Press releases are still a fantastic way to shine the spotlight on your small business. They can serve as a sort of megaphone to praise your company’s achievements, progress, product announcements, new hires and other major milestones. They key to a successful press release has a lot to do with how it’s written in the first place. We’ve put together a few tips on how to make your press releases more impactful so you get the biggest bang for your efforts.

Get the basics of your press release right

about us in press releasesBefore we provide some tips on how to write an amazing press release, be sure you have the basics of creating a press release down, which include:

  • An informative and interesting headline that answers the question, “Why should I care about this press release?”
  • Well-written and direct copy without grammar errors or fluff
  • A dateline
  • A powerful first paragraph that delivers on key takeaways (Who, What, Where, When, and Why)
  • A clear call-to-action at the end that directs readers to the specific page on your website that prompted the press release
  • Information about your company that includes a link to your website
  • PR contact information for convenient follow-up by interested readers and press

Here are a few examples of press releases to understand how to nail those 7 points above.

Is your news really news at all?

who what where when why how As small business owners, we sometimes get tunnel vision on what we consider newsworthy information when it comes to our own company. If you’re struggling with the first bullet listed, “why should I care about this press release?” stop and ask yourself if it’s really news at all, or just exciting news for you. Here are a few examples of what might be considered newsworthy:

  • New product release
  • Major events
  • New hires (usually management level or higher)
  • Acquisition or merger with another company
  • Major award or accolade that showcases your company
  • Rebranding/name change

Look at your press release concept and ask yourself if anyone outside your company would really take the time to read the press release based on the merit of the announcement. Here are a few examples of what not to write a press release about:

  • Relocation
  • New hires (sales reps or lower-level personnel)
  • Attending a conference

If you’re not sure if your news is really worthy of a release, chances are it’s not!

Understand who you’re writing the press release for

audience for press releasesIn many ways, press releases are another form of content marketing and like content marketing, you need to know your audience if you want your content to get any traction. Regardless of whether you use a press distribution program or target individual journalists, keep in mind that your release will not be the only one crossing their desk (or screen) today, so make it relevant to the people you want to see it. Know what kind of news will excite people in your industry. Use their language but don’t overuse industry jargon. Understanding your readership goes a long way in ensuring your press release gets traction.

Use quotes

It’s time to again bring out the saying, “People don’t buy from companies, they buy from people”. In this case, people want to hear from another person, so make sure you’re using at least one quote in your press release. It makes it more personable, it adds a level of interest, and people actually care what other people have to say. Quotes are the best opportunity to highlight what may otherwise seem too subjective for a press release. Make it interesting and relevant; ideally from someone within your company that’s fairly high-profile.

Take time to craft a good press release headline

Readers won’t get past the headline if it’s a big snooze fest and doesn’t capture their interest, so really take the time to craft a good headline! Here are a few tips on how to write an awesome headline:

  • Use an active voice to illustrate action or activity
  • Use data when possible, to make your headline more interesting. Percentages are a great example of data to use.
  • Choose language that paints a picture so people really understand what the release is about

Cision put a great list of PR headline tips together.

Use visuals to your release

picturesWhenever appropriate, try to embed images and/or videos into your press release, which will help it become more interesting and engaging to your readership. Not every distribution channel allows for images or videos, so be sure your press release can stand alone without the image or video.

Don’t forget to SEO your press release

Yes, SEO is relevant for press releases. Be sure to pick solid keyword phrases that are relevant to your industry and should be driving traffic to your website. Include links in your release but don’t overdo it! Only use links that are relevant to the content. Most distribution channels will allow you to add links to your release, so choose strong keyword phrases to link. Some actually have built-in tools to help you optimize your release — use them!

Use multiple channels to distribute your release

Now that you have a powerful press release, don’t let it die by distributing on only one source. Start with a good distribution channel. Here are the tops ones to consider:

  • Marketwire
  • Business Wire
  • PRWeb (Cision)
  • PRNewswire

After using a distribution channel, don’t stop there! You should share your release on social channels, on your website, and even industry publications if possible.

Press releases are still a solid form of marketing for small businesses, and wonderful for PR. Following these tips will make your press releases more impactful and help you get the results you’re looking for.

Patty Hughes
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