A press release (also known as a news release) is a standardised method of informing the media about a newsworthy announcement such as an event or publication.
Attracting the attention of traditional media sources such as journalists and editors is generally the reason for writing a press release. However, with the Internet being one of the biggest sources of fresh news, publishing a press release online is a great way to attract the attention of bloggers, the general public and social media users.
When distributing a press release to the media the first section that will be read is the headline and the summary underneath. If the headline doesn't cut the mustard' then you've already wasted your time.
Constructing a catchy headline is VITAL to your press release being successful. Your main aim when writing a press release should be to attract the attention of the readers. This title/ summery should be gripping enough to encourage them to read more.
A catchy title is good, but don't forget to keep it short and sweet, you want to draw people in, not bore them.
The first paragraph should help sum up the whole story and inform the person reading what the remaining content is about. When read separately as a standalone piece of text does it make sense?
The main body of the press release is the juicy content. This is where you should go into further detail without waffling or going in to any technical jargon, think "Layman's terms". Not everyone knows the chemical compound theory & structure to iron or whatever you're trying to describe; notes to editor or further reading is the place for this technical jargon.
The best way to write and construct the body text is to remember the five golden rules:
Who? What? Where? When? Why? A good way to test whether you have covered the Five W's is to ask a colleague or a friend to read the press release and from the content alone then try and answer these Five W's.
If they can answer each one by just reading the body text then you have written a press release which covers all the standard information which a media mogul needs to cover your story. If they can't answer each question or struggle then it's back to the drawing board.
Although including the Five W's is a great way of writing a news release this is not an excuse to bulk up the body content with boring facts and technical information. KISS (Keep It Simple and Straightforward).
If you need to include any technical jargon, long statistics and detailed information do this below your main press release content. Simply write Note to Editors: and include these details underneath.
A good way to keep the reader engaged is to include a quote from a spokesperson. For example if you're writing a press release about a company event, you could include a quote from the "events coordinator". This adds an informal touch and makes the press release more human. It also highlights the key idea/ message you want to drum into your readers.
The correct way to finish writing a press release is to write END at the bottom of the main content. Below this is where you should provide contact details such as your name, role, address, email, phone number and any other contact details you wish to provide.
There's no point providing fake details, journalists might be interested in your story or may need to contact you for more information which equals publicity.
Remember to limit the press release to one page. You are covering some news, not writing a detailed account.
Just to finish off, nobody likes to see simple spelling or grammatical mistakes within a press release. It means you haven't taken the time to proof read your work. This will automatically put journalists and other media outlets off as it is considered very unprofessional
The headline of any document is the first string of content a potential visitor is going to view. This essentially means it needs to be eye catching, relevant and compelling to help draw readers in. However you need to remember to optimise your title not only for your readers but also for search engines. This means you have to remember to have a keyword present as it will help search engines thus help increase the articles widespread success and conversion rates.
Getting the right combination of keywords within your page title is something which requires a little research using keyword tools or even a thesaurus. The rewards however can make it all worthwhile as it will most definitely increase click through rates.
One of the best methods commonly used for page title optimisation is to not only use generic keywords but also long tail keywords. By combining a mixture of both helps target a wider range of customers looking for more specific and targeted information.
Generic keyword examples: “travel” “magazine” “book” “house” “dog”
Long tail keywords examples: “travel to london” “best womens magazines” “houses in manchester”
Long tail keywords are more suited to customers who are at the end of the buying cycle and who are most likely to convert. Customers who are searching for specific products have normally already researched the product and have their payment details ready to make the purchase.
Also positioning the primary keywords you have chosen at the beginning of the page title not only makes logical sense but shows that the keyword is more relevant.
The English language is readable from left to right, keywords at the beginning are read before the ones included at the end. If a keyword is at the end of the title, search engines may think that it is not as relevant.
A great technique is to make sure the press release headline is unique and has not been used before. A simple Google search for the title will confirm this. Search engines do not favour duplicate content. It essentially has no benefit to the user thus will be de-ranked.
