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Six ways to get the most out of your news releases

Newspaper with the headline "Press Release"

We all want to achieve more online visibility, engagement, and earned media interest when it comes to our news releases. Here are six tactics to keep in mind when crafting these valuable pieces of communication.

Send the release at an off time

Many news releases are scheduled to go out between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. The top of the hour brings a deluge of news to reporters.

Instead, try sending out news at an off time, such as 7:37 a.m. or 10:21 a.m. With fewer releases distributed at “off” times, you may find it easier to catch the eye of a reporter on the hunt for a new story.

Never underestimate the power of a quality headline

The headline is the most important 100-some characters of the news release — and it shouldn’t be much longer than that. Your headline should be clear, honest, and offer a deliverable promise to readers that the news you’re presenting is worth their time.

Studies show that eight out of 10 people who view an article won’t read past the headline. That means the headline must be engaging enough to draw in that 20% or more. That doesn’t mean using clickbait to attract an audience; clickbait betrays the reader’s trust. You always should follow up on the promise of your headline.

The most effective news release headlines:

  • Include relevant search keywords, such as company, brand, product names, and common search strings used by targeted consumers
  • Include a data point or number
  • Are clearly attributed to the company issuing the news
  • Are playful or offer a “tease” to readers to reel them (if it makes sense based on the content)
Use multimedia and make it interesting

When you send a personnel announcement or a new product release, use a headshot or an image of the actual product to fully engage the reader.

And don’t be afraid to go beyond the traditional. Instead of the typical headshot in front of a standard gray background, show your new CEO in his or her element, talking to employees or customers, or touring the factory floor. Add a video or infographic to bring to life the data you want to highlight. Multimedia assets should personalize news, not just illustrate it.

Write for a reader who’s on the go

Your recipient has decided to click on the headline and read your release. Now what? You need to keep your readers engaged with copy that is not only interesting and informative but formatted for easy reading.

Many readers – as well as journalists on deadline – might not invest the time to pore over an article word for word. With so much competition out there, you need to make it easy for people to consume your content. By employing section headers, bullets, and numbered lists, you can help your readers pick out that content that’s most relevant to them.

Do
  • Start with a key highlights section containing the most important takeaways.
  • Organize lists of product features, financial data points, and so on, in bullets or numbered-list format.
  • Use bold section headers to set apart sections (i.e., Executive Quotes, Quarterly Performance), so readers can skip to the information in which they’re most interested.
Do not
  • Include blocks of long paragraphs. These can be intimidating and might scare off online browsers.
Enable a two-way conversation

Many news releases come off as more of a speech than a conversation, and that is to their detriment. Readers don’t want to be talked at – they want to be talked to and given the chance to respond. Give them a way to talk back by including features like a ClickToTweet link, other links to the company’s most-used social channels, or just a link back to a place on the website where they can sign up, download supplemental materials, or read more about the brand.

Doing this also allows your team to better measure a release’s impact. Cision’s PR Newswire Visibility Reports provide a glimpse into how many readers clicked on specific links or shared the release on social channels. That’s invaluable insight into what’s working well and what can be improved in your brand’s comms strategy.

Allow time to proofread

There’s almost nothing worse than spending a ton of time and a good chunk of budget on sending a news release, only to find out it contains a typo. The news release should portray your organization as an authority, a trusted entity, and a typo makes readers doubt that premise.

Professional help is available, from services such as PR Newswire Content Specialists. Each month, on average, our team catches approximately 3,800 errors in copy for our clients. These pros are trained to scour content for grammar, spelling, consistency, day/date, non-working hyperlinks, and other clear errors.

Once the news release has been crafted, proofread, and approved, you can share it with the world with Cision Distribution by PR Newswire.

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