10 Tips for Writing a Press Release

By Melissa Cohen
Press releases help create awareness of new developments in your company and also improve search engine rankings. Here are 10 tips to keep in mind when working through a press release with your PR team.

  1. Discuss the strategy and put it in writing. It's important to determine the overall objective for the announcement. Is this to create awareness, bring in leads or just give the industry a heads up?
  2. Talk about the timelines. If you want media coverage from a news announcement, make sure to give yourself enough time to talk with the media prior to the news going out (if you can). Personalize your news discussions and remember that you have to fit into the media's timeline for reporting and not when it suits you.
  3. Understand your audience. Who will be interested in your announcement? It's important to answer the question "will anyone care?" What will drive the results you're expecting?
  4. Outline expectations with your team. Most announcements that are important from an internal perspective are not breaking news to the industry. Set realistic goals and expectations for each announcement.
  5. Draft the release and choose a wire, if necessary. Most media do not read beyond the first two paragraphs, if they read it at all, so make sure the message is prominent and written in a language that is easy to understand. There are pros and cons to each wire service, so your PR professional can help determine which wire suits your company best. Also, consider that you can write an update to your corporate blog and point folks to it instead of issuing a press release.
  6. Create supporting content prior to the announcement. Focus on whitepapers, background information, screenshots or product photos, and priority social media outlets to post content on such as Slideshare, Flickr, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
  7. Optimize release with your SEO keywords. Conduct searches to identify top keywords or phrases that will attract your target audience. If you have an SEO team, make sure it is integrated into your PR efforts.
  8. Track conversations about news and comment. Monitor coverage and comment on what people are saying on social media outlets.
  9. Measure the impact. Results can be measured through press coverage, site traffic, links clicked in the release, social media mentions, comments, industry buzz or all of the above. Identify those achievements and determine the progress against business goals. Additionally, ask your customers what they are reading. If it's not where you are targeting, change your strategy so the impact is greater.
  10. Determine your follow-up strategy. PR teams need to follow up to provide the media with what they need to cover the story (photos, executive titles, research, charts, etc.).

What other tips would you recommend?