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How to Write a Press Release that Gets Attention

This guest post is by Frank Strong of PRWeb.

Writing good content for a blog is only half of the equation: promoting your blog to drive traffic is the other half.

Previously we offered five reasons to promote your blog with press releases as part of an overall content marketing strategy. This post provides a few tips on how to write a press release for maximum media exposure.

1. Create compelling headlines.

Should you use a sexy headline that attracts eyeballs or a headline stuffed with keywords for search? We’ve always found that people read content, not search engines, so while it’s important to include keywords in your headline where possible, only use them when they make sense in context.

Just like the subject line of an email invites a recipient to open a message, headlines should compel a reader to consume your content.

2. Draw the reader in with the lead.

The first sentence of the body—the lead—should compel the viewer to keep reading (think: time-on-page). Traditional PR pros will tell you to write using an inverted pyramid, where the content flows top down and the first paragraph explains the five Ws: the who, what, when, where and why.

There’s nothing wrong with that, however, we think the use of press releases has evolved, where they once were primarily used to provide a news hook to the media in order to reach an audience, they now can also reach that audience directly.

As such, in some cases, the press release is the story and the better performing releases (in terms of page reads) we’ve seen read like the story—complete with a powerful lead.

3. Use anchor text links.

It’s a fundamental, but often overlooked, point: anchor text links are pivotal! Be sure to hyperlink your keywords to pages on your blog that are optimized for the same key words.

This ensures that when press release syndication network distributes the content, your keywords are still hyperlinked to the content you’re promoting. Once again, people read content, so ensure that the keywords make sense in the structure and flow of your copy.

4. Include a powerful call to action.

You’ve written a release with compelling headlines and copy that drew the reader in. Now, what action would you like people to take? Invite them to take that action. For many blogs, this would be to visit the blog, subscribe via RSS, or sign up for email alerts on new posts.

5. Choose a strong press release topic.

Stuck for press release ideas? We have a list of hot topics for press releases. When you’re coming up with an idea, the trick is to think like a PR pro—what about your blog, personal life, or business could you see being picked up by the mainstream media? What is the “remarkable” story you have to share?

While those are big-ticket themes, a more tactical approach would be to publish a release about your most popular posts—the top ten of the year, or the five most read every quarter (or month if you’re a prolific blogger). Your release content should focus on the trend. For example, why are readers consuming those specific posts?

For further reading on creating great press releases, try:

Have you used a press release to promote your post? What tips can you add to this list?

Frank Strong is director of public relations for PRWeb.

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Comments

  1. Jia Jun says:

    Not much people gonna stay long in an article or something, thus the ONE sentence need to be very catchy in order to grab reader attention, and that’s headline.
    It’s amazing that, sometimes, words can be like a design that psychology attract attention of someone to further understand it. :D

  2. “Invite them to take that action.” Very useful part. Good post.

    • Ganesh says:

      Yes- I agree with taking action to make a good post.

      • I’ve improve my writing skill after reading this post, Traffic has gone up since that day.
        Thanks probloger. This is fantastic post.

        Please take action and practice the tips given.

        Cheers,
        Ganesh

  3. Robin says:

    I am sorry to be picky but the introductory section of an article or story is actually called the, “lede”. It is pronounced the same way so it can be confusing.

  4. Great info! This is just what I was looking for. I’ve never written a press release before and have been wanting to but did not know how to. Now, I think I can give it a try following your guidelines. Thanks!

    • Sarah Jo says:

      @Sheila: I’m in your boat! Now I have a sort of formula to follow for writing my press releases!

      To the author: what are some channels for distributing our press releases once we’ve written them?

  5. Great Post Frank. Actually i never tried Press Release but i think it is very useful.
    You’ve made some awesome points to write a great press release.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Very good ideas. Writing a PR for a big site can definitely help you build quality back-links and highly targeted traffic.

  7. Blog Towkay says:

    This is certainly an interesting way to build more credibility and draw in traffic. But most importantly, I think your article missed out on the SEO aspect of the press release. Having good anchor text in your press release is a good way to build quality links from external sites. And having good news sites with high page rank linking to you will certainly help the search engines to categorize your site as more trustworthy.

  8. Pete Carr says:

    Hi Frank,
    I am very glad that you have included a guide for press release topics. I have been considering press releases for a while now, but never really new whether I had anything news worthy. Your list has taught me differently.
    Thanks
    Pete

  9. Great post, I wrote a press release a few years ago. It was the best I could do with my limited experience and I got more advertising value online from that then any advertisement I ever bought…just imagine if I knew what i was doing.

