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The Quick Guide to Writing Your First
Online Press Release
PRWeb’s online press releases are designed to help you increase your online visibility, push
your news to the top of search engines and reach millions of people. And the best part of
all—it’s easy to do. In fact, by simply following the steps we’ve outlined in this guide, you
can create and send your first online press release in less than one hour!
This guide will teach you tips and tricks to ensure that your online press release captures
the attention of the customers, prospects, stakeholders and media you are trying to reach.
You’ll also learn how your news can drive valuable traffic to your website, increase your
search engines rankings and appear on top news websites where millions of people go every
Now, before we get started, you’ll want to make sure you do a little prep work.
1. Define your Objectives. Ask yourself the following questions to help establish goals
for your release:
• Are you trying to grab the attention of journalists and bloggers in hopes of
getting news coverage?
• Do you simply want to use the release to optimize your website for specific
keywords and increase traffic to your website?
• Are you trying to generate revenue?
2. Identify your audience. Understanding who you want to reach will help you create
news that will attract the attention of your target audience:
• Do you want the release to be a resource for journalists and bloggers as they
write a story?
• Is the release intended to reach consumers to interest them in a product or
Understanding your goals and audience will help you direct the language of the release, the
features you use and the way you evaluate your results.
Now, let’s get started.
PRWeb’s Quick Guide to Writing Your First Online Press Release 1
The Anatomy of a Press Release
A PRWeb online press release provides your audience with an enhanced news experience,
with images, audio, video and web links, all designed to bring your release to life. Each
highlighted section below represents a critical feature of a PRWeb online press release. It
may seem complicated at first glance, but by the time you’ve finished with this guide, you’ll
see just how easy it is to craft your first online press release that will help drive valuable
traffic to your website.
PRWeb’s Quick Guide to Writing Your First Online Press Release 2
TIME: About 5-10 minutes
SUMMARY: Grabbing the attention of your audience is a challenge. In this guide we will help
you develop the initial idea, find associations that leverage top of mind awareness and then
turn those elements into a headline that gets you traffic and results from the media, search
engines, blogs and RSS feeds.
START STRONG: - You have a matter of seconds to grab your readers' attention, so you
want to capture it with a strong opening. Your headline, summary and first paragraph
should clarify your news. The rest of your news release should provide the detail.
"OilCanvas allows you GET CREATIVE - Your headline will show at the top of the web
to paint like Van Gogh, page and in the headline spot of your release. Make sure it's
Monet or O’Keefe with focused, engaging, unique, and causes your viewer to ask "how
do they do that?" or makes them want to know more about
your release. This is the time to sizzle!
KEYWORDS - To ensure that your press release draws the right
Product name sort of traffic from the Search Engines (such as Google and
brand + tag line Yahoo), make sure you have an important "keyphrase" within
common search your headline – and don't forget to mention your brand or
terms on Google product name as well. Leverage keywords for Search Engine
Optimization and Search Engine Marketing and to enhance
organic search results!
170 characters KEEP IT SHORT - You have 170 characters (about 20 words) to
~20 words craft a grabbing, eye-catching, engaging title loaded with your
1 keyphrase keyphrase, brand and some action element. When you're
call to action! crafting your sample headlines, think about how you can
reorder the words to add impact while shortening the headline.
Keep message TIE TO BODY CONTENT - A killer headline that doesn't tie to
consistent message your actual summary and press release is a waste of the
top to bottom reader's time...and readers will remember that you played bait
FOCUS! and switch. Keep a consistent message from top to bottom and
you'll build a loyal following.
PRWeb’s Quick Guide to Writing Your First Online Press Release 3
TIME: About 5-15 minutes (reuse content in Body Copy)
SUMMARY: - Making your story compelling enough
Big Canvas Applications for a journalist or customer to read in 2–3 sentences
Make iPhone an Artistic takes finesse and the ability to view your press
Tool for Creative release from the viewpoint of the reader. Don't
skimp here... this is your time to shine, and
Expression condense your key thoughts into succinct sentences
that develop readership.
Using your title, BUILD ON YOUR HEADLINE - You've already invested some
search your product time in crafting a "grabber" headline – now it's time to add
literature, competition some interesting "spin" to it by expanding on the more dynamic
and Web for new content within the body copy of your release. Don't repeat your
angles title – add impact with new, interesting thoughts.
