10 Tips on Writing a Media Press Release

Follow these tips to craft a powerful media press release and reach all the right audiences.

1. Make sure your press release contains actual news. Your release should be attributing something of value to your organization.

2. Focus your most important messages in the headline, subhead and first two paragraphs. Not only do many readers only skim the first few paragraphs of a press release, but search engines focus almost exclusively on this early content to index your release.

3. Provide a concise, compelling, clear headline of around 20 words. Search engines don’t understand puns or plays on word, so more straightforward headlines actually do a better job of making sure your release is indexed properly. However, people are sometimes drawn in by a clever headline. So your headline should be both compelling and clear to cater to both audiences. For press release SEO purposes, the ideal length of a headline is less than 23 words.

4. Consider including a sub-headline. A subhead provides valuable supplementary guidance to readers as they consider whether to continue reading your release. From a press release SEO standpoint, it’s also a terrific place to incorporate keyword phrases you can’t squeeze into your main headline.

5. Link early and often. Hyperlinks and anchor text helps search engines better index your release by associating its content with other sites. It also helps provide context for readers. Be sure to link the first instance of the brand and/or product name to the homepage of your website. Link the names of spokespeople in your release to their company bio page or even their LinkedIn profile.

6. Make your plain text stand out with formatting. In today’s XHTML world, bold, italic, underlined or bulleted text helps emphasize key points in your plain text release, breaks up your content into easily digestible sections and provides visual cues for skimmers to quickly pick up the gist of your news.

7. Include photos, videos and other multimedia whenever possible. Reporters and consumers tell us and research supports it: visuals increase interest in your news. According to research, press releases with multimedia are more than five times more likely to become a top performing release.

8. Include your company logo. Build recognition by including your logo at the top of your release.

9. Include complete contact information, with up-to-date phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Reporters say this is one of their main pet peeves. Always include a way for media to follow up with you with any questions. You can also consider including a Twitter handle or other social media profile, which is becoming increasingly popular. Do not include contact details for communication tools you do not monitor regularly.

10. If your company is publicly traded, include your exchange, stock symbol and International Securities Identifier Number (ISIN). These maximize access and search functionality of your press release in financial databases and news systems.

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