Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
While press releases may no longer be the best tool for increasing your search engine rankings, they still play an important role in a successful PR and marketing strategy. With a smart press release distribution plan, you can get your story noticed by reporters and position yourself to get free media coverage in newspapers, blogs, and on radio and TV.
Of course, the problem is that most press releases suck. Seriously. Have you ever read the crap that companies put out in their press releases? It’s garbage. It’s either boring, not newsworthy, self-promotional, irrelevant to anyone’s interests, or all of the above.
How can you write press releases that get noticed?
- Find a creative news angle—Instead of writing the same old “XYZ Company Announces blab la bla” press release, try to find a compelling hook for your story that grabs the attention of reporters. You have to think like a reporter. What story would their audience find interesting? Rather than focusing on promoting yourself, shift your focus to finding a story angle that the general public would find interesting, such as a real story about a real person (e.g. an employee overcoming great odds).
Tuesday, July 26th, 2011
Thanks to low quality press release directories, a lot of us have lost sight of what press releases are really supposed to be. A press release is supposed to be a piece that highlights a news story the media might be interested in covering. A press release isn’t supposed to be a poorly disguised advertisement for your company, and it’s not supposed to be something you thoughtlessly throw together and post online because you want to improve your search rankings.
In short, press releases are supposed to be newsworthy.
But what exactly does “newsworthy” mean?
For a story to be newsworthy, it should meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Timely—Go to the front page of CNN or your favorite news website. The featured stories are about things happening right now, not things that happened a year ago. The topic of your story needs to be current or connected to a trending topic in the media.
- Relevant—Your story needs to address an issue that the media outlet’s target audience will actually care about. For example, if you’re trying to get featured in Entrepreneur magazine, you’d better have a story that entrepreneurs (the people who read the magazine) would actually care about.
- New angle—You could get by with talking about an old subject if you find a new twist that makes it fresh and relevant.
- Human interest—Human interest stories tend to have a longer shelf life. They have an emotional element to them that people can really latch onto.
- Geo-specific—When targeting local media outlets, having a story that has a local angle or local appeal could be helpful.
What are some other criteria that could determine if a story is newsworthy?
Monday, July 25th, 2011
Want to get more media coverage? You have to start by knowing how to craft press releases that reporters, editors, bloggers, and other key media members respond to. And before you can do that, you need to understand the reasons that they typically ignore your press releases.
- Your story doesn’t have a strong news hook—If your story doesn’t have an interesting newsworthy angle, it stands no chance of getting picked up by the media. And it’s not just enough to have a newsworthy story; you have to know how to convey that news quickly and in a manner that instantly sucks the reader in. Reporters are busy, and they get bombarded with dozens of press releases each day. You need a strong headline and lead paragraph to grab their attention.
- The press release reads like an advertisement—Press releases are supposed to be factual and unbiased. They should deliver news, not read like a thinly-veiled advertisement for your company.
- You’re targeting the wrong media members—Make sure the media members you’re sending your press releases to are people who would actually cover your story. In other words, you wouldn’t send a tech story to a blogger who writes about politics. It doesn’t make sense. And while that might seem like common sense, too many people just blindly send out press releases and hope for the best.
- You’re not tailoring your press releases to your audience—Every audience is different—reporters, bloggers, TV producers, etc. They each have their own unique needs, so you need to tailor your press releases to each specific audience segment to get the best results.
- Your press release suffers from “TL;DR” Syndrome—Remember what I said earlier about reporters being busy? Well, it’s true. And because they’re starved for time, it’s your job to write concise, powerful press releases that get them interested enough to follow up with you for a full story. Remember, a press release doesn’t have to tell the full story. It’s simply a teaser, giving the reporter a starting point to go from. Keep it short and to the point, and include only the most important details.
What are some other reasons the media might ignore your press release?
Thursday, April 29th, 2010
In the past, I’ve talked quite a bit about the benefits of a sound press release distribution strategy. With good press releases sent out to a targeted list of interested reporters, your company can get valuable media coverage. This builds your credibility and boosts your name recognition, helping drive more customers to your business.
Now, when you’re starting your press release marketing campaign, you might be tempted to push your press releases on free distribution websites. These free press release directories let you post your news at no cost to you, so it seems like a good deal, right? Wrong.
Free press release websites are almost always a waste of time. Here are 4 reasons to avoid using them.
- Takes up too much time—I have a hard time considering free press release websites “free.” Why? Because it takes up so much of your time to find all the right directories, create accounts on each of them, and post press releases on one directory at a time. The process can take several hours. Ever heard the phrase “time is money”? I don’t know about you, but I could spend those hours on other marketing and PR tasks that would get much better results than putting my press release on some low-ranking free directories.
- You share space with spammers—Because these websites are free, they tend to attract a lot of spammers. Just take a look at any of the popular free press release websites. If you click on a few of the press releases, you’ll see most of them are more like advertisements than news. Do you really want your press release sitting on a website with a bunch of spam? It seems kind of pointless if you ask me.
- Journalists won’t see your press release—Isn’t the whole point of press release distribution to get your news picked up by the media? Yes, I know that press releases have become a good tool for SEO and link building, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw away the other benefits of a solid press release marketing strategy. The simple truth is if you only put your press releases on free websites, your story will never get picked up. Reporters don’t check these sites. You have to use a distribution service that gets your press release in the hands of targeted, influential reporters
- You have to pay if you want anything decent—There’s always a catch, isn’t there? With free press release websites, the catch is usually that you have to fork over some money if you want a wide range of features. For example, you usually have to pay extra if you want your press release to run without ads all over the page. You may also have to pay if you want to embed links in the press release. My advice: Save your money for an actual press release distribution service that can get you results.
Do you use free press release distribution websites? Why or why not?
Tuesday, March 24th, 2009
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.