“dos” + “donts” for writing a press release that will get noticed on the web
→None of us are perfect when it comes to getting our intended messages across. And with the landscape changing all the time, it’s easy to slip up—a pretty common phenomenon in the world of press release writing. We are always trying something new, and just like you, we have our shining moments, and we have our remorseful moments. Which, is why no matter what the pros say, we will always have a love-hate relationship with press releases. Over the next few weeks, we are going to explore this topic, sharing what we know, what we’ve learned and where we wish we’d done it differently. Because again, no matter what the pros say, (“send them,” “don’t send them,” “optimize them,” “don’t optimize them, “keep ’em short…”) press releases serve a purpose, and if you want an editor or reporter, or “influencer” to care about what you/your client has to say, you—and we— have to figure it out. So, here’s Lesson 1: The Art of Optimization:
• know your audience from all angles: knowing who you are targeting will help you write more naturally and clearly define why you think your “news” is important. If you don’t know why your message matters, no one else will.
• write for people first, SEO second
• you can’t please everyone: if your press release is jammed with too much information (trust us, we all do it) your key message points will get lost and this will not only confuse your audience, it will impede SEO efforts, simultaneously coming off as about “everything” and “nothing”
• include a photo with a caption that succinctly highlights your top talking point
• how many links are too many? we are still playing around with this ourselves. In press releases, we link only to the best of the best in terms of images, videos and background information. We’ve been a little frivolous at times, and even here on the whole-y grail, but that’s because we are more interested in helping people streamline their web surfing time. It is not always the best strategy for SEO, partially for the reason stated above. You can never go wrong with a less is more mindset.
• say it straight: jargon, corporate-speak and annoying buzzwords get on reporters’ and editors’ nerves, and they convolute your message
• triple-check spelling and punctuation: Nothing gets your press release tossed faster than grammar mistakes