  10. It’s my plan to sort my press release out for April 2011… That’s the month I’ve set myself to go from hobby to business!…

    Thanks,

    David Edwards

    @asittingduck

  11. smbchamp says:

    I wouldnt agree to some extend with anchor text links within the press releases. Google and for that matter most search engines are devaluing the anhcor text links within the press release posted on press release sites. However, the true benefit is from sites that republish these releases. However, once spammers start abusing this system, its going to be less effective.

    In my opinion people shouldnt just send out press releases when they launch a website. In those cases, they dont need to go for massive distribution sites like prweb. They can go with low profile press release sites that provides the same coverage minus the distriution to huge number of journalists.

    Even if journalists read your release they are not going to take notice unless you are a celebrity or a huge company (start up companies with nice VC firms to back them up will also work).

    My strong opinion is that press release needs to be treated as a press release and not as a medium to gain links. There are much better scenarios for this. Do article marketing if you wish. It wouldnt cost you this much either.

    • Frank Strong says:

      @smbchamp – you’re point definitely has merit. I think the value comes from writing compelling content, which other people in turn choose to link. That’s a vote of confidence held in high regard by search. You might also be interested in Jiyan’s post (he wrote the previous piece mentioned earlier in this post): How many back links can I get for $200: http://bit.ly/f0326o

  12. Getting more attention from Press Release needs more than working on the basic copywriting techniques. Human interest sidelights will also work.

  13. Ashlie says:

    It is all about writing to people. I love it when you said that people don’t read search engines! That is a big part I think. You do have to know how to get your website ranked good in the SERPs but you can’t be spamming. People only read stuff and stay on sites with content written for them!

  14. Good stuff. Thanks.

    I didn’t realize the links had to be for the same keywords. Makes sense in a linear-computer-brain sort of way. I always made my links fit the flow of the sentence for the human–geez, what was I thinking?

    • Frank Strong says:

      Yes, for best results, the key words in your release should be linked to content on your site that is relevant. Thanks for the comment!

  15. Paul says:

    Excellent post. Yes, press releases work very well and the tips you provided are good for over-all marketing and website traffic. What works even better are local releases I’ve done this numerous time with some very good results
    Paul

  16. 4. Include a powerful call to action.

    I love to be pragmatic,

    thanks for the tips.

  17. Jim Brollier says:

    This is just what I was needing in order to know how to begin in sending out my first press release. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Brandon Cox says:

    It’s funny, but I’ve relied so heavily on blogging to promote news that I feel totally clueless about press releases. Thanks for the great introduction!

  19. krissy knox says:

    I think points #4 (include a powerful call to action) and #5 (choose a strong press release topic) are extremely important ideas, and would be profitable as well.

    It seems, after reading the thread following the above post, some commentators don’t believe this kind of PR would result in good ROI, either online or off. I don’t believe this. I believe the PR ideas provided by Mr Frank Strong are excellent ones. We should consider new and innovative ways of promoting our blogs, as well as continuining to use some of the old ways.

    Thank you, Frank!

    krissy knox :)
    Sometimes I Think
    let’s connect on Twitter: http://twitter.com/iamkrissy
    how about friends on FB? http://www.facebook.com/krissyknox

  20. Frank Strong says:

    @Krissy – thanks for the kind words! Glad it was useful!

  21. Jerrick says:

    Yeah, you are right. I always looking at the title and the first sentences which is attractive for me to continue to study or not. If not i would not continue to study it because it seem to be boring.

  22. Michael says:

    I did a couple a press releases a few years ago for one of my sites & I found this a useful post as I will be officially launching my new site in the new year & I am planning a press release to coincide with this event.

    I agree with all the points made by Frank & it is a nice reminder for me to put some thought into how I structure the release, what content to include & what call to action I can use to induce a positive response.

    Thanks, a useful reminder.

  23. What a great post! I loved the simple tactical notes here. Thank you!

  24. Graham Leach says:

    This is a helpful guide to writing a press release that’s going to grab a journalist’s attention.

    However, there’s one glaring omission. A good press release cries out for a quote or two from the main actors in the story. Without this, the news release will lack that crucial element of any news story – “human interest”.

    Moreover, a good quote should read as though the person to whom it is attributed has actually spoken the words. Too often quotes in news releases are written in stilted, jargon-ridden language, which simply does not sound authentic as no normal person would speak like that.

  25. The key here is knowing the terms the public is very comfortable with and use them when writing your content so that you can promote a better understanding. Interesting blog.

  26. Brad Dalton says:

    Good post. Does anyone know of a good wordpress plugin that auto links anchor text keywords internally?