release a press release

So you’ve decided to release a press release to add mileage to your PR campaign. Writing it is easy but getting your story to stand out is another matter. When you release a press release, you want it to draw in editors and readers and compel them to read on and publish your work.

Writing an Effective Headline

Let’s begin our discussion with the title. The headline not only sums up what your story is about, it is your first opportunity to introduce yourself. This is important because if you seem like the kind of writer who will waste journalists’ time, they won’t give you a minute of attention.  If you release a press release with an excessively enthusiastic headline coupled with limited facts, this will kill your chances.

Editors have keen sense for well-written press releases, and they make that decision at the headline because they’re too busy to give the rest of your story a chance.

So our first advice to release a press release that works is to keep your headline brief. Search engines have word limits: Google, 70 characters; Yahoo, 72 characters; and Bing, 65 characters.   Even if these were to change, limit yourself to these numbers whenever you release a press release.

Your headline should contain the gist of the story, which means it should be factual and concise.  Don’t make any attempt to mislead readers when you release a press release, and refrain from useless adjectives or hype. If you headline with, “Dynamic PR Company Launches an Exciting New Book,” you are off to a bad start. Using a title that reads, “New Fitness Equipment Cures Obesity!” is practically PR suicide.

Headlines that read, “10-minute daily workout promises firmer thighs,” or, “EBook reveals 50 best-kept secrets to effective PR,” might be better. Notice how the verbs are written in the present tense to make your story sound new and fresh.

Mind Your Press Release Format

To release a press release for your digital marketing campaign is truly an art, one with great promotional value. If you’re going to do it, do it well in every way.

Rules on fonts, sizes, and capitalization may not seem very important to non-writers but seasoned authors who release a press release that is expertly done follow formatting rules to the letter because they want to be taken seriously. It is the equivalent of wearing appropriate business attire during a meeting. We must all be professional.

Here are some formatting tips to remember when you release a press release.

  • The entire text should be written in a standard font, like Arial, Times New Roman, or Cambria. Quirky fonts are great if you would like editors to delete your email and press release without second thought.
  • The entire press release shouldn’t occupy more space than an A4-sized paper. Great press releases are short and to the point, not long and wordy.
  • Headlines are written in bold and while the first letter is capitalized, the rest are in small fonts.
  • When you release a press release, identify the date you wish for it to be published. So the note “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” should be found at the upper left side of the document. Otherwise, you can note “”HOLD FOR RELEASE UNTIL [DATE].”
  • A sub headline is optional. If you choose to release a press release with a sub headline for higher rankings, write it in italics and make sure it doesn’t repeat the headline. You want to expand on the headline not reiterate it.
  • Include the date and place of the story whenever you release a press release. This should come immediately after the sub headline.
  • Finally don’t forget to include your name and complete contact information. After the release of your press release, editors and journalists might want to contact you for clarification or more information

Improving Search Engine Rankings

When you release a press release online, you have to be mindful of keywords to make sure your work lands on the first page of search results. Use these keywords at the headline, as close as possible to the beginning. Also, use your keywords at the first sentence, again as close as possible to the start of the sentence. Google robots consider proximity to the title as much as density.

Ken Lyons writes that a recent survey has found keyword optimization to be the most challenging tasks of web writing and marketing. Before you release your press release, brush up on some tips and tricks on how to optimize the use of your keywords.

Writing Clean, Clear and Tight Lead Paragraphs

There is a lot of emphasis now on how to use keywords and how to distribute press releases, but many fail to compose the body, particularly the opening paragraph, with the kind of finesse, skill, and restraint required for this type of material.

Before you release a press release, consider what the most important points of your story are. People always look for benefits, so focus on that. Once you’ve zeroed in on what makes your press release newsworthy, give your readers the answers to the basic questions what, who, when, why and how.

The rest of the body should elaborate what’s contained in the lead paragraph. It’s generally a good idea to include quotes to “humanize” the whole text.

To release a press release that works requires restraint and finesse because beginners eager to generate excitement overdo the plugging when a newsier, more neutral tone is appropriate. For example: “Samsung launches the Galaxy Gear, a $299 smart watch, which reviewers are describing as a ‘significant step forward.’” Note that it doesn’t sound like this: “Everyone is raving about Samsung’s best innovation yet, the Galaxy Gear smart watch sold at an incredible value price of $299!”

When you decide to release a press release for a new product or event, of course your purpose is to be promotional but remember still that you are not writing an ad. Editors don’t like eager beavers on a sugar high.

We hope the above tips help you release a press release that truly works.