10 Commandments of Press Releases For Your Marketing Plan In 2017
10 Commandments of Press Releases in 2017. Another Great Way to Get the Word Out In You Marketing Plan.
A lot has changed with press releases over the years, particularly in the last few months thanks to Google’s algorithm updates. While the press release is still alive and well, not to mention very useful, it’s undoubtedly in a period of transition. That’s why I thought it’d be a good idea to come up with a set of guidelines to keep in mind as you write your press releases going forward. Some of these rules are new, and others date back to the press release’s origins.
Thou shalt be newsworthy and engaging.
A few years ago, press releases were one of the best tools for improving search rankings. As you might remember, people started abusing this fact by dumping out tons of low quality, meaningless press releases to free directories all across the web. Needless to say, it didn’t take Google long to crack back against these manipulative practices. Today, press releases are no longer a pure SEO tool. Today, press releases are only effective if they are newsworthy and provide a great user experience.
Thou shalt not stuff keywords.
The days of stuffing keywords into your press releases to drive rankings are long gone. With recent changes, Google is more concerned with conversational search and user intent than it is with just keywords. Focus on creating content your audience wants and needs, and you’ll be just fine.
Thou shalt use links to provide information.
Not for SEO purposes It wasn’t long ago at all that press releases were great for building inbound links to your website. But now, press release links don’t carry any true SEO value. In fact, Google wants you to use nofollow links in your press releases, treating them like paid links in advertisements. That means no more using keyword-rich anchor text in your press release links. Only include informational links that add to the user experience.
Thou shalt keep it tight and to the point.
No one wants to read a long, meandering press release. Keep your releases concise and lean, including only the most important information. One thing you can do is to use numbered lists or bullet points to highlight key information in your press release, making it easier to quickly scan through.
Thou shalt make your press release easy to share.
If you want your news to really get noticed, you need to develop a social sharing strategy. You want your press releases to spread across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. So, make them easy to share. Include social sharing buttons in your press releases. Use short, Tweetable headlines. Add visuals that people want to share.
Thou shalt include visuals.
I just mentioned it, but I’ll say it again: Include visual aids whenever possible in your press releases. Things like infographics, videos, and photos can make your press releases more eye-catching and more engaging. It’s all about dressing up your press release to make it as appealing as possible.
Thou shalt tell a story.
Incorporating storytelling into your press releases makes them more engaging, memorable, sharable, and re-tellable.
Thou shalt expand your distribution.
It’s time to increase the visibility of your press releases. You need to expand your distribution. Use social networks to report important news. Use your blog as a news distribution channel. Do whatever you can to get your news noticed!
Thou shalt not use stale quotes.
The quote is one of the most neglected parts of the press release. Too often, generic quotes are placed in the release as a mere afterthought. What many people don’t realize is that quotes can be great tools for spicing up your story. They can add new layers to your story, so use them wisely.
Thou shalt focus on building relationships.
PR still really boils down to relationships. You need to build relationships with journalists, bloggers, and your customers. That’s how you’ll get people to notice and care about your news.
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Check out these press release writing dos and don’ts so you can discover the best tips for crafting an attention-grabbing release:
Do put effort into writing a catchy headline:
Make no mistake. A stinky headline can bury even the most compelling story. That’s why you need to spend the extra time to make sure your headline is as catchy and clear as possible. I recommend brainstorming several headlines so you can find the one that works best. Always remember that clarity is key. Editors and reporters need to know exactly what your story is about just by reading the headline.
Don’t write a headline that you can’t deliver on:
You’re not going to trick a reporter into picking up your story. So, don’t write a deceptive headline that doesn’t accurately describe the story. Doing so will only anger the reporter and cause you to lose all credibility.
Do stick to one topic in your press release:
Look, it’s understandable that you have a lot of things you want to say, but you can’t get carried away. Keep your press release as tight as possible by focusing on one main topic. Anything else that distracts from that message should be eliminated. If necessary, this extra information can be used in a separate press release.
Don’t make your press release any longer than it needs to be:
Remember, editors have an inbox full of press releases that they have to go through. They’re pressed for time. So, keep your press release as short as possible. Long press releases are intimidating and just look like too much effort to read through. I recommend printing out your first draft and using a red pen to cross out any extra words or information that isn’t necessary.
Do send relevant, accurate news:
Above all else, your story needs to be newsworthy. Whenever possible, tie your story to a current event or trend to make it more relevant. And speaking of relevancy, who you send your press release to is often just as important as what your press release says. Irrelevant pitches are an editor’s #1 pet peeve. So, only send your press release to the outlets that regularly cover stories like yours.
Don’t exaggerate or use marketing hype:
Press releases aren’t advertisements; they’re news stories. News=accuracy, not hype or over-the-top claims. That’s one of the biggest reasons it’s recommended to hire an outside expert to write your press release because being too close to the story can make it difficult to separate fact from marketing hype.
Don’t make silly mistakes:
Finally, don’t send out a press release that has typos or other silly errors. Spend a little time proofreading the release before sending it out. To make sure all mistakes are caught, I recommend letting a few different people proofread it. This brings several sets of fresh eyes, making it easier for those little mistakes to get noticed and corrected.