Thousands of documents are published each day on news release sites, including Google News, Yahoo News and MSN. If you take a close
look at them you’ll notice they are not properly categorized and sometimes you get rather irrelevant stories for a particular topic. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. As the search results, the news results are fully automated. There’s no human editor to create what you would call “a logical structure” in each main category. If you look for LEDs you might get news or stories about Led Zeppelin. Not such a relevant result for the optoelectronic industry! Therefore you’ll need to write your press release in the best way possible to achieve visibility and reach the needed public.
Writing a Press Release for the Web
It may come as a surprise, but the most experienced copywriters don’t know how to write a press release for the web. It takes a public relations expert to do the job right. Most press releases online look like being written lyrically. Instead of sending a message loud and clear, their writers were busy creating pieces of prose. If you choose such a writer you waste your money. Period.
Here are some errors you should avoid:
- Too long sentences (Writers love long sentences. They feel like these prove writing skills and make the story more…”professional”).
- Too short sentences. This happens when people try to respect the “keep it simple” principle, but deliver a formless message instead.
- Use of repetitions and abstract terms. Your message should be plain and clear. Concretized.
And this is how you should “build” your press release:
- Attract your reader with an incisive title – this is the most important sentence in a press release.
- First paragraph explains why the press release is newsworthy.
- Second (and where necessary third, fourth) paragraph is the content of the press release.
- Last paragraph concludes the story.
Press Release Optimization
- Why? As clarified earlier above: to enable newsworthy information about your company and your products achieve visibility and reach the wanted audience.
- How? By optimizing the micro content (title) and the macro content (press release body). Optimizing web pages is not the same.
Now let’s focus on the “how”. What you need to do is decide on a keyword phrase that is relevant for your area of expertise or your product. This should not be the most relevant keyword phrase to you, but to your readers. And this is a difficult choice. You could check the keyword phrase at overture.com and see how many searches it produced for a particular month. Then go for the more suitable keyword phrase – in this case you’d want to target what people look for (but don’t deviate from the main idea of your press release).
For example, if you run a small, rather nameless, company and you’ve developed a new SEO software (with some proven results), don’t use the just the name of the software in the title of your release. Write, for example “SEO Software XYZ Released – With New Website Promotion Tools” (That is if your software includes new website promotion tools. If not, just write the most important benefit, to grab readers’ attention.)
Don’t use a title like “Company Releases Amazing XYZ for Top Rankings”. This title says nothing newsworthy about your product. The “amazing” and “top rankings” touches will bring you traffic and customers only if you are lucky and some of them start reading a story with such a title. Readers are tired of clichés and pompous words.
Repeat the main keyword phrase – “SEO software” in this case – three-four times within your press release.
One Last Online Optimization Must: The Printed Media
Outstanding press releases do get enough public attention, not only from random readers, but from journalist as well. They might consider your story newsworthy enough for the print media. It is a good practice to include photos and other enclosures (where necessary) to help the journalists work on it faster and have it printed. And it is in your best interest to use all possible communication channels to deliver your message. So when you write a press release for the online media, have three aspects in mind: readers, search engines and print. Journalists will edit your press release for printed publications, but if you already provide all the information and enclosures they might need, you’ve done your job right.