Does your press release read more like a boring book report? From the headline to the call to action, you have less than a minute to impress a journalist with your press release as they comb through so many every day. Don’t end up on the mud pile. Make your publication relevant and engaging.
One study found that a third of reporters still get story ideas from publications, while 88 percent think press releases are valuable. You want the facts without too many wise word choices and reinforcement. You also want to get the right information. Here are six tips to improve your press releases and get more PR.
- Get to the point
You know what? “tl; dr ”means? It stands for “too long, not read”.
Your boiler plate share of over 600 words is nerve wracking, especially when you feel the need to add another hundred words of “important” information. Don’t be guilty of filling the superlatives. All the events and announcements are “really amazing”. So be real.
Brevity provides more clarity. So stick to the facts of who, what, when, where and why – how can a thought-provoking and interesting way to want more be, maybe an interview.
- The headline offers incentives
While the headline should essentially summarize what is happening in your press release, more is needed to proactively engage your audience. Think about your call to action so that you know what your language and content are aiming at.
Give the target audience an incentive to read on. Placing appropriate keywords and call-to-action incentives in the headline will encourage engagement. Don’t be afraid to use flashy stats and details as long as they are relevant to the content.
- Check the contact information
It sounds too easy, but is the contact information updated and relevant? Submitting a press release with incomplete, inaccurate, or irrelevant contact information will lead a journalist on a wild goose hunt and will stop working with you in the future, no matter how good the plot is.
Don’t let reporters jump through hoops to find the right contact. All of your information may be correct and relevant, but if it is constantly redirected while you are trying to get a story that will benefit you, it will move on.
- Get statistics right
Don’t pull statistics out of thin air without sources. Your release will likely be tossed aside as the journalist is not worth digging a story if you provide unreliable information.
You make journalists’ lives a lot easier if you cite the sources in the press release. You can focus on a specific point of view and present a detailed story that brilliantly reflects the subject. When you have correct statistics, run with authority by including them in the header and subject line of the email without appearing as click bait.
- Address needs
Do not address the shareholders and skip the technical jargon. It looks like the client wrote the publication and got someone to proofread it.
Use terms where appropriate and address your target audience. What about that press release that meets a need? Address the needs of the audience by clearly providing a solution with details and their improvement in life. How does the product or service do what it does and why should people care? This part is the centerpiece of the press release. The point of view of a story depends on how you communicate those details.
- Call to action
The call to action (CTA) is highlighted as an integral part of a press release, but too many create a weak summary that looks more like a conclusion than a CTA.
The CTA goes MIA. Suppose an executive has been promoted or a new widget has been published. Great, but what’s next? Why should the audience want to know more? What should they do based on the information given?
Instruct your reader with a strategically placed hyperlink near or within your CTA. Not spam products, but encourage the reader to learn more by visiting your website or any relevant page on the website. Imagine a call to action with three components: providing instructions, information, and connectivity.
At first glance, these components are standard aspects of a press release – everyone knows that, right? Surprisingly, it’s too easy to provide relevant and correct contact information. It is too easy not to strategically use correct and shocking statistics or develop a call to action that goes beyond the summary.
Many press releases go two pages and inflate the ego when the real story is something else entirely. Address the who, what, when, where, and why. Why is anything important in the publication? How will the product update do its job and fix the latest bug?
Many press releases fail to address the real needs of the target audience and miss the point by focusing on superlatives and irrelevant information. Use these tips and your press releases will improve significantly – that means more PR exposure of the right kind.