Last week, we talked about boring press releases—specifically, yours. Consider that story “Improving Your Press Release 101.” Now that you’ve read it, and hopefully passed the exam, it’s time to move on to the next course. Today, we’ll break down a few more advanced tricks to improving your press release. Easy there, Slytherin, there are no magic spells or potions here—just solid, old-fashioned and practical advice.
Choose your words carefully. You already know to build your releases up to between 310-800 words, but while you’re building, keep in mind that some words and phrases have a habit of falling flat on their faces. Those are typically trite terms or phrases—like “game changer” or “revolutionary” or “ground breaking”— that might have meant something when they were coined, but are sorely in need of a new mint. Your product really might be exceptional, and if it is, it’s worth a flip through a thesaurus to find a phrase that hits a little harder.
Break the link. Over-linking is a common malady to many an otherwise solid press release. It’s easy to get excited about your product or the possibility of creating a media buzz around your company. Keep your cool, keep your release focused. Yes, you absolutely want to include web links in your release—but do you really need more than a few? You’re not going to drive a reader to your Facebook page and your website and your new training video and your new product web page at the same time.
Before you send that release out, ask yourself (or your communication-by-committee team) if you would really click on all of those links. And keep in mind that too many outbound links actually hurt your publisher’s SEO more than they help your own. Including too many hyperlinks is a quick way to make sure the links you really need included are excluded when your news hits the web.
There’s no “we” in “team.” Watch your choice of perspective. Terms like “we” and “us” should be used inside of quotes, not in the main copy of your release. Here’s the difference:
“Hogsmeade Tackle Company announces the launch of our new Hippogryph Walking Bait. This new Hippogryph bait is our best yet. It is available in seven different shapes and sizes. Contact us to order yours today.”
That’s a bad look. Worst case, it doesn’t get picked up. Best case, an editor rewrites it for you to better fit their publication. If they did, it would look something like this:
“Hogsmeade Tackle Company has announced the launch of their new Hippogryph Walking Bait. “This new Hippogryph bait is our best yet,” said company spokeswizard Albus Dumbledore. The lure is available in seven different shapes and sizes. Contact Hogsmeade Tackle Company to order yours today.
The latter perspective is a simple copy and paste job for editors; trust me, you want to make their job as easy as possible. You’ll win points with most editors for submitting consistently high quality material, and those points could translate to an extra social media push or good placement in print or online. That, combined with the tips and tricks you’ve learned here, will help give your next news item longer legs to run on.