Tips from a Press Release Professional - What to Do and What to Avoid!

Things TO DO:

  1. Include a dateline at the start of the first paragraph. It should look like this: New York, NY (PRBuzz) August 10, 2012 - [first paragraph starts here...]
  2. Make your release new, unique, interesting, and timely.
  3. Be controversial whenever possible and appropriate. People love controversy, and it generates a lot of attention and comments from others.
  4. Begin your press release with a short description of your news, and in subsequent paragraphs, flesh it out with the details.
  5. Make your press release a fact-rich environment. Include the what, when, where, how, and why of your news or announcement.
  6. Always write in third-person, rather than first-person, to make your release more credible and less obviously self-serving. An example is as follows: "XYZ company will provide their users with new widget," NOT LIKE THIS: "We will provide you with new widget." First person commentary, such as testimonials or product reviews, should only appear in quotation marks, with the source listed.
  7. Keep the total number of words in your press release to between 250 and 500 for the best results.
  8. Proofread your press release carefully. Do not trust your spell check software - their are to many chances for it to meek mistakes.
  9. Check and re-check your contact info and test any links.
  10. Add ### at the bottom of your press release to signify the end.

Things TO AVOID:

  1. Don't use the phrase "for immediate release" at the top of your press release. Everyone assumes that it is to be released immediately. Use the space for something important that people don't already know.
  2. Do not re-use old press releases or old information that is already online. Search engines heavily penalize duplicate content. If you are not sure if your press release is similar to other content that is already online, use copyscape.com to check.
  3. Never include a "call-to-action." Do not include sentences like "buy from us today", "check out our web site now", "learn how to become a xyz expert today" or anything other than information about your announcement or news.
  4. Avoid long press releases or headlines. A headline should never be more than 100 characters long, including spaces. And the body of the press release should never be longer than 1,000 words.
  5. Don't write a press release that does not have news or an announcement. The purpose of a press release is to announce something. See the other "how to" articles on this site for more details.
  6. You do not need to tell everything and every detail in your press release. Provide sufficient information to generate interest and leave the reader wanting more. Get their attention, and they will click the link to your web site for full details.
  7. Never make your press release sound like an advertisement. It is not professional, and journalists hate it. Some call this "press release spam," and send it to the trash with the junk mail. The purpose of a press release is to announce your news. If you sound professional and like an expert in your industry, people will go to your web site and buy from you.
  8. Never send a press release without accurate contact information. Besides the company name and web site address, you should include the name of a contact person, and that person's name, email, and phone number.
  9. Don't forget to include a link to your web site at least once in the press release. This sounds obvious, but you wouldn't believe how often it happens.
  10. Avoid using bland words in the headline that don't work well in search engines. Your most important keywords and phrases should be the first words in the headline.

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