You think you know all about writing a professional press release. So, why aren’t you hearing from any of those reporters on your mailing list? The answer is simple. Your press release is competing not only against other companies trying to get their story in print or on the air but with actual news events. Yes, actual news trumps your story. So what can be done to increase the odds that your press release won’t end up in the trash?
1. First and foremost, your press release should be timely. Don’t send a reporter a press release about an event that has already happened. This is old news. They are looking for fresh stories to tell their respective audiences. Do send them a story about a future event and be sure to include the date and location in the subject line of your email or press release. Remember, if you want to get a story in a monthly publication, you will need to send your release at least eight weeks before the event to meet publication deadlines.
2. Send your press release to the right people. If you are sending a story about opening a new business in your area, your release should be addressed to the city and/or business editor. Similarly, if you are promoting a community health fair, you’ll want to send your press release to the health editor, and so on and so on.
3. Don’t expect to hear back from everyone who receives your press release. Chances are, unless your story is the next cure for cancer you may not get a single response. Don’t let this stop you from getting results. Instead, pick up the phone and call the individual recipients. In some cases, you will find that they have not read your release yet. Use the call as an opportunity not only to pitch your ‘current news story’ but to establish a relationship with the reporter or editor for future releases.
4. Remember that print, broadcast, radio, and the internet are all different mediums. If your story does not have much visual appeal, it is less likely to turn a broadcast journalist head. Think about it, why do so many five and six-car crash pile ups end up on TV newscast.
5. Make your releases look professional and if necessary ask someone else to proof it. There should be no mistakes, typos, etc. in a professional press release. Make sure your contact information is at the top and your headline tells exactly what your press release is about.
One of the most common complaints I hear from business owners is that they are not getting traffic from their website despite investing thousands of dollars with a “professional” web company. My response is usually two fold. “Are there any analytics to show the amount of traffic to your site and where is the traffic coming from?” My second response is “who wrote the web copy?”
Unlike print copy, writing for the web requires resisting the temptation to write “fluff.” Those searching the web are looking for answers to questions and want value and Google search algorithm rewards those with relevant, current and interesting content.
The most successful websites include useful content, such as articles or “blogs” that provide the reader information and a reason to come back to the website.
The way the Web works is very different from print and the content of your website needs to reflect that.
Keep Individual Page Content Short
The Web is not a good place to write a novel. Keep the content short. The shorter it is, the more likely your readers will read it. List can also be effective web content. If you have technical information consider an infographic as opposed to a full page of copy or add a blog on the topic to your website.
Write SEO-Friendly Copy
Google is watching. If you haven’t yet heard about SEO (search engine optimization) yet, is important to note that an SEO content friendly site will rank higher online than one that is not. WThus, when writing copy for your website, it is important to include keywords and phrases in your content. You need to use the phrase enough so that it's recognized as the topic but not so much that your readers notice.
Video and Audio
Internet marketing also known as digital marketing is constantly evolving. One of the latest trends is to incorporate video and audio on websites. If you plan to do this, consult a web specialist as there are some technical issues you should know before investing your time and money into adding a video or audio to your site.
Rules are Meant to be Broken
All of these rules can be broken. Know your audience and know why you're breaking the rule before you do so. Don’t be afraid to show your personality in your writing, just keep in mind the audience you are trying to inform or serve.