Oops sign for press release mistakesPress release mistakes abound.

When you write your next release, don’t overlook the one part of it that can determine whether it’s a huge success, or a great big dud.

It’s the call to action—the sentence that tells readers exactly what you want them to do.

Press release expert Janet Thaeler discussed the call to action when she was my guest during the teleseminar How to Use Keywords: The “Magic Magnets” that Pull Consumers and Journalists to Your Press Releases.

Here’s an excerpt from the transcript:

Press release expert Janet Thaeler

Janet: A lot of people don’t think what they want people to do to take some sort of action with their press release. Most people forget this step or they don’t even think about it. They’re only thinking often of the media and not their customers.

When you don’t the include this “call to action” in your press release, you’re actually missing one of the biggest opportunities of writing an online press release—to get people to do something and to engage with you. Once you do that, the chances of them buying or becoming a fan or a customer of your business goes way up.

If you have a new line of women’s dress shoes, your call to action would be something like, “View our new collection of women’s dress shoes,” and you would link to the page that has that new collection.

Also, don’t just think in terms of a call to action that’s to buy or look. You also can use a call to action to tell people to follow you on Twitter. Or you might ask them to become a fan of your Facebook page. It could be signing up for a newsletter or to view a demo of your product or download a White Paper. Or you might have a limited time offer where you give them some incentive, a discount code or something like that. You can give them an incentive to actually do something with the information you just gave them.

Joan: The call to action doesn’t only have to be telling them to do something online. We can be telling them to do things offline as well as. Right?

Janet: Good point. Yes, you could have them call or just take different actions, go into a store. Yes, it doesn’t have to actually be online.

Joan: Register for a class or send a check or come to an open house or come visit us during our special evening hours or whatever. Think about what your call to action is. Is there ever a time when you wouldn’t include a call to action in a press release? A call to action seems so powerful. Any times when people wouldn’t include it?

Janet: I can’t really think of any, Joan. I always use them. If I’m selling them and I’m telling a good story in my press release, I want them to do more. I want to engage with them.

The interesting thing is, online, people really want to engage with you. They expect it. If they like you, if you’ve sold them, you’ve given them a good story or it’s something that they care about, they’re going to want to know more about you or they’re going to want to check it out. Always invite them to do that.

Learn more about the press release tips Janet gave and how to use keywords in press releases.

When writing your own releases, have you used an unusual calls to action, or a call to action the resulted in a lot of clicks, download, sales or page views?

Read more: One Terrible Press Release Mistake