Before submitting your press release, you need to check a number of things to ensure that you’re producing a ready-to-publish copy that journalists would want to cover. You have to make sure that your content has perfect grammar, word usage, right format, visuals, boilerplate and a media contact information.
Is it news? Are you sharing a newsworthy content? If you’re a marketer, you have to spend a great deal of time to ensure that your business strategy is inclined with your marketing goals.
You cannot just issue a release about a topic, without planning. How are you going to track its results?
In this post, we’ll discuss the elements that you need to check and verify before you hit the “send” button. Remember that a release is about you. A poorly written can hurt you, or damage your reputation.
How did you craft the headline? An ideal headline must be short, succinct, has a keyword, and attention-grabbing.
It should be not more than 70 characters. Otherwise, search engines like Google chop off words after the 70-character limit. Place the keyword in the first three words to ensure that it is optimized for the search engines.
Keywords give readers a hint about what they can expect from the content. Overall, make it interesting, and relevant for the readers. If it catches the attention of journalists, they would surely proceed to the ledge, which gives them a chance to decide, whether to write the story or not.
Next to the headline is the lede paragraph that contains the what, where, when, who, why and how details of the story. If the headline is designed to grab the reader’s attention, the lede keeps their interest.
A good lede offers the key information about the story. Don’t place it in other places in the release, other than the first paragraph. Journalists expect to see it there. If they can’t find it right away, they’re more likely to ignore your content and move to other newsworthy releases in their inbox.
3. Supporting details.
Check how you can back up your claims. Gather additional details to support the facts. Perhaps you can include data, graphs, charts or infographics?
Journalists need to verify the information you have presented. Make it easy for them to check its accuracy.
However, don’t add much information that you are no longer encouraging your audience to learn more about your offer. Keep in mind that you should tease them to visit your site to boost their engagement.
Provide details, but ensure to still make them more interested in your offer. Furthermore, it supports your claims and verifies its authenticity.
The credibility of news is critical. You don’t want your releases to be rejected because your claims aren’t accurate.
Before submission to media outlets, reporters and newswire, check what images or video you included in your content. It should be in high definition and can be downloaded by reporters anywhere.
Include images and video relevant to your story. For instance, if your story is about a new mobile device model, include the image or a video of how it is being manufactured.
Images help readers to understand the information you are sharing, especially if it is too technical or complex. On the other hand, videos make digesting of information easier.
If images are worth a thousand words, videos are worth millions. Your audience can quickly pick up the message you want to share, without the need to read a block of text.
Moreover, content with visuals gets more reads and shares. Audiences are more encouraged to share content that has visuals.
5. Call-to-action (CTA).
Is there a CTA in your release? CTA’s come in different styles, such as a button, sidebar, pop-up, sidebar, blog and many more. It is designed to encourage audiences to take a particular action.
You should check if your CTA is inclined with your goal. It is used to get a response from users.
Examples of CTA in a release:
● To fill up a form
● To sign up for a subscription
● To buy buttons or add to cart
● Read more
● Social media sharing button
When creating CTA’s, you must remember these features:
● Copy or text
It’s a wrong notion that there should only be one CTA. The more CTA you have in a content, the higher the chance for you to convert a user. Actually, it is one effective method to increase your conversion rate.
Always include a CTA in your release. It is your opportunity to convert users.
In placing your CTA, make sure that it is prominent in the release. Place it strategically, where readers can see it easily.
When adding CTA, hyperlink on the keyword and not on generic terms. Are you sure you hyperlinked on the keyword to provide readers a hint of what they are about to access?
What type of quotes you included in your release? Make sure that the quotes you provide come from credible sources who are directly affected by your news.
Quotes should provide credibility and a human element. Does your quotes have proper attribution? Does it support your claims?
Did you use conversational language? Avoid industry jargons. Provide insights and not information.
If your source doesn’t say it very well and you think you can say it better, edit it. Journalists should use it in the story they are going to write, otherwise, they are going to arrange for an interview to get new quotes.
Check your format. A release follows a standard format: headline, dateline, lede, body, boilerplate and media contact.
If your release doesn’t follow this structure, your content will automatically get deleted. Journalists are strict when it comes to formatting. Basically, releases are written like news.
Check if your content has complete elements. Submitting it, without checking the format is not going to help you get media coverage.
8. Inverted pyramid.
A release follows the inverted pyramid of writing. The information is presented based on the degree of significance.
The most important information is presented in the beginning and ends with the least important. Did you place the key information in the lede? Did you support it with additional details?
Always end your release with a boilerplate. Sometimes, the media contact is placed in the beginning while others place it in the end.
9. Length of release.
Ideally, a release must be between 300 and 500 words. Don’t write more than the required length because it doesn’t fit the standard newsprint.
Make sure that you avoid information overload. Provide links in order for your audience to get more information from your site. It helps drive more traffic to your site.
Avoid needless words that don’t improve the context of your releases, such as industry jargons, buzzwords, and adjectives. Keep the facts straight. Get to the point.
Condense sentences and paragraphs. Do not add irrelevant ideas.
Your release should be easy on the eyes. Do not make it longer just to impress the journalists. Keep in mind that they follow a standard length.
Check your story’s newsworthiness. What is the news value of your story? Do you think it is enough to let the audience care?
Audiences are not going to read a content that doesn’t provide any benefit for them. Make sure that the value of your release is prominent in the headline, subheading, and the lede.
Check what you are offering your audience. It should be something that is relevant to them. For instance, if your offer is a new product, check if you are reaching out to people who are probably needing it.
For your news to be newsworthy, create a unique angle. What angle does your content offer?
11. Grammar, spelling, and punctuations.
It is important that you check the grammar, spelling, and punctuation of your content. You have to ensure that it is free from errors.
Check the sentence structure and word usage. If you are not an expert in this field, have someone to check it for you. You may also use a grammar checker app.
Don’t use adjectives. Keep your release factual.
Don’t submit your release, without checking these elements. Remember that journalists only want a copy that is ready for publishing. Make it easy for them to write your story.
If you need some help in this area, make sure that you do it before submission. Journalists aren’t going to do it for you.
An important part of press releases is the search engine optimization. Make sure that you know how to optimize your release for the search engines.
When it comes to keywords, use only relevant one. Remember that keyword helps your content to rank on the search engine result pages (SERPs).
Don’t use a lot of keywords in your content because it can affect your rank. Search engines like Google reward sites that are useful rather than stuffed with keywords.
You also need to ensure that your release doesn’t include too many links. Otherwise, Google can flag you as spammy.
There are a lot of things you need to check prior to distribution of your release. You need to be careful with these elements if you want to have better chances of winning a publicity.