Archive for the ‘Press Release Writing’ Category

Press Release Titles - Critical to getting your news release read

Friday, June 26th, 2009

The title of your press release is the most decisive factor in whether your news gets good results. In today’s online news world of ‘Twitter’ and ‘RSS’ syndication having a well written article, press release or op-ed is not good enough. Today’s online news is not even the same as it was 5 years ago. 5 years you could write a professional title with the first few lines going into more detail, building on what was outlined in the title. Today this is no longer the case…or a least it’s changing rapidly.

Today’s online news is no longer read in what we call ‘Teasers’, teasers have become quick bits of info.

You need to grab the readers attention in the first few words, or without question, you will lose some readers who would normally be interested in what you have to say…particularly readers under 35.

Journalist and Editors are not immune to this ‘Twitter Effect‘, they, like all readers of news start to favor what gets their attention immediately.

So how do you go about writing a press release title to be effective?

The first few words should be compelling!

For example, lets say you have a news release on climate change.

You have a traditional title like:

Dr. John Smith of Acme University Reports in a New Research Study That Climate Change XXX XXX

When this is sent to press and they see it it in their email, this if fine because a good part of the release is visible. Editors and journalist will quickly scan the document to see if it something they want to fully read.

However, if the news is being read in a ‘Twitter’ or ‘RSS’ bit…your important story may get overlooked….i.e. they may only see:

Dr. John Smith of Acme University…

Not a very interesting ‘bit’ of news. A more effective title in today small size news would be:

Climate Change - Unprecedented New Facts Alarm Researchers

You can then lead into the the story like so: (after the reader has clicked to read the full story)

Climate Change - Unprecedented New Facts Alarm Researchers

New York, NY - Dr. John Smith of Acme University reports in a new research study that climate change……

Getting PR - Piggybacking on current news

Monday, July 14th, 2008

What is piggybacking on news? Well, in short when somebody writes on a topic of interest about your industry, you should reply to that journalist / editor when you have something of value to add.

This does require some work monitoring relevant websites and journals but it can and DOES pay off.

There are some tools that can help notify you when somebody writes relevant articles, like Google alerts an Yahoo alerts. These only get a small percent (very small) of articles, so you’ll have to make it a habit of checking manually. Also check on past news and pitch the writer with an update for their story.

Of course a steady stream of press releases targeted to the right persons is the easiest way of getting PR, but piggybacking press releases can be done as well.

  • Time your release with other major industry news and reference it
  • Include current events in the press release
  • Quote other notable sources and reference their products / services

Top Press Releases

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Every quarter we highlight 3 of our client’s best performing press release based on several criteria.
Our goal is point out well performing press release that we feel have been well written.

Keynamics:
Google
Yahoo
Press Release

Client states; response was very good from the media.
Client had the top press release page for 10 days on our website with 371 hits since its release.
Client had a top 20 press release page for 2 months on our website.

Glacier Computer:
Google
Yahoo
Press Release

Client sates; media inquires was exceptional.
Client had the top press release page for 3 days on our website with 147 hits since its release.

Marine Safety Group

Google
Yahoo
Press Release

Client sates; the exposure has been great.
Client had the top press release page for 4 days on our website with 233 hits since its release.

~Matt

Press Release Email Subject Line

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Most press releases are received via email or past along via email; so the subject line for the email becomes an important factor on whether your news gets read or not.

First you want to get past any spam filters that may weed out your release. There are certain indicators that filters use that might mark your news as Spam.

Some of these are:
Excessive words – try to keep the word count to 6 words or less
Punctuation – avoid: ! $ * - especially avoid repeated punctuation: ***
Excessive Punctuation – A dash /comma or two is ok but once you start using more you run the risk that the filter may not like that
ALL CAPS – are a big indicator – use limited caps

Ok, now you avoided the wrath of the filter, next you want your press release to get read.
Use keywords that are familiar and popular, even if they are not the principal subject matter of your release. They should be topical to the release however, don’t “stuff” the release with irrelevant keywords, just for the sake of it. Remember a press release is a statement of fact.

Example: you have news that you have formed a business partnership with another company. As a side benefit to that partnership you have new sales channels to major well known company. Let’s say this well known company is ACME Inc.

