The importance of being earnest when writing a Press Release, which satisfies the criteria of the Search Engine and Journalist simultaneously.

May 10, 2010

SEO-driven Press / News Releases should be designed to satisfy the criteria of the Search Engine and Journalist alike. However always remember that the Press Release is designed to be read by people as well as search engines, and in an ideal world will make people want to know more than simply what ranking Google ( Or Yahoo, Bing etc ) delivers. Whilst serving the Search Engine Master, with key word rich text, you must ensure that the Press Release is a comprehensible and compelling read. The recipient of a press release, expects material that is newsworthy.

If the Press Release you’re creating is for a highly regulated industry ( ie the financial services sector, the Press Releasepharmaceuticals market, or for a blue chip listed company ) you need to observe the specific rules relating to information distribution through a Press Release.

Beyond fixed criteria laid down by industry watch dogs and authorities, you need to pay great attention to your audience and the type of person who will be reading your Press Release – it maybe your customers, suppliers, employees. Either way, the Press Release should be written in a style which engages and connects with them.

The Top 10 key elements of a Press or News release are as follows:

1) Devise a simple title that encapsulates the gist or nucleus of the story

2) The first paragraph should convey the key facts – these are best summed up by “who, what, where when and why”, and should be communicated in a maximum of five short sentences. You need to make a connection and an impact with the reader straight away, in order that they read on to the end of the release.

3) The following paragraphs can then elaborate on the basic facts outlined in the first paragraph.

4) Use one or two carefully selected quotes, to add weight and authority to the Press Release. These should be properly attributed to a source, with a name and position ie Bob Smith, Managing Director. Always ensure the quotes are in inverted commas and approved by the source.

5) Add a marker to indicate the end of the story. (Convention dictates….. /ENDS or ##).

6) Following the ‘end’, there should be back up information, usually headed up ‘notes for editors’.

7) You can add a ‘boilerplate’ – a standard description of around a paragraph in length to describe the issuing organisation ie a brief synopsis of the company.

8) Don’t forget to add contact details in order that the journalist can seek clarification and additional information – an e-mail address and a telephone number will suffice.

9) Avoid corporate speak and industry jargon – these may well alienate the reader, either because they are cliche-ridden or unintelligible.

10) Most of all, think like a reporter – you want your newstory to be read, so deliver it like a reporter: in the third person (ie he, she, they rather than I and we). Communicate clearly and factually. Avoid flowery language. It’s the journalist’s prerogative to add the gloss, and flesh out the basic bones of the story. The journalist will not appreciate you doing his or her job for them.

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