Using other websites headlines for inspiration is fine but copying it word for word is useless and will have little to no effect not to mention may have negative repercussions on your website. In layman's terms your website might be removed from search as it might be considered spammy by Google and other dominant search engines.
Search engines use page titles as one of the main methods of calculating what your web page is about and its relevance so above all make sure this headline is structured properly.
Not only are brands unique but they are authoritative and some have a cult like customer following. Adding your brand name into the headline is always a positive step simply because not only are your results more likely to show up for the article content but also when your bran is searched for in search engines.
As a final note make sure you page title actually makes sense, avoid stuffing the title with too many keywords. Not only do search engines limit the number of characters they can display but stuffing the title with the same keyword will have a negative impact on SEO. Search engines are complex in nature and can quite easily identify content strings that are making use of black-hat techniques. We strongly advice against such behaviour as it does more harm than good.
Examples of good and bad press release titles
Below is a selection of good and bad headlines which show examples of how to optimise your press release titles.
Bad example: PR Event In Manchester
Good example: BRAND NAME Launches exciting PR event aimed at Manchester businesses
Good example 2: PR networking event for small businesses being held by BRAND NAME
Bad example: Valentines Day Competition Announced
Good example: BRAND NAME Announces Spooky Valentines Day Competition
Good example 2: A spooky Valentines day competition has been launched by BRAND NAME
Instead of stuffing headlines with the same keyword a simple and effective way to optimise your titles is to vary your keywords with synonyms. One of the easiest ways to find synonyms that Google understands is too use the “~keyword” search function.
For example if your main keyword was “hotel” alternative words that could be used are “accommodation” “lodging” “B&B” “Tourism” “housing” “hotel rooms” etc.
Repeating the same keywords can become boring for the user reading the headline and can also flag your content as spam.
Here are some tips and techniques you can use for writing catchy and compelling headlines:
Are you still struggling for ideas? Don't worry! we have combined our favourite ideas and tips on what to write your press release about. Every business has something news worthy don't miss out on the opportunity to attract new customers.
Have you signed a great deal with another business or maybe acquired another company? Share the news. Creating a press release about your latest partnerships or deals is a good way to let people know who you are working with and what your company is up to. It also shows your company has aspirations and an ever improving nature.
Has your company recently employed a new member of staff or expanded your business? If so why not create a press release about this important event. Spread the news about your new staff, reasons for employing them, what the bring to the table etc and let other local businesses and industry contacts see that you are proud of and pleased with your new staff expansion.
Is your company planning to host a company event? This could be a business networking session, conference, seminar, workshop or any other training workshop? Time to shout about it! Company events are great at stirring up some press. It shows that your business is active with the community and reputable. Naturally this may help increase the number of attendee's but will also help create a little buzz within the local community and other businesses.
Has your company reached an important milestone? reached unprecedented sales or exceeded it's projected revenue for thus quarter? If yes, then tell the world about it! Company achievements are a great way to tell the rest of the world what's happening within your organisation. It also helps promote you as a reliable and reputable company.
If your company is employing new people then this is a fantastic opportunity to create some PR about your company, get shouting about your recruitment drive and let the local news and media know about it.
Many companies sponsor or run charity events to help collect funds for charities. Creating a press release for this event is a not only a great way to get some coverage for your business but also helps spread the word about the charity event taking place. So not only are you doing a good deed by sponsoring, you are also indirectly promoting a charity further and indirectly promoting yourselves. Journalists love companies who give back to the community and to charities.
Sponsoring your local football team? Tell the community, create a press release and let everybody know about it. This not only helps sustain your local sports infrastructure but also gains you respect among the local community.
There is a marked event for every day throughout the world. Some examples are Shrove Tuesday(Pancake Day), Halloween etc. If your company is having a fancy dress day at the office for Halloween then let people know about it. Again as well as the publicity itself it also helps others see the kind of working environment your provide for your employees.