Whether you’re a new business launching a website, or an existing business who has created a new one, a lot of the focus will be on the actual build process.
But once all the coding is done, you need to make sure the rest of the world knows about it. After all, you can have the best product and slickest website around – but raising awareness is key.
That’s where a well-written press release comes in. Done correctly, and journalists will be spreading the word to their considerable audiences, generating a ton of traffic for you. It’s also important from an SEO point of view. With many press releases sitting online now, this can be another avenue for you to get visitors onto your site.
Not everybody is a natural at writing a press release though. It can be a specialist job, and many businesses can’t afford to hire an expensive agency to do the work for them. Below are the key steps and some best practice guidelines – these will help you write a good quality press release yourself.
Craft a catchy headline
This is a super important part of the press release. It’s the very first thing people will see so you need to grab their attention immediately. You will have very limited space – ideally 100 characters or less – so you need to get to the point. Include the name of your business and your line of work. Some people spend ages thinking of a witty pun, but if this leads to the headline being vague and people not being sure what the press release is about, then forget it.
Sum up at the start
All of the key information should be in the very first paragraph. This is where people decide whether or not to continue reading, especially busy journalists. Keep the following questions in mind when writing the summary – who, what, where, why, and when.
If you can answer most of these in the opening paragraph, then you are on the right track. This means again stating the name of your business, the industry you’re operating in, as well as where you are based.
State the benefits
If it’s a new website, describe the most important features. If it’s a redesign, tell people what the most important changes are. For example, perhaps you have introduced a 24/7 online chat service that will help visitors.
Don’t just think about things from your point of view though. Put yourself in the shoes of your reader, and ask yourself what will make it compelling to them.
Include powerful quotes
Get a few sentences from somebody in a senior position at the business. Don’t be bland here – often this is the part of the press release which will stand out to people the most, especially as it should be formatted slightly differently to the rest of the copy (for example in italics). Therefore, the quotes should be memorable and underline exactly why the launch of the site is so important to the reader. The quote should also hone in on one specific part of the new site that you want to highlight.
Remember, as well as selling the website, you are selling the brand as a whole. Include a paragraph that shows your business in the best possible light. What is so unique about your offering? What sets you apart from the competition? You may have picked up some industry awards recently – this is your opportunity to remind people about this. Make sure you have a strong call to action for people to find out more about you – and don’t forget to include a link to your new website.
As mentioned above, a well-written press release will also help you from an SEO perspective. This means using the right keywords in the right places. Choose three primary keywords that are relevant to your business and industry. These are the terms which you know your customers search for – ideally, your press release will show up near the top of the search results for these.
One keyword should be in your title, while the other two should be mentioned in the opening paragraph. Feel free to incorporate them later on in the press release as well – but only if it sounds natural and engaging. Stuffing them in reduces the quality of the press release and it will be obvious that you are simply trying to improve your SEO score. Many journalists will simply reject the entire thing if you do this.
End with a boilerplate
This is placed after the actual copy of the press release. Simply write the word “ENDS” so journalists know that is the end of the press release. Then have a short paragraph which is a basic biography of your business. State the company’s name, location, what you do, and link to the website again. You should also include the contact details of who they should get in touch with for further queries.
The ideal press release should be no more than one side of A4, or 400 words at most. You want to include as much key information as possible, but without boring people into submission. A good tip when checking the press release is to imagine it being read out on the news. Can you imagine the news anchor reading out the first couple of paragraphs, and people being engaged straight away?
Another tip is to include good quality images with your press release. You could insert your logo at the top and have a headshot of the person being quoted.
Finally, make sure your tone of voice is relevant to your customer base. They are the people you want reading this press release so always bear them in mind. For example, a business targeting scientific professionals is likely to have a more high-brow and technical way of writing, compared to one which is targeting everyday consumers.
Of course, you will always need to tweak things based on your specific situation, but the tips above should provide you with a good framework for your press release.