5 Tips For Better Press Releases

by Angie Nikoleychuk (Haggstrom) June 25th, 2009 

Most of you likely already know that press releases can be an excellent link building method as well as an opportunity to reach new customers and generate extra traffic. Unfortunately, I still see a large number of press releases (at least I think that's what they're supposed to be) that don't take advantage of all the perks this format can offer, and some of them are nothing more than an article. So, this week, I thought I give you some hints to help you make your press releases even better!

Write Better TitlesGood, Bad and Great Press Release Titles

Submission sites will usually let you have a title of 120 characters or more. However, I find that this doesn't always work so well when they show up in the SERPs. Therefore, you'll want to keep your headlines around 70 characters. You'll also find this helps when it comes to submitting your PR to social media sites and places such as Twitter.

Several recent eye tracking studies show that how you write your titles makes a big difference in terms of click and conversions. Always front load your press release titles. In other words, put the informative and eye-catching words at the front. You should make sure that your title is interesting while still matching your story. Oh, title case helps make your release look more professional, and it will do a better job at catching the eye of your readers.

Links And URLs

These are one of the main points of doing online press releases, so I'm not sure why so many people miss this. I don't think I need to go into detail about anchor text, but I will tell you that it is worth your time to include them in the body of your press release and using submission services that allow anchor text. I also think it is important to include the actual URLs in at least two places for those who syndicate the press release and don't use anchor text.

There is always an argument as to how many links you should have in each press release. One of the things you'll need to watch is the limits at the sites you submit to. Some will have no limits. Others will limit you to three only. Just remember that, if you fill it with too many links, you run the risk of having it marked as spam.

Effective Summaries

The summary absolutely needs to capture the main concept of the post. This is not only important for the SERPs and display on the submission site, but you'll also discover that many social media sites use this information as well. Make sure it's catchy!

In terms of length, I find you're limited by the submission sites you use, but you want to consider the limits on social media sites as well. I find that summaries of between 150 to 200 characters are the best. If you'd like to give readers an optional title for sites such as Twitter, keep them even shorter (less than 100 characters).

Press Release Content

newspapersThe entire point of writing a press release is that you are supplying a news item! Those reading your press release don't want to read a 'how to' article from Ezine Articles. They don't want to read about how the neighbor annoys you when he picks up his morning paper in nothing but smiley face boxer shorts. A press release is not an article, a blog post, an advertisement or a chunk of copy from your website. It is an actual event that your company has been involved with.

People want to see that you're company is keeping up with the times, is innovative, and are great problem solvers, so be sure you show them that. (This also makes it difficult to write about the release of new products. Not impossible, but you need to be very cautious when choosing your words.)

Goals And Strategy

The topic of your press release needs to be chosen wisely. If you have a product that doesn't sell very well, and you've decided to discontinue it, chances are that this isn't something you want to advertise. If you're replacing it with a new (better) product, you'll find the topic works well in your favor. You'll find that if you 'match' your current marketing campaign, and bring attention to your unique selling points, the press release will work much better for you.

You should also consider how frequently you publish. Ideally, you want to publish your releases often enough that you stay in the minds of your target audience, but you don't want to look like a spammer either. How often you submit news will depend on your industry, how many competitors submit regularly, and how often you have something to write about.

If I could include any other last minute hints to help you get the best results from your press releases, it would be these:

  • Use the 'About' section as the advertisement for your company. Prove you deserve the business!
  • Include complete contact information since not everyone likes to use the same method (just be careful with your email address).
  • Make your press releases stand out from the rest. Be sure to add an image at the very least. Video, audio, links to free reports, and slideshows are great additions as well.
  • If you'd like more helpful tips, OnlinePRNews has a great little ebook on submitting press releases.
Angie Nikoleychuk (Haggstrom)

Angie Haggstrom is the Senior Copywriter and Consultant at Angie's Copywriting Services, specializing in online and offline content including SEO web copy, brochures, and more. A Twitter and blogging fanatic, you'll find she chats about SEO, Social Media, business, marketing, and just about anything else she finds interesting along the way.

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4 Responses to “5 Tips For Better Press Releases”

  1. The biggest mistake most people make cominbg to us to write a news release is that they want to annoucne a product or a website opening and expect the news release to get them coverage. A new product is not news. A new product in action is news. The news release is the least important part of the announcement, a formality that helps the media orgaize their thoughts.

  2. Hi David,

    That is very true. I've encountered clients who approach press releases with that being their primary goal, and you are exactly right. If expanded coverage is the main purpose, that is the only way to get it. The results are even better if it is backed up with a well-planned, comprehensive marketing strategy.

    Angie Haggstrom
    Freedom Freelance/SEO-Scoop

  3. You are right Angie, title plays a very important role. It’s the first thing users look at and it should be very impressive. If it fails in its purpose, there are chances people will not read the content.

  4. Me and colleague were discussing this last night. Thank you for the evidence that I was right and now I can have a dig at them about this!