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Press releases have been used by businesses for decades to announce every occasion from the creation of a new product to the company’s latest philanthropic endeavor.

While radio, television, and newsprint have been the go-to outlets in times past, a new form of press release has emerged with greater efficacy than ever: the digital release. These are often shared by news distribution services such as PRWeb. A well-crafted release will be picked up by media outlets and will pique the interest of readers, causing them to click on that oh-so-important CTA, or call-to-action.

A not-so-well-crafted release, however, will be relegated to that figurative room in the basement of the internet – the one with the creaky pipes and lights that flicker. That’s not where you want your release to end up. How then do you compose a release that will accomplish what it’s designed to do?

9 Steps to Making Your Next Press Release a Knockout

1. Grab ’em with the headline.

Media and bloggers are flooded with headlines every day. Make sure yours is a cut above by creating one that is captivating. Headlines are also crucial for boosting click-through rates on search engines and in social media.

2. Get to the point. Avoid jargon.

Forget long windups, run-on sentences and industry jargon. Get to the point within the first paragraph. And try to keep your release to one page.

3. Tell ’em why they should care.

It’s not that you or your company is amazing (even though both may be). It’s what’s in it for your target audience. How will someone benefit?

4. Include at least one quote.

Part of your marketing strategy should be branding yourself as a thought leader in your industry. To do this effectively, make sure your press release includes at least one quote.

5. Make it impeccable.

Proofread your release several times, and then hand it off to at least one other person to do the same. The human brain is an amazing machine. You may comprehend where a comma needs to be placed, or if there is a random “and”, “a”, or “it” missing, but your brain will automatically fill in the hole – especially if you are the writer. Grammatical errors will cause you to lose credibility among your audience.

6. Direct the reader.

One goal of any press release is to engage the reader and motivate them to act. Clarify what they should do by including a CTA. Clearly direct their attention to your CTA while using motivating and positive language.

7. Optimize for search engines. Include a keyword in the headline, first pargraph and in the body of the release. A rule of thumb: Your keyword density should be between 1% and 4% of your copy.

8. Engage with visuals. Graphics, bullets, graphs, charts, illustrations, video…all will increase engagement.

9. Add social sharing links. Make it easy for the reader to share your release.

So ready to have some fun?

We’re going to point fingers here for just a moment so you can see live examples of good and bad releases. We’ve blacked out any names to avoid embarrassment. First, the bad:

bad_release2

Hmmm… what’s wrong with this release? It’s not hard to spot the flaws, is it? If you read the first sentence out loud you probably had to stop to take a breath, or else be resuscitated. Notice the continuous use of poor grammar, the jargon-laden second paragraph, and not to mention the fact that we have no idea why this certification matters in the the first place… we could go on.

And now drumroll, please. Here is an example of a press release that works:

bitcoin

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Paybits did a lot of things right here. The headline is succinct and compelling. You want to learn more. The subhead adds engaging detail. The founder is quoted in the article, Paybit’s logo is prominently displayed for brand recognition, and plenty of share buttons are included. The second paragraph sets the stage and says why people should care about the announcement. The SlideShare at the bottom of the release provides further information and it includes a CTA.

Clearly, press releases do not have to be antiquated or dull. They become crucial to your marketing strategy when crafted to meet your goals.

Have you reaped the rewards of a well-done release? Share your secrets with us in the comments below.

If you want to beef up your knowledge of how to write a great press release, check out our FREE guide, How to Create Press Releases That Don’t Suck.

Inside, you’ll learn more secrets about how to create a properly composed press release, plus, how you can use it to drive traffic.