The PR News conference was this week, and I was the lucky lady from EPIC to attend. There was a ton of new information that was given to us, but one piece resonated with me – During Ben Lincoln (of Golin) and Dan Santow’s (of Edelman) presentation, they said, “The press release isn’t dead, it has caught up with the Internet. Most PR people just haven’t caught up with the press release.”
We are taught to write press releases that concentrate on good, newsworthy content and give journalists everything they need in a few concise paragraphs, but guess what? We have the Internet now! Our press release needs to evolve with the new generation of journalists and the ever-evolving media.
Over 1,700 press releases are sent out each day via the top three wire services — that’s a lot of competition! A release written the ‘old’ way will get lost in the shuffle, so you need to change the way it’s written to get journalists’ attention. How can we do this, you ask? Here are a few takeaways:
Put a call to action in the first or second paragraph
This gives the reader a chance to really learn about the company or product you are talking about within the release. Also, instead of imbedding the link within the text, have full link written out; this gives the reader a look at where they’re actually going when they click, and the Google algorithm likes it.
Add digital assets
According to a study from PR Newswire, press releases that contain images, infographics, logos and videos have a 92% visibility increase. In other words, make it look more aesthetically pleasing and it is more likely to be read.
The 800 words or less rule is history
Releases can be longer if the information within the release is well written and provides interesting, quality information that makes the journalist’s job easier. Also, the Google algorithm likes it.
Keep the headline short
As much as we all think we know and abide by this, a lot of the time we still go over 100 characters. If we keep it fewer than 63 characters while still being informative, the release is more likely to be opened and published. And again, the Google algorithm likes it.
Lists in a release make information easier to read
68% of journalists just want the facts, Greentarget reported. This, along with a great headline, will give the journalist everything he or she needs to write a story.
There you have it. The press release isn’t dead and Google can live in harmony with the top wire services. We simply have to continue adapting to the ever-changing world of media. Applying these key lessons is a great start in helping you get the most from your next release.