The 3 Steps to Mastering the Modern Press Release

In years past, companies used press releases so that a journalist could notice it, and that a piece of the release would get published in some news publication. Today, most of those news publications are extinct. Just like other forms of media promotion, the press release has made its home online. And the good thing: Press releases can still be effective—depending on what you want to accomplish with them.

The press release is a promotion tool. You’re going to use it to gain publicity or recognition for your business, while also increasing sales.

The press release is still effective because, if it’s good enough, it can get featured in various online and offline publications, gaining you heaps of publicity. This is not like it was in years past. Press releases were generally only read by reporters, and if you had to write something really relevant and important for it to get noticed by them. If you wrote a press release, there was no guarantee that it would reach the reporter’s hand, and even if it did, businesses were never certain that it was going to be successful.

Sites like PRWeb have permanently changed the game. PRWeb is a service that will distribute your release to Google News, Yahoo!, and Bing; it will also get sent to over 30,000 journalists and bloggers and 250,000 of PRWeb’s subscribers. With PRWeb and other sites like it, your press releases will get distributed. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it will bring you business, or that it would even get read. For that, the press release needs to be well written.

Step 1: Know what you’re going to write about and who you are going to write it for

Don’t write randomly. It’s going to be a waste of time and money if you write a press release on a trivial topic; it’ll be even worse if you write it for the wrong audience. They work best when the business has something newsworthy to share. For example, here is a list of things that a press release would be perfect for:

  • Discounts and specials
  • Events
  • Announcing any policy changes
  • Changes in ownership or management
  • New product lines
  • A new website
  • A new store or office location

If you don’t have anything remotely newsworthy to share, don’t even waste your time. That being said, you should be looking for decent reasons to create a press release. Every business should have something going on. A high quantity of relevant press releases will do you no harm.

If you want your press release to appear in certain types of publications, write it for certain types of people. Write it for the people that you want to convert into buyers. From the outset, write it so that your target market will be interested.

Step 2: Follow the format

Following a basic format will increase the readability of your press release. Here’s a look at the common press release format:

  1. Dateline– The date of the press release.
  2. Immediate contact info– Name, email and phone of the contact person.
  3. Headline– Usually in bold typeface; it’s attention-grabbing and should give a general summary of the content in the release.
  4. Sub-headline– This should further elaborate on the headline.
  5. Intro paragraph– This should immediately answer who, what, when, where and why. The reason for the press release should immediately be made clear in the intro.
  6. Body– Additional paragraphs to elaborate on the announcement.
  7. Company info– Like a short “About Us”. Relevant info about your company.

The press release shouldn’t be over 500 words long. Stick to 1-2 pages. You should get straight to the point. Ask yourself “why should the person reading this press release care?” If you cannot answer that, then there is a strong possibility that your release will go unnoticed.

Step 3: Fit the press release into your sales process

You’re not just looking for increased publicity with your press release. You’re looking for fresh prospects that will eventually be converted into buyers.

Here’s the tricky part: A good press release shouldn’t be salesy. Even if you’re announcing a product launch, the press release shouldn’t sound like it’s actively compelling the reader to buy.

The best ways to start the process of converting readers into buyers is to:

  • Weave in “buyer keywords” into the body of the release.
  • Direct the reader to your sales funnel with a call to action.

The buyer keywords are used to attract the type of prospects that you’re looking for. The call to action would be a link to a webpage that is more sales-focused. It could be an opt-in page to gather their information; it could be a sales page or a page that has info about your product or service.

The idea is to get the ball rolling with prospects that are likely to become customers. This is accomplished without damaging the integrity of your press release.

Follow these three steps to get the most out of your press release.

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Joseph Riviello

Joseph L. Riviello is the CEO and Founder of Zen Agency. Joe's agency builds websites and web applications that attract, engage, and convert. Joe has over 30 years of experience in entrepreneurship and he is an expert digital marketing strategist who specializes in conversion-centric e-commerce experiences and cutting-edge solutions that maximize growth and profit. Check out Joe featured on: Business.com, Redbooth.com, Kabbage.com, MaterialDesignBlog.com

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