Archives for August 2012

Press Release Writing Tips: Choosing Keywords

It’s no secret that one of the most effective ways to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) is by distributing press releases on a regular basis.

By including anchor text links within a release, regular press release distribution can really assist in getting your website up in Google’s ranks, and fast! But the best way to use this tool to its fullest is to ensure you are choosing the right keywords to link within your release.

Here are some tips on choosing keywords:

  • Use the same keywords you use in other marketing efforts, such as Google AdWords. Keeping your approach uniform across all marketing channels should lead to a greater return on your promotional efforts and dollars.
  • Choose just a few keyword phrases to really hone in on, rather than trying to cover every phrase you think could lead someone to your site.
  • Pat Wootton at Prompt Proofing suggests keeping the number of anchor text links within a release to between four to six, and directing them to different web pages, not just the home page. We would agree with this as it will help to prevent you from being seen as spamming Google’s system, which could lead to your site being flagged and even blocked by Google.
  • It can be a good idea to have a couple of keyword phrases that are quite popular, but also a couple of unusual ones. This helps you cover mass audiences and niche ones too.

Press Release Writing Tips – Additional Media

Sometimes one of the best ways to make your press release attractive isn’t even anything to do with the writing at all.

At 24-7PressRelease, we allow for images to be uploaded with any of our paid distribution packages, and with our $89 and above packages we allow for videos to be uploaded also. Take advantage of this!

As Pat Wootton at Prompt Proofing said in a recent blog post, “If a picture is worth 1000 words, then let it speak! Many people are predominantly visual and an interesting photo will draw them in, at the very least it may make them read the rest of the release.”

The same idea goes for videos, also. Don’t just upload the video to be displayed alongside your release; also include a link to the video on your company site or on YouTube. Don’t just upload the images; include links to them. If the images are of certain products, the best thing to do would be to include a link to the image on your site right next to the description of the product in the press release.

These varying forms of multimedia make your release stand out in the crowd, as it were, and will draw a greater variety of readers in. Every individual focuses differently; some people are very visual and will be more drawn in by images or video than by specific words. So use all the tools at your disposal!

Press Release Writing Tips – How to Engage With Your Audience

Continuing on with our tips on press release writing, today we discuss engaging with your audience.

Using this blog post by Pat Wootton from Prompt Proofing as a source, we provide some hints on how to help ensure your release performs well by being sure that it is fully engaging with your audience.

One of the main issues with press releases and their audience is that people have a very short attention span when reading online. Engaging with your audience is going to mean combatting this attention span – i.e. getting your message across as quickly and effectively as possible.

Here are some ways to combat this:

  • Keep the release brief. This is the easiest tool to put into action – people are bored by reading a lot onscreen (and reading on a computer is harder on your eyes too, so people tire quicker). Even if you don’t want people to read the whole release, if they open up your release and see a huge chunk of text, they are likely to just click away. Keep it short (we recommend 350 words or less)!
  • Use paragraph spacing wisely. For the same reason as listed in the above bullet point, a huge chunk of text will turn a reader off instantly. Break it up as often as makes sense, and keep your sentences brief (no run-on sentences allowed!). This will make your release much more readable.
  • Place all the essential information that you want people to know about in the first paragraph. That way if they don’t make it past the first few sentences, they have the general gist of what you’re trying to say anyway. One exception? Fine print details like dates, times, prices, phone numbers etc. This information should be neatly displayed at the end of the release. If you have explained simply enough what the sale, product or event is in the opening paragraph, people will quickly skim-read to find the essential details, so having them nicely and easily displayed at the bottom of the release will help them find it and help them have more impact without littering your opening paragraph with numbers.
  • Include a call to action in your release – some way in which people can take the next step. If your release has its desired effect, people are going to want to know MORE about you and your company after reading the release, so you need to provide them with a way to do that while you have their attention! This can be as simple as including a ‘click here’ link to your website, or a phone number.

