No marketing plan is complete without public relations. Like all aspects of marketing, PR has evolved dramatically over the last few years and we compiled a list of good tips our friends from Business Wire shared with us during our recent lunch.
Here are some of the things we were reminded of, plus a few new nuggets we didn’t know:
- Your headline should be 70 characters or less. The reason? Search engines cut it off in most digital displays so make sure your headline is concise, compelling and within this character limit.
- Add web links to the first 2 paragraphs of your release. Odds are good only the first two paragraphs of your release will be read, so make sure you don’t miss your opportunity to direct traffic back to your site right up front. (But make sure you’re linking back to relevant content and not using vanity links.)
- Add images or infographics. Sixty-seven percent of people are visual learners. Plus visuals also help transmit messages to people’s brains faster. So it’s critical to add a visual element to your release to increase the chances of your news being picked up by a media outlet.
- Videos are also a great idea. But if you do include one, make sure it’s only 30-45 seconds long. The press spends a lot of time scanning news to see what’s interesting and worthy of pickup. Videos grab the media’s attention (even more than static images) and increase your likelihood of being shared.
- Add Click to Tweet. This clever concept allows your readers to share a specific quote from your release on Twitter. Not only does this encourage engagement, but it’s a great way to use your audience to promote your story.
- The summary of the release (or the first sentence), is as important as the header. This is the copy that’s displayed just below the title on search engine rankings, so make sure your first sentence is concise and understandable. And avoid jargon!
- Include a web link to the press release on your own site. In other words, don’t redirect them back to the media distribution outlet you used to post it. Instead, redirect your audience back to your website where they can view your release and poke around at other pages on your site.
- Don’t miss the opportunity to add social sharing buttons. You want to engage your audience, so encourage them to share your news. Make sure to thank those that spread the word.
- Don’t forget keyword phrases. Google is moving away from providing results based on just keywords, to being an engine that answers questions. So use this to your advantage and include long tail industry-specific phrases that answer the questions your customers are asking.
- Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are the only bad days to put news on the wire. It used to be that the ideal time to put a release on the wire was Tuesday morning right after the opening of the market. Thanks to the digital age, people are consuming news all day every day. But the weekends do show a dip in pickup and readership, so shoot for Monday through Thursday to promote your news.
Got a PR tip to share? We’d love to hear yours.