With vast PR machines like Twitter at the disposal of the masses, many have written off press releases as no longer relevant, but is this a fair assessment of the situation? Let’s find out.
Press releases are a long-standing marketing strategy. In the good old days, a PR marketing firm would fire off a carefully written press release to let journalists know about a newsworthy event. Back then, print copy ruled and nobody had heard of the internet.
Modern Press Releases
Today’s digital landscape has changed things immeasurably. Press releases are no longer used to disseminate important and newsworthy information. Instead, everyone and his PR assistant writes press releases as a marketing tool. Many contain little more than some blurb about a brand. Not surprisingly, some brands have dismissed press releases and don’t bother using them. But, before you throw out the baby with the bathwater, you should know that press releases, when used correctly, are still a valuable marketing tool.
A carefully written press release can garner attention in an increasingly saturated media marketplace, which is no mean feat when news breaks on Twitter faster than it does in the mainstream press. However, the quality and content of your press release will determine its success or failure, so read on for some valuable advice.
Why Journalists Love Press Releases
Journalists still use press release outlets to hunt for juicy news stories. Headline news is likely to hit social media first, but local news stories, the type of news that populates the midsection of a newspaper, is often sourced from press release sites. As a local business or brand, you can use press releases to your advantage if you have something to say.
The other main advantage of a press release is that it boosts your SEO. So long as your story is newsworthy, it should enjoy some attention. Use carefully targeted keywords and compose a professional-sounding press release. If done well, your press release should rank well for those keywords and help to build valuable back links and inbound traffic to your website.
Writing a Killer Press Release
Follow a traditional format when writing a press release. The more interesting and newsworthy you can make your press release, the better. Think “news”, not brand advertising. Press releases are primarily a news story, not an advertorial. If your topic isn’t newsworthy, don’t bother writing about it.
Headlines should be short, but attention grabbing. Start with a short summary outlining “why” people might want to read the rest of the press release. Make your reader care about your story.
Modern press releases published online can contain a variety of content, including visual. Make your press release more visually appealing with video, images, and infographics. Include some key quotes, as these are often picked up by journalists and re-hashed as a news story.
End with a strong call-to-action. This could include a link back to your website or an invite to an event.
Press releases still rock, so don’t toss them in the dumpster of doom. Written well, they will enhance not dampen your marketing strategy.