Effective Press Releases in the Digital Age

In the digital age when there are countless ways a public relations agency can promote a business, press releases may appear to have somehow taken the backseat. Look no further than the phone you probably have in your hand right now. What do you have open? Facebook, or some other social media app, maybe.

With these avenues where information is disseminated almost at lightning speed, is there a place for the tried-and-tested press release?

The answer is a resounding YES. Press releases, when done right digitally, are crucial for disseminating information, shaping a brand image and driving business success.

The key, therefore, is knowing how to craft one effectively, send it to key outlets where they will get picked up by the right journalists, and ensure that they are treated with as much importance as you would want news about your business to be.

Make Your Press Releases Attractive

An attention-grabbing press release takes more than just stringing a few words together. The reality is most press releases don’t even end up in the journalist’s inbox. Instead, they get tucked away in the junk mail.

The reason is most press releases have little or no apparent value to the media that get them. In short, they’re not newsworthy. Most journalists won’t take the time to even open your press release.

So first things first: know how to get people’s attention and convince them that your press release is worth their time.

Here’s how:

  • Build relationships with the media. Nowadays, it’s more about connections and relationships rather than the actual content of our press releases. It’s who you know. So make sure to make friends with the media by attending press events, doing your research about relevant journalists, and respecting their time. Most importantly, be useful to them! Give them information that they want–and that means information that’s timely, complete, and newsworthy.
  • Make sure your press release is newsworthy. Be updated about recent events in your industry, and connect your press release with those of relevance. It’s newsworthy if it’s novel, timely, of human interest, relevant, involves conflict, or concerning local events or people.
  • Write a convincing pitch. Start with a descriptive, catchy subject line. When you know the journalists you’re sending pitches to, you’ll also most likely know what will pique their interest, which is why knowing your media list is crucial.

Your pitch should also contain all the information that media outlets will need, including a list of people that they can interview, quotes that they can use, and figures that could bolster a story.

  • Don’t bury the lede. Always put the most important piece of information first. Even if media outlets pick up your press release and run them, your audience will most likely not have the time to read through an entire article. Imagine an inverted pyramid, where the heaviest part of your article is at the top. That’s how you want your press release to be structured.
  • Use media. Videos and other media make press releases more engaging, encouraging people to stay on the page longer than when there are only blocks of text. Certain media formats, like infographics and videos, are also a great way to drive a point in a way that people quickly understand.

Other Strategies for Making Effective Press Releases

You can use your press releases for more than just spreading information or increasing brand awareness. One of their biggest benefits is how effective they are in controlling a narrative about a brand.

Press releases are a proactive way to manage a reputation, which is always the best way to do it. While it can be done, repairing a damaged name can be more challenging than building one up.

Also, press releases provide a massive opportunity for people to get to know your business through your perspective, which allows you to shape the public’s perception of your brand and establish a name that people can trust.

In a fast-paced digital era, however, gone are the days when you needed only to email your press release over to a few media outlets, and you’re good to go. Here’s how to use this tool effectively today:

Optimize for SEO

Help your audience find your press releases faster and easier by optimizing your content for SEO. This means conducting keyword research, incorporating keywords into the copy, making use of Alt text, and optimizing images you use, among others.

Optimizing your content will help you rank higher in search results, so when your target audience looks up anything related to your industry or business, you’ll be among the first things they see.

This can transform your press releases from being just another information source to a tool that drives traffic to your website, improves your brand’s credibility, and even impacts conversion.

Leverage Social Media

If you’re not on social media yet, you should be. Building a community through social media will help your press releases reach a wider audience, spark more discussions, and create the right kind of buzz for your brand.

You can do this by announcing press releases on social media through:

  • Repurposing content from your press releases. Generate quotable snippets that you can publish via tweets or turn into catchy graphics.
  • Linking to your press releases. Make it easy for people to access your press releases by using prominent CTA buttons or providing links where they can be easily seen.
  • Keep it short and clear. People typically only scroll past posts on social media, which means you have to make sure to keep their attention by making content short, moving the most important information to the top, and using other media to keep people engaged.

Publish on Your Blogs

Blogs are a fantastic tool that brands can use to share industry knowledge, be helpful to their audience, and give updates. Some businesses don’t think of their blogs when looking to publish press releases, and this is a huge wasted opportunity.

Here, you have the freedom to publish as you please, optimize for SEO, and link to internal pages. You can also simply link to your published press release when writing a pitch to the media, which may help your email not get tagged as spam.

Partner with a Trusted PR Agency

The best way to craft press releases that hit the mark is to partner with a PR agency that knows your audience, can tell your story in a way that makes an impact, and can shape a positive brand reputation for you.

We now know that effective press releases take more than just good writing. Relationships are key, not only with industry figures and experts, but as well as with the media and your audience. And that’s time-consuming, often painstaking work that you don’t need to carry while running a business.

PR pros can do that for you, so you can focus on aspects of your business that need you most.

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