How to Write an Internet Press Release to Attract Media, Customers, and Google Juice
©2007 Patsi Krakoff, Psy. D. & Denise Wakeman, The Blog Squad
To leverage the Internet effectively for your business, you must learn to write press releases. Submitting frequent press releases to the online distribution services will get you exposure to media, customers, and improve your search engine rankings.
Press releases are relatively simple, but not easy to write. They take some time to craft because you must tell your story in a compelling way, and deliver the facts in the fewest words possible. In addition, like a news story, they should follow basic journalism standards. Oh, and did I mention, they need a clever hook to really work? All that in only 350-500 words.
The following is what I do when I write a press release for The Blog Squad. I trained as a journalist years ago. However, standards for writing press releases are evolving for the Internet.
Like everything on the ‘Net, things change rapidly. New templates are showing up that include references to social media outlets. Be aware that various templates and formats exist and it’s best to investigate what works best for you and your business.
1. First, know what it is you are announcing. It used to be that press releases would announce a company change, a new product, an event, or something that at least pretended to be newsworthy. This was in the days when press releases had as their major purpose to get the attention of media and get some print, radio or TV exposure.
Now, press releases are posted and distributed on the Web; they act as direct attractors for consumers and for getting links back to your site. So, on top of attracting media attention, you need to include a marketing component: links to your landing and sales pages and information about products.
Nevertheless, I would not write a press release while wearing a marketing hat. Make a distinct effort to put on your old fedora and write like a newspaper reporter.
2. Next, make a list of the “who, what, when, where and why.” If you ever took a journalism class in school, they call it the five W’s, (with an H added to it for “how” or “how much.”) You will use this list of facts when you write your lead paragraph and your headline. Include a list of keywords.
3. Next, your need a hook, or why people should care. What is the compelling benefit? If you can, tie your company event into a holiday, celebrity, or other current news people are searching for on the Internet. Think about your keywords strategically. You will use your keywords in your title and first paragraph.
4. The Body: Start with City, State, Month, Day, Year, and then write the introductory paragraph. When distributing on the Web, your audience is global, so you can leave off the city and state. That is up to you.
Write a strong introductory paragraph including the most important facts: what, who, when and why should anyone care, and include your keywords.
5. Then, in the body of the release, expand on the information provided in your introductory paragraph. Give readers enough information to evoke their curiosity so they want to find out more.
6. Include a quote from a key person (you?) or an expert. Provide the name, position with the company and area of expertise.
7. Write out your call to action. What do you want people to do? Click here for more information, register on this page, or call this number? Be specific and include links.
8. Let people know how to get more information by including your contact information. You can also include a short statement about the company, such as “a leading provider of blogging solutions for authors, consultants and independent service professionals.” Include any copyright, trademark and patent information. Be sure to write out all links with the complete URLs.
9. Next, go back to the beginning and write a summary of the facts and the compelling benefit. This can be one or two sentences, the shorter the better.
Sometimes you can use the first sentences of the opening paragraph in the summary, but usually you can sum it all up and make it shorter. This will be read by people who prefer to scan content so make it interesting and compelling.
10. Finally, write the headline. This is without doubt the most important part of the press release, as it must grab attention and compel people to read more.
Writing headlines is an art and a science, and there are rules to follow. Eliminate all pronouns and adverbs, and stick to the facts with a bare minimum of words. No promotion here or it will sound like an ad.
Don’t forget to edit your press release to around 500 words and use spell check. Eliminate as many words as you can. Then submit your press release online to PRWeb.com, or one of the many other online distribution services. Be prepared to pay a fee to get the best distribution for your press release on the Web.