When you say, “You should be writing press releases,” to some folks, they get nervous. First, it’s writing, but not just any writing. Press releases requre a special kind of writing and the form is important. Right? Am I hitting a chord here?
If you’re one of those tentative folks, have no fear! I’m going to make it easy for you.
Here’s how to write press releases:
- The headline: Make it interesting and attention grabbing, just like any other headline. The only difference with a press release is that your headline must have to do with the company you’re writing the release for, so like: “Company XYZ Makes a Million with Their New Product W.” It’s also good, if you can tie in the press release to a current event. That way, you’re going to get some of that traffic, too. I’ve used the release of a Harry Potter movie, Lady Gags’s “meat dress,” among other events. Just be sure that whatever you choose has a direct tie-in to whatever it is you’re writing about or it won’t work
- The sub-headline: This is just a little more tease. For example, if your headline is, “ABC Company’s New Product Will Be as Controversial as Gun Rights.” Your sub-head might be, ABC, Inc. just released its newest product: the Nail Buster 2000.” Yes, in some circles, nail guns are representing pistols and they’re doing it on purpose. So, it’s a tie-in to gun control. Bingo! Controversy brings traffic.
- The body: This is where you go on to describe what your press release is about. Be sure that what you write is in third person — he, she, it, they, etc. There should be no “I” or “You” in a press release. This part of your release should be around 400 words or longer, and if possible, it should include anchor text, which is nothing more than hyperlinked keywords or keyword phrases. I prefer the long-tail, myself. A long-tail keyword is one that is very specific, so chair might be your keyword, but a long-tail keyword would be black leather executive chair. Long-tail keywords are very specific. Not all press release distribution sites will allow anchor text, especially when they’re free. Paid sites will usually allow you to use one link and depending on how much you spend, a picture. The picture is smart because people tend to notice pictures first. And use a quote from someone in the company you’re writing the release for. Very important! Quotes give press releases life.
- About the Company: You’ll sometimes see this called “boilerplate” because it doesn’t necessarily need to change with every release you post. If you are doing to use boilerplate text, be sure that you have enough text in your release that isn’t boilerplate, or it can be considered duplicate content by search engines. Just tell people what your company does, when it was founded, who its principals are and any other important information you’d like to add. This doesn’t have to be long. 100 words or so will do it.
- Contact: This is important! If you want people to contact you about the release, you need to include an email address and a phone number. If you worry about to many business-to-business solicitation calls, use Google Voice. It’s free and it will give you a phone number that you can link to your home or mobile phone, or you can just let it take messages so that you call back those people you want to call back and ignore the rest.
That’s the basic structure, but the main thing to remember about press releases is that you need to write them only about important events — news about your company. For example, let’s say your company or someone in your company won and award. Or perhaps your company was featured in a prestigious publication. Or, someone important in your company was promoted or you made a new hire. These are all good reasons to publish a press release. Here are some others:
- Launching a new product
- Getting a new investor
- Launching a new video
- Publishing a book
- Hosting an event
- Celebrity endorsement
- Filing a lawsuit
You’ll notice a pattern. These are all important events that are momentous enough to tell the world about.
If you use a well-respected website, like PRWeb, to distribute your release, you’re also getting a quality backlink. Though Google says they don’t pay much attention to press release links, they will pay attention to that one and the other sites where your release is picked up won’t get any SEO value, as they’re duplicate content. It’s not a source of penalization, just not helpful.
But there are other sites online, like TransWorld News. Also paid. And free sites like Pitch Engine and Free Press Release also exist. Just be sure that you only place ONE release in ONE place.
Hope that helps. If you have other press release questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below. And get writing!