Press releases are excellent tools for announcing startups, product launches, and exciting company news. Of course, just because a company cares about something, it doesn't necessarily translate into an attention-grabbing press release. If you're looking to write a press release, follow these seven tips and best practices to ensure the best results.
#1 Choose The Topic Wisely
Companies who are constantly pushing out press releases for minor achievements or updates will soon find their press releases ignored. Press releases are best reserved for major, newsworthy pieces of information -- like a new product in the lineup, an industry award, or a new startup venture who's opening up Series B funding.
- Why would readers care about the topic?
- Is the story really relevant to the target audience?
Once you have a topic in mind, consider all of the unique points or associated information that can be emphasized to engage readers further. For instance, if you're announcing a new executive, it's worth discussing their background at a major Fortune 500 company and how they came to be part of your startup.
#2 Pick an Attention-Grabbing Headline
Aside from having a great topic, writers also need to work to turn that topic into an attention-grabbing, engaging title. This is perhaps the most challenging part of creating a press release because the title you choose may be the ultimate deciding factor in whether or not someone clicks on and starts reading the press release.
- Try to incorporate numbers, especially percentages.
- Use action words to create interest and urgency.
- Choose the right adjectives to evoke imagination.
While going about creating an exciting title, make sure you stay grounded in fact. Don't get caught up with making the title interesting to the point that it loses relevance in the context of your press release. In other words, the title should connect to the main point of your press release -- don't use the "bait and switch" tactic as it will cost you readers' trust.
#3 Don't Get Too Lengthy
The best press releases come in at just 300 to 400 words. This is quite short, and that's the way it should be. Our world operates with a 24/7 news cycle. That means readers want to digest important information in a quick, convenient manner.
- Outline your press release before writing so you stay on-topic.
- Edit your press release to remove filler and less impactful content.
- Use quotes wisely so they don't eat up the word count limit.
- Link to other content where relevant to avoid over-explaining.
Take time to study top-performing press releases from major companies to see the do's and don'ts in action. Notice how the best press releases avoid digging into explanations for industry terms or basic company information. Know your audience and their depth of understanding so you can get right to what they care about.
#4 Include The Right Quotes
While you should use quotes sparingly, including the right quotes can add validity and insight to your press release. The best quotes come directly from clients, senior executives, industry experts, or influencers within your niche.
These quotes can add authority to your press release and gives other blogs something they can pull straight from your press release to use in their own article covering the topic. Therefore, quotes act as sharable information that will lead to backlinks to your press release or website.
- Include the quote(s) in the third paragraph.
- Read the quote to ensure it sounds natural.
- Shorten the quote to three sentences or less.
If you include more than one quote, make sure the person's full name and title are included with the first quote. From then on, you can use just their last name to refer to them. Moreover, your press release should provide context for the quote both before and after it is inserted. This ensures the quote reads naturally within the press release and provides value.
#5 Utilize Multimedia When Possible
Too many companies make the mistake of treating a press release like a letter, forgetting the value of multimedia content. Modern press releases are rarely printed and almost always read online, which means including photos, videos, and even podcasts can help complete the story you're trying to tell and keep readers interested.
While the text of your press release should work on its own, without readers needing to listen to a podcast or watch a video to get the full story, this additional content can allow you to communicate even more information for those willing to spend the time.
- Ensure videos are 1 to 2 minutes in length and no longer.
- Always include a photo for new executives, products, or personal announcements.
- Utilize infographics if you're trying to communicate a lot of numbers.
- Use PDFs to link to longer-form content and build authority.
Your press release is unlikely to use all of these multimedia forms, and you shouldn't try to. Instead, decide what is most relevant to the press release you're attempting to create.
#6 Include a Call-to-Action
Like every piece of content you create, your press release needs to have a purpose, which is why you should think about and plan your call-to-action before you even start writing. However, unlike most content where the call-to-action ends up at the very end, your call-to-action should be placed much earlier in the press release.
Most people do not read press releases in full, but instead skim them to get the main piece of information they want to learn, so:
- Place your CTA in the first, second, or third paragraph.
- Use bold or italic font to bring the eye directly to the CTA.
- Include the link directly after the CTA, using the full URL.
When it comes to a press release CTA, including a hyperlink in a sentence is not effective. Instead, include the complete URL, like the following example.
- Incorrect: "See the results of our Series A funding."
- Correct: "To see the results of our Series A funding, go to www.company.com/series-a."
#7 Remember The Best Practices of SEO
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, should play a role in the creation of your press release just as it plays a role in all of your other content creation endeavors. Google and other search engines definitely crawl press releases and, when you use the best practices of SEO, you can turn a press release into authority-building content for your brand.
- Select a target keyword and include it throughout the release.
- Include a link to your website.
- Consider adding links to your social profiles, if applicable.
- Link to other reputable websites, if applicable.
Other SEO tips that can improve the performance of your press release and readability include the use of bulleted/numbered lists, short sentences, short paragraphs, and minimal use of bold/italic font.
Don't Overthink Your Press Release
Are you struggling to create a press release that follows all of these best practices while staying within the limited word count you have to work with? Turn to Scripted's team for help. Scripted has over 7,000 professional writers across industries ready to help you craft an attention-grabbing press release. Get started today.