Over the past five years of my marketing career there has been a swift change in how businesses market their products. Five years ago companies were compelled to use top bracket marketing and advertising agencies and were also likely to pay PR agencies a lot of money for press exposure that was not guaranteed within their contract. It is easy to see why this was the case as no press is guaranteed without it being paid for, more so now than ever in print.
Online PR has become an essential part of the mareketeers toolkit. With business owners being fed horror stories on every news channel about the state of the economy there is no wonder that generally people are pulling in their purse strings. (I bet the person who thought of that phrase would be shocked it is still used in 2011.)
Whichever way a business decides to play the current market a little help in hand from some online publicity can make customers aware that a business is there. As you may already know PR is a way of informing potential customers of events, newsworthy stories a business would like to share, and of course, that potential customers would like to read.
Publishing a press release online can be quicker than waiting for a journalist to have a slow day and then decide to print your news. This is true, but you have to spend a lot of time distributing the press release to as many relevant sites as possible. This means sites that potential customers will visit such as newspaper sites, industry specific sites, journals, business forums and social sites.
There are plenty of websites on the net that are available specifically for adding press releases and because they receive so many press releases they can rank high with your business name in Google results. It is really important to make sure you have a newsworthy story and to make sure that you follow industry format.
Here are 10 points to consider when writing an online press release:
- Write a clear title that is not cryptic. Newspaper articles can use playful titles but remember it is more important to have key words within the title and to capitalise them. This is different from actual writing but the rules are, very different.
- Add a clear and concise subtitle.
- Date the release and add your company name and most importantly contact details so customers and the press can contact you.
- Add your logo if there is the option to and also your web address.
- The first paragraph is a summary of the whole article. What are they key points of the press release? Hook the reader and state the key facts in no more than 250 characters.
- The content should work in the same way as a newspaper article. Imagine the format is in a pyramid shape that is divided horizontally into 4 slices. The first section would be the top which would take the form of a small triangular shape and the sections would grow larger towards the bottom sections. Place a smaller amount of the most important news at the top and lesser details that take longer to explain at the bottom of the press release.
- Use simple writing tricks such as, alternating longer and shorter sentences, to create a rhythm. Use the rule of three. This is an excellent way of demonstrating not once, not twice, but three times how relevant a point is. There is a bounce to the sentence that creates liveliness.
- Always include a quote from the most impressive and relevant person you can find to make a quote. Make sure you have signed permission to use it.
- An online press release should only really take up one A4 sheet so, around 250 to 300 words is sufficient.
- Make a list of sites that you think your customers will visit and also press release sites that will help your ranking. Keep your list up to date and distribute press releases on a regular basis.