Put these simple tools in place and watch as your readers engage with your release more and more.

Press Release Writing Tips – Voice and Tone

Hopefully you enjoyed our introduction to press release writing tips, which we will be providing all month long.

In our first post we explained what exactly a press release was. Now that you know what differentiates a release from an article or an advert, it is time to put that knowledge to use by writing your release. However, a large part of ensuring you’re not being too objective or too biased in your release is the tone and voice you use to communicate your information.

Pat Wootton at Prompt Proofing has blogged on this issue before, and had many useful tips to share. We have taken some of her advice and added our own tips below. Read and put these into action, and your press releases will improve substantially!

  • Make a note of the voice you use when writing your release – avoid first person (me, or I) references and instead use third person references (i.e. 24-7PressRelease is a press release distribution service dedicated to offering the best value and quality…).
  • Use a quotation from a company representative (who must be named, in order to provide the release with some validity). Incorporating this element into a release not only gives the release a personal touch but also gives you a chance to brag – the representative can be much more focused on promotions and sales than the actual tone of the release itself. So use this to its fullest. Having said that, don’t include more than two quotes per release – it’s not necessary and will feel like overkill.
  • Be friendly but professional. Avoid overuse of punctuation like exclamation marks, and don’t try to pretend that you know your reader. Instead, invite readers to contact you for further details or information, but otherwise maintain a strictly professional tone.
  • Remember that every time you send out a press release, that is a representation of your company’s reputation and how it will be perceived online. If your company is fun-loving and encourages social interaction, you can reflect that in your writing and help communicate the reputation your business wants to foster.

Using these tips to correct the voice you use when writing your releases will help to ensure you’re setting the right tone.

Press Release Writing Tips – What is a Press Release

For the month of August we will be focusing on providing tips for writing effective and impactful press releases.

Each post will focus on one aspect of a press release, beginning with today’s post, in which we go back to the basics, and explain exactly what a press release is, and what differentiates it from other promotional materials, such as marketing copy or blog posts, and other newsworthy items such as articles or news stories.

Pat Wootton at Prompt Proofing covered this topic extensively in her blog post, What exactly is a press release?

Using some of her advice and some of our own, we have provided the following bullet points to keep in mind next time you’re sitting down to compose a press release for your company, product, service or website:

  • A press release is NOT an advert. It should steer clear of overly promotional statements such as “Buy now!” – if we receive press releases with statements such as these we will usually request that the customer rewrite the release, or it will be rejected for distribution.
  • However, a press release is also NOT a news piece. It is not written by an objective third party – it is written by you, the company owner (or perhaps employee, or marketing rep) and therefore it naturally does have a bias. There is no point in hiding this; it will appear deceitful. Rather, use a writing voice that shows that you are representing the company but just steer clear of making too many claims of greatness. Let the reader make up their own mind about your product or service by simply providing the facts. In this way, the fact that you have a bias will work for you rather than against you, because readers will understand that no one knows the facts about a product or service better than the company offering it!
  • The key to ensuring your release is not too promotional is to keep it informative. You want to offer details and information about your company’s products/services rather than push people into buying them. Through educating the reader, if your product or service is what they’re looking for, you will already have persuaded them to buy! But remember your audience too – one of the main purposes of a press release is to drive traffic to your site. Therefore, you’re not always writing to your direct customer, but rather just to spread the word about your company to gain awareness and improve your SEO. Therefore, selling should not be your main focus with a press release.
  • A press release is NOT an informative article, either. Those are published to article directories online and are usually a minimum of 400 words. They are in-depth studies of specific topics, rather than press releases. You want to keep press releases under 350 words, ideally. This keeps the reader’s attention and will also help you avoid any overage fees from distribution services with word limits.

Using these tips will help you get started on writing a great release while understanding, hopefully, what exactly a press release is. When you write a release in the proper format and tone, news sites are much more likely to pick up your release for publication.