“Millions of people read press releases directly, unfiltered by the media. You need to be speaking directly to them,” advises David Meerman Scott in The New Rules of Marketing & PR.
Yes, mainstream and trade media remain critically important in many markets, journalists do welcome newsworthy content, and their features can generate considerable interest and results. But, as Scott also points out, “the web has changed the rules … and today, savvy marketing and PR professionals use news releases to reach buyers directly.”
Scott presents The New Rules of News Releases:
- Don’t just send news releases when big news is happening; find good reasons to send them all the time.
- Instead of just targeting a handful of journalists, create news releases that appeal directly to your buyers.
- Write releases that are replete with the keyword-rich language used by your buyers.
- Include offers that compel consumers to respond to your release in some way.
- Place links in releases to deliver potential customers to landing pages on your web site.
- Optimize news release delivery for searching and browsing.
- Add social media tags for Technorati, DIGG, and del.icio.us so that your release can be found.
- Drive people into the sales process with news releases. [Scott tells you how]
Author Roscoe Barnes III also underscores a press release’s potential as a “direct response tool” in his book, Public Relations Made Easy. To “create a press release that generates leads and sells products and services,” Barnes says:
- “Determine what publications you’d like to be featured in.” Then research their style, focus, needs and guidelines.
- “Write a statement that opens and closes with news. … no fluff or advertisements posing as news.”
- “Stress the news in your headline and opening paragraph.”
- “Slant your headline for appropriate audiences.”
- “Make a free offer…because it is the offer that will make prospects respond.”
In Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, Dennis Wilcox discusses traditional and social media releases. His dos and don’ts include “10 Classic News Release Mistakes” such as spelling and grammatical errors, punctuation errors and failure to document sources. These don’ts turn off most journalists, the “gatekeepers” to their audiences and your target publics/markets.
Wilcox underscores the fact that, besides the actual news, the important elements of a traditional release are also the headline and first paragraph. Then, “the most common reason that news releases get used is the presence of a local angle” for local mainstream broadcast outlets and publications. “There are two ways to localize,” Wilcox adds. “One is to use the name of local people; the other is to use information that is of local significance.”
If you are sending a release to a trade or specialty magazine or an online site, make sure it connects with that medium’s specific audience, content, departments and its editorial calendar.
Finally, would you like to share a news release that successfully and directly attracted your target markets? If so, 1st Person PR will feature your experience and release (free offer?!).