted pyramid style of writing. It summarizes the most important elements of a story first in order to draw readers in and grab their immediate attention.
Example: Education secretary faces backlash after demanding schools reopen full-time amid pandemic
“ Education Secretary Betsy DeVos faced backlash Monday for demanding that schools reopen for full-time in-person instruction in the fall — even in places where the virus is surging in the American South and West and without offering a specific plan on how to do so safely — and doubling down on a threat to cut funding to schools that don’t.”
This paragraph immediately gives all the relevant information that is outlined in the title and satisfies all the important elements of the first phase of the inverted pyramid style of writing. It’s effective, thought provoking and draws the reader in to very important global issues.
Rule #4) Include an Illustrative Image
People are visual creatures.
Images are a source for grabbing the attention of people in order to get them interested about news, products and information.
Your press release should feature a high quality image which pertains to the story that you are writing about. Images help people to understand news deeper and it’s much more interactive and entertaining.
If you happen to be creating a press release for a product or service, you should always include a teaser photo of the product or service so people can get an idea of what they can expect if they decide to make a purchase.
You should try to make it visually interesting for your readers and include a picture of yourself or the logo of your company. This will increase your brand awareness and help people make a connection with your product or service.
When images are placed correctly inside a press release they have been known to increase conversion rates significantly.
Suggested Reading: How Images Can Boost Your Conversion Rate
Rule #5) Include Facts and Strong Figures For Your Story
Unique and compelling writing is important in a press release, but by including strong facts and figures in your writing you can make it truly stand out. Validated facts and figures can make your press release much more significant and allow you to develop further trust with the reader.
If you have strong factual evidence to back up claims you are making about a product or service it will make it that much more convincing for people to purchase your product or service.
It will also establish your brand as an authority figure and allow people to make their purchasing decisions based on strong facts rather than illusive sales tactics.
Including facts and figures for your story allows you to further educate your audience and give them something to think about that they may have not considered in the past.
Rule #6) Include Important and Memorable Quotes
Including quotes inside your press release brings in a human element to the story and creates a different perspective for the readers. It can further stimulate the reader in a unique way and make the story more relatable.
It’s important that you only include quotes if they add value to the story. There’s no value add for the reader if you simply include a quote to include a quote. Make sure it relates to the story and the narrative.
Quotes can act as a way for people to remember an individual or brand and help convey deeper or sentimental bond with a product or service.
It acts as the emotional quotient that some consumers might need in order to make the decision about whether or not they want to buy a product. Quotes can also act as social proof that people are looking for in order to validate their decision.
Rule #7) Know Your Target Audience
This rule should come as no surprise. Before you even begin to write out a press release you should know your product and service inside and out. This will ensure that you target the correct audience with your press release.
Knowing who will read your content comes down to working effectively with your PR firm. They will be the ones to give you a deep dive into the type of audience they plan to distribute the press release to.
Once you have a clear picture of the type of audience you will market your product or service to, you can then carefully decide what kind of strategic writing to use inside the PR release. It is absolutely imperative to know the type of demographic that will receive the press release.
If you have a killer press release but it targets the wrong audience it’s a waste of time, money, and effort. Let’s take a look at the important audience factors you should consider before your craft your press release.
Important Target Audience Factors to Consider for Your Press Release
Knowing your audience will help you create a more targeted press release which will only help your brand and business more.
Let’s take a look at some of the important audience factors to consider:
- Education level
These will not always be the easiest to pinpoint with exact precision, but if you have a baseline understanding of your audience you can position your writing effectively in order to maximize the efforts of your press release.
Your press release should be carefully written to make sure you don’t stereotype your audience based on certain demographic stats.
It should also be written in a way that is not meant to target exclusively one group. This can cause your press release to be disastrous.
Knowing these audience factors and knowing what to avoid will help you craft a press release that is effective and encompasses all audience factors. As mentioned before, work closely with your PR firm so you have as much information as possible about the distribution of your press release.
Further Reading: Why Knowing Your Audience is Important For Your Press Release
Rule #8) Expand The Story of the Release
Each additional paragraph should expand on the main topics of the first two paragraphs and go into further important details that may not have been covered. This is where you should aim to include additional information about a product or service that you are promoting or the news story.
After that it’s important to give supporting data and evidence to further support your claims about the product, service or news story that you are promoting in the press release.
Next you should aim to put yourself in the shoes of the reader and see what kind of questions they may possibly have that you can further expand upon.
Once you get ready to wrap it up you can reiterate important points in the story which can further emphasize the main goal of your press release. This can act as an additional way to finish off your press release in a strong and effective way.
Rule #9) Add Company Profile and BackGround Information
The company profile and background component of the press release should be included at the end of the press release. This is a very common practice that is used in to give credit to the company behind the press release.
It should explain the important facts about the company such as:
- when the company was started
- the main headquarters
- number of employees
- main products and services
- the type of customers that they service.
A small paragraph that is full of this information will suffice. You can even include some interesting facts about the company as an added extra.
This should be very simple and straightforward and should function as a way for people to find your website and more information about your business
Rule #10) Fix Syntax and Spelling Errors
Although an obvious rule, there are often press releases with invalid information, grammatical issues and low quality images. The quality of your press release directly impacts the perception of your brand and business.
It’s extremely important that your press release is free of grammatical errors, uses high-quality images, and has correct data to substantiate its claims and information it provides to its readers.
All it takes is one time to break the trust of your readers and you can lose them forever. So it’s important you relay truthful information and present it in a high quality manner without a hard leaning bias.
Consumers have evolved to be intelligent and they will be able to tell whether or not what you are presenting is fact or fiction.
By following these rules for writing a good press release you ensure maximum effort in making the press release as high quality, relevant and appealing to your readers as possible. Once you do one press release, don’t stop there.
Analyze the performance of it and consider using it as a regular advertising method inside your marketing mix.