Online Press Releases: Share Your News

Jeanette Helen Wilson

Published Tue 18 Nov by Jeanette Helen Wilson in Marketing More Effectively

Following on from our recent articles about how traditional press releases can benefit your business, our copywriter Jeanette Helen Wilson discusses the plus points of publishing your press release online.

Recently, Andrea discussed the benefits to your business of writing and distributing a press release, in her article How to Write an Effective Press Release and its follow-up Part 2.

Hopefully these articles have given you the impetus to write your own press releases. You may even have sent some off already, or have some ideas about newsworthy stories you could write, or get a copywriter to write for you. 

As well as sending them off to journalists and publications via the traditional route, either by post or email, you may also want to consider posting your press releases onto your website as news articles. 

What are the Benefits of an Online Press Release?

There are many potential benefits to an online press release. While there is no harm in going down the traditional route, you may also want to consider this steadily emerging way of getting your news out to a wider audience. Possible benefits include:

  • Using social media to attract attention means that you can harness the contacts you already have online 
  • Having the press release as a fully-formed news article on your website means fresh original content - good for search engine optimisation 
  • Posting links out from your social media platforms to your press release article is also good for search engine optimisation - it can drive traffic to your website. If readers' attention is grabbed by your press release, they may well stay on your website and browse other articles, your company 'About Us' section, or even your product and services pages
  • Readers who like your press release may share it with others, via social media, email or just word of mouth

Practical Guidance

1. Include Hyperlinks 

Within your press release, you can post links. Key phrases such as titles of events or products can form links to landing pages that are appropriate. For example, if you're running some free events, and these are the focus of your press release, you can link to the page where readers can book a place on the event. As well as helping your target audience to easily find what they're looking for, and to follow a call to action such as 'Book Your Place Now!' with the minimal effort on their part, having internal links within your website is good for search engine optimisation too! Our news article on the Web Wednesday seminars shows how we did this...

2. Use Photos

Using photographs can make your press release stand out from the crowd. Your online article will therefore be a whole package : a complete story that is complemented by eye-catching images. Your story is more likely to be noticed if it has a good quality photograph to illustrate it. You could include a good profile picture of new members of staff or apprentices to introduce them to your clients and potential clients. If it's a 'human interest' story, such as staff taking part in charity events, it will be better to let your readers see this in action. Studio photographs for this type of story are not as appropriate - your readers will want to see something taking place, such as a member of staff taking part in a charity sponsored fun run or being presented with an award at an event. Not only does this type of photograph make the story look more authentic, but it will also draw readers in : the 'human interest' angle is always stronger than anything that veers towards marketing or advertising your business. People always like good stories about other people.

3. Incorporate Videos

Another way of helping your press release stand out is to incorporate video. A good quality video could be a great way of conveying: 

  • Interviews with your staff
  • Interviews with your clients
  • Demonstrations of products
  • Product reviews from interested parties

4. Link to Social Media

Adding share buttons to your press release article means that at the touch of a button, anyone who reads and likes it can share it on their social media platforms with no effort whatsoever. Make it easy for people to share and they're more likely to!

5. Headlines that Grab Attention

So often now with online content, it's the headline that has to work the hardest. In traditional print articles such as in newspapers and magazines, the headline has more scope to be slightly obscure, or to use plays on words, because it is aligned with the body content and the illustration, which can support its meaning. Because the online headline is often separated from the body copy, it has to work a lot harder. The best online headlines are:

  • Short - up to 65 characters long (including spaces) if you want the whole thing to appear in searches - anything longer than that is likely to be cut off halfway through, which compromises the clarity of your article headline (and it doesn't look great on a purely aesthetic level either)
  • To the point - headlines that make clear what the article is about are more likely to be clicked on, driving more traffic to your website. Readers online do not have time or patience to work out what a headline means. It has to speak to them straight away, and be interesting enough for them to want to read. Harness the salient points in your story and hone in on them - so if your story is about some free events you're running, be sure to include the word 'free' in your headline. This will immediately grab attention, as everyone loves something for free!
  • Pertinent - be sure that your headline describes what the reader will find when they click through to your article. Like a description tag, the headline is meant to be a way to attract attention but also to deliver once the click-through has taken place

6. Send Links to a Media Kit on Your Website

Journalists are notoriously short on time, and press releases are notoriously oversubscribed. Journalists get sent hundreds of press releases every week, so one way of helping yours more attractive to publish is to make the recipient's job easier by providing everything they might need. A media kit, saved on your website in one particular place to which you can give them a link, may be the way to do this. 

A media kit means that once they have looked at your press release, it will be easy for them to get everything they need to bring the story to publication. This means they don't have to get involved with the to and fro of having to email you for specific things such as company details, staff biographies or product info. 

It's good to include:

  • A high resolution logo for your company, in a variety of formats. High resolution means that your logo can be printed to any size without the quality being compromised. Include at the very least a PDF file and a jpeg. This means that journalists can access your logos in a format that is supported by their IT operating system without any hitches
  • A potted company profile and history - you don't have to go into huge detail here (in fact, it's better if you don't!): journalists may want a short history of your business so they can put you in context. So include things like: when you were established, who your founders were, how many staff you employ, who your prominent clients are, an overview of your products and services, and your company ethos / values. Your mission statement, should you have one, can be included here too (perhaps an abridged version or soundbite if it is very long)
  • Staff profiles with headshots - again, keep these short but include key information that a newspaper or magazine might need. This may include: work history, how long they have worked for your company, their specialisms / expertise, any awards they have won or relevant academic achievements. Any written biographies of staff members will be enhanced by a headshot photograph of them, but only if this photograph is high quality. Out of focus shots, those taken at a distance, or full body shots are not appropriate
  • Product info and accompanying photographs - again, good quality shots are more likely to enhance your product and invite interest

7. Don't Be a Stranger

Though press releases are self-contained, a journalist or reporter who decides to use your story may still need to get in touch with you. They may want to interview either you or key members of your staff. Giving them a variety of ways to get in touch with you is always good practice. At the very least it's a good idea to let them have: 

  • The office 'phone number
  • A mobile number in case they want to ring out of office hours
  • An email address - it might be better to give them an email address of a named person instead of a generic 'info@' or 'service@'

Press releases can be a powerful marketing platform for your business, raising awareness of you and your staff, your products and services, not through traditional advertising but through the power of stories that people want to read. Having a noteworthy story, an attention-grabbing headline and body copy that delivers your message succinctly and successfully are all key ingredients towards making your press release more likely to be published and shared. Online press releases can enhance your search engine optimisation by adding to your website fresh, original content. They can also drive traffic to your website via social media links and through shares. 

Any thoughts? We are always interested to hear your comments on our articles. 

Got a question? Visit our ask an expert page!

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