If your business isn’t writing and sending out press releases, you should start immediately. Not only will a good press release boost your brand awareness, but it can also get powerful links back to your site (Hello SEO boosts galore).
In addition to these benefits, press releases are also great for:
- Announcing a new product or service
- Driving interest through images and videos
- Expanding public knowledge of your company and industry
- Social sharing – endless viral possibilities
Without a doubt, press releases are still as relevant today as they were 20 years ago. So, if you’re not writing press releases, or are having trouble figuring out how to write an effective one, follow this formula to create a powerful and impactful press release.
Identify an Industry Shift and Make Your Target Demographic the Hero
The most difficult part of a press release is figuring out what to write about. If you don’t have a new product development announcement or internal news that needs to be shared, then look at the big picture of your industry. Think of a specific shift that is occurring in your sector and how your business relates to it. Is there are a new technology that has recently been released that your business is now using? Or is there a consumer preference trend that your company is addressing in your products or operations.
Once you find a shift to talk about, figure out how you can make your target market the hero of the press release. In other words, why are those in your target market smart for using your service or product?
A simple example: Let’s say you sell winter boots and there is a trend in consumers who want to buy both functional and stylish boots. The story of your press release would be how many boot companies are creating products that hit both of these criteria, with a reference to how your business is making the switch effectively and how your boots don’t sacrifice functionality for looks. Therefore, people who shop for boots at your store will have great looking boots and ones that work well for the winter.
Use an Attention-Grabbing Headline
The headline should attract viewers coming across your press release and encourage them to read further. If you write a lack-luster headline, no one will be interested in reading the entire press release.
An example of a headline for a press release we wrote for a client:
Simple, Efficient, and Cost-Effective: Why Businesses Are Integrating Simple Technologies into Their Operations
This title illustrates what will be discussed in the press release and gives the reader an idea of what they will learn about and why it is important. Not every reader will find this headline interesting, but the target market of our client will, which is what really matters.
Begin With the Location and Date
The standard way to begin a press release is to establish a setting for the reader. Typically it will be in the format of the city and state of your business’ location followed by the date the press release will be released.
For example: Minneapolis, Minnesota – 12-28-18 — (first sentence of press release)
This is done to give the reader a sense of where the story is coming from and helps them envision the story and information that is about to be told to them.
Start With a Powerful Hook
With any writing – whether it’s a novel, poem, or press release – you must begin with powerful, attention-grabbing hook. Just because your header was good doesn’t guarantee they’ll read the entire press release. You have to keep the momentum going by writing an opening paragraph that encourages the reader to keep going.
Tip: Open with a relevant situation that your target market finds themselves in and associate it with the pain point that your target market has.
Use Statistics to Emphasize the Point You Are Trying to Make
Utilizing relevant statistics from high quality sources will help lend credibility to your press release and the stat should be used to reinforce the point that is trying to be made.
For example, if you were trying to convey the shift in consumers wanting diet beverages, a good state would be: According to ABC News, 65% of Americans now prefer diet soda over regular.
Use a Quote From an Authoritative Figure
Using a quote is a good way to once again make your press release credible. It is also a great way to link back to your site and to draw attention to your business. Have someone higher up, like a CEO or marketing director, comment on the industry shift that you are highlighting and how your business is reacting to it/changing their operations to meet the new standards that the shift has created.
For example, if you’re a coffee shop and the trend you’re talking about is the shift in consumer preferences for organic, biodegradable coffee cups, a good quote would be:
“Consumers are more concerned than ever about their environmental impact,” Says John Doe, owner of Coffee and Cakes, a coffee shop in Minneapolis,” Because of this, we have committed ourselves to only using biodegradable coffee cups in our operations.”
Don’t Go Too Long
If you’re press release drags on, it’s likely that the reader will eventually grow disengaged or may decide not to read it altogether if it looks too long. Somewhere in between 300-450 words is the sweet spot and makes for a brief and efficient read.
Wrap it Up With a CTA to Pay Attention to the Shift Going Forward
This is a solid way to make sure that the reader doesn’t immediately forget about the information you just told them and to encourage them to pay attention to the shift and to keep your brand in mind going forward.