May 26, 2017
You may remember, in the sixties, seventies, eighties and even in the nineties, waking up, going to your front door and picking up the morning paper. These days, the sight and sound of the morning paper boy riding up to your house and tossing the paper on the sidewalk have become almost rare. In our younger days, we had a morning paper and an afternoon paper. Between those newspapers and the 6 o'clock news, this was the norm for decades as to how we received world and business news.
Then, around 1990, things began to change as the digital age emerged. It was the beginning of a new era for communications and it affected news, advertising and, of course, journalism.
Although there have been many staggering changes in how news is delivered and received since then, the one component that has remained constant is human behavior--and our continuing desire for compelling stories that keep us informed.
In a July 7, 2016 article published at Pew Research Center for Journalism & Media, the percentage of people who prefer to receive their news online varies by different age groups. For instance:
Age 18-29: 50% prefer to get their news online
Age: 30-49: 49% prefer to get their news online
Age: 50-64: 29% prefer to get their news online
Age: 65+: 20% prefer to get their news online
With the age group 18-29, only 5% prefer print newspapers.
According to information published through Vocus, over 80 million people have a preference for retrieving their news online. Journalists have this preference as well: more than 60 percent of journalists turn to the Internet to source their news stories and ideas through press releases and research.
Why is this important? It means that more than just the general public is looking for news online; it also includes researchers and journalists, who don't have to spend the time to search for and dust off reference materials when much of that information is now online. Today's press release technologies make it easy to find updated information on the internet. Because of the ease and accessibility of news and information online, there may be potential readership increases as well.
24-7PressRelease.com has been in the press release service industry for more than 13 years and we have seen that the reasons for distributing press releases online have changed over the years. The biggest and most popular reason has been to increase SEO rankings. But things changed with the introduction of Googles Penguin and Panda algorithms. These new search algorithms placed more value on original content that was valuable to the reader--in other words, branding.
We still receive calls from people asking how many links they may include in their press release and are those links "do follow"? Unfortunately, these methods are not as useful as they once were.
Smaller businesses or start-up companies need to be cognisant that everything you do and everything you publish is branding, and also a reflection on your business. When you consider a press release service (like 24-7PressRelease.com), you need to ensure you are submitting your press release for the right reasons. SEO is not a right reason, branding and establishing credibility are.
When you distribute a press release that is engaging and informative, there are a number of fall out actions that can take place, including:
- Social sharing, commenting and chatter
- Pickup and re-write by journalists
Nowadays, people ask each other, online, for referrals and recommendations. Your content should help them identify your business as a go-to company.
Journalists are continuously scouring the web for information to write about. If you have written a piece that is compelling and informative and fits what a journalist is looking for, there is a considerably increased chance that they may contact you for further details to write a story about. Some online publications will just re-post verbatim, further increasing your online visibility. Your visibility is not limited to the publication that has made the decision to re-publish your content, if it is re-written there is a good chance that it will also start to show up in search results within search engines when searches for a familiar subject or topic are performed.
As previously mentioned, your press release is a key part of your branding strategy. One company that has completely mastered this feat is Apple. Although your press release is a part of your branding strategy, branding really involves every part of your communication and advertising. This includes your blog posts, articles, advertising, print materials, social media and much more. Your press release can also certainly intertwine with these as well, particularly your social media.
Knowing how to write your press release is the most important factor. If writing a press release is not your forte, finding an expert in the industry to do so is highly recommended. Recognizing that you may not be the right person for crafting your press release can be half the battle, particularly if you are a new start-up. Know your strengths and weaknesses and be honest with yourself.
Realistically it can take years of education to develop the skill of writing a news release from a journalistic standpoint. The more you write the better you will get, however practicing with your own business is not recommended. Remember, you are having a press release written to tell your story. If it is not written professionally, consumers may look at your brand as sloppy or unprofessional.
Ensuring that your press release is newsworthy is critical. There is nothing that will turn off a journalist faster than writing about a subject that is completely mundane or repetitive. You need an angle, you need something original, and you need something that will make an impact.
If you are a Fortune 500 company and you bring in a new CEO or director of marketing from another Fortune 500 company, this is something that is newsworthy and will raise interest in the world of journalism. Unfortunately, this does not have the same effect if you are local businesses with a small staff, unless the person you are announcing as your new CEO previously worked in a high-level position for a Fortune 500 company.
Most likely, you have more compelling information to share about your business than simple staff changes. A few other ideas for writing a press release may include, but are not limited to, an upcoming public event in a community, or a recent public event that just took place. Is there an organizational structure change that will affect or be of interest to the public? Are you recruiting volunteers? These are just a few ideas.
Ensure you have knowledge of what audience your press release will be written for--your customer base. This is important because if you are using particular terminologies, phrases or jargon that your audience is not familiar with, it could be a turn off for them. If your audience is in the 50+ age group, you don't want to be using slang that would suit the 18-30 age group.
Most press release distribution companies, like 24-7PressRelease.com allow you to select assorted categories--news topics--about which your press release is related. Ensure you know your audience and what categories your press release will be relative to.
Cross promotion of a press release can go a long way. Here is how it works: At 24-7PressRelease.com we have seen many instances where company ABC will talk about their product of service while also making mention of company XYZ within the same press release. Then, the next time that company XYZ distributes a press release, they make mention of company ABC. Before doing this, you must ensure that you have permission from the company you are mentioning. Even if you mean well, not all companies may want to be mentioned in a press release about another company.
The editorial staff at assorted newspaper companies, online news websites and some press distribution services are generally extremely well versed in the English language. This means that grammatical and spelling errors will stand out like a taxi driver who weaves in and out of traffic and whose passenger is a driver examiner. They will notice and they will frown upon it. Poor grammar, spelling and sentence structure will tend to turn off the journalist, even if the topic and message is good. If the writing is poor enough, they may simply flat out reject your press release. This is one important reason why we recommend you work with a professional editor.
Many people are visual. Including images with your press release can go a long way to increased visibility. If you include images, ensure they are attractive and of a decent size.
Are you connected to social media? If not, this is the first step that you should take before you entertain a press release service. We mention this because after you distribute your press release, you will want to either post a link to on your social media or post the press release directly to your social media sites. Many people will have their press release posted on their web site. When they do this, they will make mention of their press release via their social media with a link directly to where the press release can be found.
These few tips and tidbits of information should be enough to get you on your way to writing an engaging press release targeted toward your audience and journalists within your industry. We also recommend checking out the CommunityToolBox at: http://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/participation/promoting-interest/press-releases/main which has some further excellent pieces of information regarding the writing of a press release.
If you are crafting your own press release, don't forget to make sure you have double proofed your release and more importantly, have had someone else read it as well; preferably someone who has a good command of the English language and good grammar skills.