Old school press releases follow a standardized template: write a catchy headline, get the five W’s and one H in your release (the who, what, why, where, when and how), include some good quotes, and at the end of your release, don’t forget to put in the about us and contact information. OK, maybe I’m simplifying it a bit, but most press releases of yesteryear follow the same format more or less.
While some of the old rules still apply, it’s a whole new digital world out there. Social media has changed the landscape for getting the word out on newsworthy stories. Because the Internet has made the world of finding information super easy, you will need to follow some digital guidelines if you want to get your press release noticed by publishers, editors, reporters and bloggers. If you already know how to use social media to promote yourself, you’re in good shape. Below are some tips to help get you ahead of the game:
1. RESEARCH. Research appropriate keywords and create a list. The internet works on indexed words and topics. You want to include words and phrases you think someone who is searching for similar information found in your press release will come across. There are a whole slew of free services that can help you determine which keywords might be best for your press release. I am a big fan of Google Adwords, but find what works best for you.
2. KEYWORDS. Put your juiciest keywords in your title without sacrificing a catchy line. Put yourself in your audiences shoes and write a headline that will attract their interest without sounding like you stuffed the headline with a bunch of keywords. Remember, you have plenty of time to get more keywords into the body of your press release.
3. ASSETS. Put together a packet of digital assets. Once you’ve written your release, make sure you save it in a non-formatted standard like RTF (or Rich Text Format). This will make it easier for a publisher, reporter or editor to quickly post it in an HTML friendly site. You may also want to consider attaching other visual assets to your release like photos or videos. Publishers are always looking for visuals to accompany their content to give it more appeal. This makes the publishers job easier if they don’t have to go out and get assets on their own.
4. DISTRIBUTE. Distribute like crazy. There are a multitude of sites that offer distribution. Some are free and some you have to pay for. Which you use may depend on the subject matter, your audience or the geographic location you are targeting. Regardless, do your homework before choosing a press release service.
5. SELF-PROMOTE. Promote your own press release. Use Twitter, facebook, your blog, your main site, email and any other digital tool you can think of to get people interested in your story. Start with the audience you already have then work your way outward. Often times if you can get a large audience interested in your story, a publisher will be happy to pick it up.Â Get it out there and create your own buzz.
6. NETWORK. Get in touch with editors via email or even by phone. This is a bit old school. Writing an email to an editor or writer is an art in itself. Be creative. don’t just forward the press release. Introduce yourself and pitch the story in a short, concise way. Tell them why your story would be of interest to them. Most people who are looking for content get tons of press release submissions a day. Figure out a way to stand out. Do your research before sending out an email blast of your press release. Make sure that your release is relevant to who you are sending it to.
7. AMAZING CONTENT. Be Amazing. Be original. Your press release must be newsworthy.Â Ask yourself if you really have something that people will want to read about? Publishers, bloggers, reporters and editors all want the same thing; original content that will attract lots of readers. That means that the content has to be extraordinary. So what are you waiting for? Go out there and give the world something amazing.