Here is what you say in your subject line of the press release:
Subject: press release ACME Inc. opens up new channels to

press release XXX receives ACME and

Let say there is really no good (high value) keywords to use. Use some related keywords:

Subject: press release Detroit, MI

If I’m a reporter in Detroit, I simply have to find out more.

Subject: press release New .Net based software
Subject: press release New JAVA based software
Subject: press release New Web 2.0 based software

The idea is to point out any “big” feature about the news – Big names draw large amounts of readers – reporters are more likely to want to find out more.

There is much more data on subject line “success”. Much of this is proprietary to larger organizations. For instance many companies track “email opens”. That is how many times the email was opened and if the viewer clicked through to a webpage or download or performed a certain action like calling a specific phone number. We track this metric as well as many others. When your order a press release through our press release distribution service we will optimize your subject line for you.

~Matt

Press Release Title

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

How to optimize your title in a press release so your news release / press release gets read.

A press release title is the first or second most important part of your news. When your news is viewed via RSS (newswire or news bulletin) or by fax the first thing (most of the time) a reader will see is your title in the press release. Why? First, the press release title is normally centered on the page at the top. Second, the title is normally in bold with a large font size 12pt to 24 pt. Third, white space around the title makes it stand out even more.

When your press release is viewed via email, depending on the email settings the end viewer has set, the title may be the first most important element or the second. If the end viewer has “Reading Pane” or “Preview email” turned on, the press release title is the most important element in the release. If the end viewer has the “Preview email” turned off the subject line (see press release subject line blog post) becomes the most important element.

Your press release title should be descriptive / relevant of what’s to follow. It should highlight the most import aspect(s) of your news. It should include the most recognized keyword(s) or buzz word(s). The title should be intriguing – you want to get the readers attention so they read more. Don’t use sales language for your press release – people who read press release expect information in the form of news, that is, statements of facts, quotes from the principals, and the details, who, what, where, why and when. This is especially true for reporters. A headline like: “HURRY!!! – BUY NOW!!! – LAST WEEK OF SALE!!!” is sure way to send your news right to the readers trash can. Avoid the use of - ! $ *** characters, especially don’t repeat them (!!!).

So how do you word your press release title so it draws attention?

Easier said than done, particularly if you don’t have a marketing degree or PR experience. That said, there are some good rules to follow (below) and there are unlimited examples
News
to look at. If you are a novice to press release writing, look some actual press release examples others have done and pick up your local newspaper and see how they write their titles.

Press Release Title Tips:

ALL CAPS – All caps was an effect way to draw attention to the title. This approach is starting to change, not because it’s ineffective but because it is penalized by electronic filters and search engines. All caps is a favorite method of mass mailers and spammers – so many email filters may weed your news out, sending it directly to the junk email folder, just because its in all caps. Search engines are starting to devalue “sales letter” style WebPages. So if you do get past the email filters and your release is posted to websites, your effect on “pagerank” will make your release show up later in search engine results for keywords. A good alternative to all caps is; capitalize the first letter of each word, bold and a larger font.

Colors – Colors are great to draw attention: Red means – Stop and look at me, Blue conveys trust and so on…Don’t use any color except black! There are a few exceptions: your logo would be one of them. Many websites are professional publications that have certain standards they follow; one of the most common is black font only. If you send a release out that is in a dark blue font the webmaster or web editor may have to change your font color to black prior to posting it. The point here is that the editor will simply delete your release rather than changing your font. The easier you make everyone’s job the better your chances are to get published.

Announcements and Events – Many news releases to the media and general public are to announce something that has happened or is going to happen. Don’t assume anything! Ask yourself; “what would I want to know”. Ask; “why would the press, my industry or the public want to know more”. Here are some examples:

You have an opening of a new store, so you write:

ABC Inc. Grand Opening!

First loose the !.

Next don’t assume that since your sending your release to the local area media they will take for granted the news pertains to them. The media gets blasted every day with pitches, news release and news tips. So, the first thing you want to do is say, “hey, this news pertains to your beat”.

LA – North Hollywood ABC Inc. Grand Opening

Next you want to give the reporter a reason why they should write or talk about your news.

LA – North Hollywood ABC Inc. Grand Opening, Featuring XXX -
The Only Service of its Kind in Southern California

The above applies to your website announcement as well: ABC Goes Live – Be more descriptive and give an indication on why the reader should continue reading more.

There is much more to be said about the title in a press release, see our press release tips section on our main website and check back here from time for more information.

