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 – 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.

Prompt Proofing Blog Post: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tips

This month’s post on writing tips focuses on search engine optimization (SEO).

VANCOUVER, BC, March 16, 2012  — A large part of Prompt Proofing’s business consists of writing press releases and articles or writing blog posts designed primarily for SEO. We generally advise clients that frequently updated content helps search engine rankings – therefore publishing a blog, for example, and updating it regularly, will help direct traffic to your site. This is true. Putting out regular press releases will also help. Some customers, however, have budgets that only allow for occasional press releases and they understandably wish to obtain the best SEO results from perhaps one press release or article.

What you are trying to achieve, when selecting keywords and phrases for SEO, is to direct traffic to your website. It is therefore useful to put yourself in a potential customer’s shoes. If you were looking for the service or product that your company provides, what terms would you type into a search engine? List the terms you think are most likely, or possibly ask a friend to do this for you. Keywords can work but phrases of two to four words are even better.

Imagine you are looking for someone to paint your house; if you simply search “painters” you are likely to find long lists of artists. Selecting “house painters” will get you more relevant results. Location is key for any physical, location-dependent business. If you live in Denver then you might search for “house painters in Denver”. If you actually have a house painting business in Denver, then this would clearly be an effective key phrase. Perhaps you also specialize in low-VOC paints; in this case again, you have a clear key phrase. Ensure that each press release/blog post or article, includes the linked key phrases “house painters in Denver”, “low-VOC paints” or possibly “environmentally-friendly painters” or “organic-compound painters”.

Similarly, if you run a vegan restaurant in Tucson then “vegan restaurants” or even better “vegan restaurants in Tucson” or possibly “Tucson vegan restaurants” are likely to be effective key phrases. If your business is not location dependent then focus more on different terms that customers might use in a search. If you offer web design online then key phrases would be “web design”, “web designers”, “online web designers” or “website designers”. You can, in all likelihood, include all four likely variants in each blog post or press release that you publish.

Whatever you do, introduce your chosen key phrases as naturally as possible. Some businesses make the mistake of stringing together keywords and key phrases in almost meaningless prose. This will lose you readers and may well result in your being reported for spamming, which could mean that Google bans all your future writing efforts! Ideally, around four linked keywords or key phrases in a 200-300 word press release, for example, is an acceptable number. Each word or phrase should be surrounded by formatting code or HTML code to create a link to your website.

About Prompt Proofing

Prompt Proofing is based in Vancouver, BC, Canada and was officially launched in 2010 by a team of editing and writing professionals who have over 40 years of experience in the education, news media, public relations and recruitment fields. Prompt Proofing prides itself on affordable services delivered with fast turnaround times, without sacrificing quality or accuracy.

Offering content writing, editing and proofreading services, Prompt Proofing takes care of your individual or business content needs. Visit our website for more information at http://www.PromptProofing.com.

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Formatting a Press Release for Distribution

Formatting for distribution - 24-7PressRelease.com Press Release DistributionThere is a general format for writing all press releases. To format a release correctly and most effectively, you will need to include the following:

Date Instructions: “For Immediate Release”, “For Release Before (date)”, or “For Release After (date)”. Many online distribution services simply ask you to insert a date in the date line or select one from a calendar.

Contact information: Make it easy for the media to contact you about your story by including as much information as possible. It is important to include a phone number, fax number, email address and company address. Failing to leave this information suggests that your press release is either amateurish or illegitimate. Media contacts will ask: “Why don’t they want to be contacted? What do they have to hide?”

Headline: Your headline must ‘hook’ the reader into wanting to read your full release. You may have a fantastic press release. However, failing to write a strong headline will jeopardize your entire release. It will be overlooked and passed by in favor of a release with a more interesting or exciting or controversial headline. So make your headline an attention grabber.

Sell the benefits of your product or service within your headline:

Losing Weight Is Easy If You Follow These Simple Rules

Or ask a question:

Want to Lose Weight the Easy Way?

These headlines draw a reader into the story, simply because they want to know how to solve a particular problem or they want to know the answer to the question.

Summary: This is a sentence or short paragraph that follows your headline. Here is where you continue to draw the media into your story by summarizing the information in your press release with a strong statement or two to keep the reader interested. But don’t give them everything. You still want them to read the entire release.

Body: This is the main area of your press release. Keep it simple, to the point and brief, 175 – 300 words. Use bullets when appropriate and clear, crisp paragraphs for easy reading. Your press release is meant to entice the media to contact you for further information, so encourage the reader to contact you and visit your web site.

About Us/Boiler Plate: Not everyone uses a boiler plate. However, this is the perfect place to add some brief information about your company. (i.e., “XYZ Company is a leading distributor of widgets and has been in the business of building widgets since 1900.”)

End of Press Release: To end your press release, simply enter ### on a blank line at the end of the release. Any information after ### will not be published.