As a public relations firms, we write press releases every week, if not every other day, for our clients. While the press release on its own is only a small part of what we do to generate attention for newsworthy topics such as funding announcements, product launches or grand openings, it is still a fundamental PR tool. So it was nice to have our Los Angeles public relations team meet up with our Business Wire rep who shared some great writing tips and reminded us of tools they offer that we could be utilizing better.
With over a hundred press releases sent out daily by agencies all over the country, below are some tips – old and new – to help optimize your press release and get your share of voice:
- Header: You have between 8-15 words in your headline to make it both compelling and informative and entice your readers into opening your release. One great tool is to use Google Trends is a GENIUS way to identify the most searched words or phrases which you can incorporate into your headline to more effectively catch your reader’s eye.
- Hyperlinks: Include important hyperlinks (i.e: company website, e-commerce page, etc.) at the beginning of the release, if not in the first word. Hyperlinks included in the beginning are clicked on the most.
- Social Media Engagement Tools: Include your clients’ social media handles, custom hashtags and pre-written customized tweets to further help encourage people to share your client’s news on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
- Release Summary: Add a release summary that includes keywords (don’t forget to use Google Trends!) and the company name. Release summaries sometimes get picked up by Google and will help readers read in 2-3 short sentences what the release is about.
- Distribution Time: I am one of those people who used to think sending out press releases on a Monday was a bad idea since that is when writers are just getting back into the office with a crazy inbox. However according to our Business Wire rep that is not the case! They recommend issuing press releases before 11:30 am (PST) Monday – Thursday. In addition, select a time that is not at the top of the hour.
- Distribution Lists: Most wire services like Business Wire offer additional distribution lists free of charge that go out to more writers in specific industries. Make sure to find these industry-specific trade lists with each distribution to make sure your press release is being viewed by more people who need to know your news.
- Multimedia Assets: To help increase visibility, our Business Wire rep told us they have calls with journalists to gather more insight on how to get them to read press releases. One takeaway they got from a phone call with AP is that they like to see releases that include any sort of multimedia such as photos, videos or even infographics. While this is normally an additional charge, it is worth the extra money to make your news more interesting and visible.
Hope these takeaways help you the next time you send out a press release!