When you order a press release distribution from us, if requested, we will optimize your title as well as the entire news release.

~Matt

Make It Happen - press release follow up

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Yesterday I received 2 emails almost at the same time. What was cool about those emails is that both where from fairly old press releases. One was from 4 months back and the other one was from 3 months ago. This is not so unusual; many releases produce results for months or even years, particularly if they are picked up by a well traveled online publication.

What was really interesting about those emails was both where CC to us and to our client’s. This tells me the reporter definitely wanted to make sure they got in touch with our client. As normal we touched based with the client to make sure they got the message. As usually client 1 was on top of it and had already spoken with the reporter. Client 2 had an email exchange with the editor. First the editor asked for some high resolution images. The client sent them some low quality jpeg’s….Luckily they CC us and I was able to immediately send some high quality images we had on file. I can’t emphasize it enough to be prepared when a reporter calls or inquires about your product or service. Reporters are busy professionals, when you make their job easier they are more likely to call upon you again in the future, not to mention that some may just move on if they don’t get the right feedback.

Client 2 was now asked by a local but large New York magazine if they sold their products in local stores. The editor said, “by the way you do have local distributors, we only write articles about products that can be bought locally”. Luckily again the editor CC me back. When I saw this I immediately called the client and asked them what their response was going to be. As I suspected it was something like “Thanks for your time but we don’t have any in the NY city area”.

So I asked the client if they new the Bill Gates story….I proceeded to tell them how Bill Gates sold IBM a little operating system called MSDOS. There was one little catch to that deal… They didn’t own it! That’s right, the super giant Microsoft got its start by selling a product they didn’t even own at the time. Of course Bill ran out and bought the software right after he closed the deal with IBM.

So, I convinced them that it would be pretty good idea to get on the phone and line up a few dealers…”even if you have to give them away”, I said. It wasn’t that hard to convince them after I explained that an ad in that particular magazine goes for $25,000. And it doesn’t get any better then to be featured in a major magazine in the advertisement and media capital of the world!

The point is: if a reporter is interested, but you don’t quite match what their looking for…find a way to make a match - Make It Happen!

~Jake

What to avoid in your press release

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

In a recent email exchange with our free review process we looked at well written release that had a few flaws. These appeared to be very minor…but like a lot of news releases a few small points can derail it.

Here’s a summary of the conversation:

Avoid the use of the word “FREE” …. choose; at no cost or similar. And avoid “!”

There are few reasons for this:

  • This will be posted online and search engines will most likely think your release is sales letter not news…news gets much higher rankings.
  • Reporters receive your news they way they request it…most request it via email, so junk mail filters screen for words like “FREE” and penalized (points towards Spam) each use of “!”.
  • Other things to avoid:
    • All caps in the subject line or body
    • Use of a highlight marker
    • Terms like “making money”, earn $XXX, wealth, etc.
    • Excessive use of “$” or repeated punctuation: ***, $$$, !!!, etc.

Jake

Good PR, getting on the Today Show

Friday, January 25th, 2008

A successful press release strategy

Yesterday one of our clients was featured on the NBC Today Show. This is the grand slam of PR, it doesn’t get any better then that. How they got their was not by a single shot press release. It took some effort and a coordinated PR strategy. Long before they became our client they where doing a rounded PR strategy. I didn’t even have to ask, a simple web search made that evident. This shows that even a small company can get the press larger companies usually dominate if they work smart.

Having a press release and public relations strategy is important. Rather than just doing a press release when something big happens. It pays to have an all around marketing/ public relations strategy. What I mean by this is to tie your PR efforts together, have them complement each other. Be consistent, keep a steady stream information to the media. This is central to developing a familiarity of your products and services with the media. They will know that you are serious about your business and that you will be a good source of news for there audience, the consumer or B2B. If you have a “Media” or “Press” section on your website keep it up to date and add new content often. Don’t judge “what you think is news worthy”, let the media decided that. Most people are shocked at some things the press picks up off your website and does a story on. If you don’t have a media section on your website, it’s a prudent idea to create one.

Featured on the TV show and here’s the Today Show’s website blurb about the product:

It’s the section on; If you’re lugging a laptop, consider the Aviator Laptop Stand

And it happens to be a great product that fills a niche.
Here’s the products home page:

Aviator Laptop Stand, Works On Any Flat Surface.

~William