What Makes a Good Press Release?

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We all know the benefits of writing optimized press releases: high search engine placement, link building, and potentially getting your story picked up by major news networks. But what exactly constitutes a good press release? Surely, it takes more than a few keywords and well-placed back links, right?

Here are some tips for writing quality press releases.

  1. Make it newsworthy- Above all else, make sure your press release is newsworthy. Does anyone outside of your company care about your story? If not, don’t write about it. Don’t be shortsighted, thinking “Well, who cares if it’s newsworthy? It’ll get me top search engine placement!” That might be true, but what’s the point of top search engine placement if it doesn’t drive traffic or enhance your brand’s reputation? Press releases need to be compelling and worthy of being in a newspaper.
  2. Find a unique angle- A unique story angle is what’s going to separate your story from the thousands of other press releases. This should focus on one particular fact in your story or some sort of time-sensitive information. The key is to stay away from the same old “XYZ Company Creates Blog on Website” or “XYZ Company Adds New Service.” Find a way to approach your story that the average person can relate to.
  3. Get to the point- By the end of the first paragraph, your readers should know exactly what the story is about. It’s called the “Inverted Pyramid” method of writing. You put the most important information first, working through the less important details as you go on.
  4. Build credibility- Credibility is key with your press releases. You don’t want the reader to think it’s just a thinly-veiled advertisement. Be sure to include plenty of statistics and quotes from experts to make your press release more authoritative.
  5. Stop selling- Repeat after me: “Hard sells do NOT work in press releases!”
  6. Don’t over-optimize it- This is the biggest mistake I see with press releases today. Everyone knows press releases can get good search engine placement, so they stuff them full of keywords. What they don’t realize is it actually damages their reputation. The people who click on these press releases think the company is shady and spammy. And at the end of the day, what does that top search engine placement get you if no one wants to read your press release or click through the links?

Do you use press releases to promote your business? Which tips would you add to this list?

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