ADD NEW ANGLE - Now's the time to add up to 2 more
Spin the main elements that are NOT in your headline, that will tie the
message with 1–2 headline to the body copy, and will help gain even MORE
secondary angles (not interest than the creative headline you crafted earlier. Look for
new messages) interesting angles that address unique characteristics of your
Using tools like
KEYWORDS - Now you can expand on the keywords by using
Google & "keyphrases", which are combination of words that are both
WordTracker,find related to your business and market, and are popular on the
Keyphrases for your search engines.
press release. Insert.
SECONDARY FOCUS - This is no time to take your eye off the
Support your main ball... but it is important to add a second focus to your release.
message with a The summary is a great place to talk to people, places, things
secondary message. or times that may be key to the release, and also encourage
Adds interest. the reader to dive in and learn more.
TIE TO BODY CONTENT - The summary is a perfect
Make the summary a
"transitional" tool - use it to elegantly blend to headline to the
transition from title to
body copy. Also, remember that this will be visible on your
body copy. Keep the
page on PRWeb.com, and will also be inserted into many sites
focus, spin it! that pull your content from RSS feeds & email.
PRWeb’s Quick Guide to Writing Your First Online Press Release 4
Succinct Body Copy
TIME: Approx. 15-20 minutes depending on word count and prep.
SUMMARY: Now that we're working on the actual body of your
release, it's important that you have a message that is
professional, somewhat newsworthy, and really connects with your
audience. Think in terms of what your release will look like in
print...and if it will garner further attention by journalists.
EVERYTHING UP FRONT - Aside from the date and location (and
The first paragraph
the PRWeb tag) it's important to very succinctly but with
says it all, succinctly.
sufficient information condense your release into a single
If that's all they read, paragraph. Make sure that you write it in such a way as to
they should "get it". make your reader say "I have to see more". Then craft
expanded body copy to give them more.
QUOTES FOR IMPACT - One of the most memorable elements
Interview yourself. of any release is a comment from a key spokesperson that
Ask yourself key supports the objective of the release. So if your release is
questions that accent about your new basketball, have your expert talk about why it's
the focus of the special, how you arrived at that product, etc...these sound
release. bites get repeated. Select a PRWeb release package that
includes “quotables” and your quote will be highlighted in large
text when it is displayed.
KEYWORDS - If you thought keywords in the headline and
3 similar Keyphrases, summary were good – wait until you have 350–1000 words of
5 total per release, 3 content you can play with. We suggest you not try to cram in
different as Anchor every keyphrase... just enough to reinforce your message and
Tags in links. ensure your release speaks to your web audience. Avoid more
than 5 of the same keyphrase per release.
Reflect on your EXPAND ON TITLE, SUMMARY - Now that you have a whole
page or two to expand on your message, remember to not go
title and summary
hog-wild and write about everything under the sun. Keep your
in your body copy
message focused on your primary and secondary messages...
for a clear message!
the ones in your title and summary.
CLOSE WITH ACTION - If you want your release to give you
For better results, both on AND offline results, you'll want to provide action items
focus your press that the reader can act on. Provide a free download, a
release content with whitepaper or a contest, give the viewer a reason to do
an ACTION item for something besides go on to the next release. Releases
the viewer. designed as landing pages leading to your website get 70%-
PRWeb’s Quick Guide to Writing Your First Online Press Release 5
The Magic of Links
TIME: About 5-30 minutes. Save links = save time later.
SUMMARY: Well-crafted links are one of the most powerful element of an online media
campaign. Make sure you know the format, and use them sparingly. A good press release
with links pointed at the right pages will provide you years of web activity... so do them
right, matching format to contribution level.
FORMAT FOR CONTRIBUTION - PRWeb provides three types of
When composing PR, link options . For those who think a link is a link, you'd benefit
think ahead to your from learning the value of titled links with keyphrase anchor
contribution level, tags. These "improved" links will pull significantly more traffic
then format to match over time, and look more finished as well.
$80-$140 - For packages from $80 to $199, you can format
For $80+, links are your links in one of two ways: standard HTML
active. More $$ = "htttp://www.richcontent.com". This is good, but
More distribution & somewhat clumsy. PRWeb will also make the more elegant
more views & clicks www.richcontent.com links live.
$200-$360 - For more professional results, and more link
$200+ allows anchor activity from search engines, you might consider upgrading to
tag (keyword and the $200+ level (that's not the only benefit, but one of many).
titled) links A link at this level looks like "http://www.richcontent.com
professional [RIchContent Software __title__ RichContent PR Software]",
appearance & SEO where the RichContent Software is the active link.
MIX IT UP - We highly recommend creating 3-6 links within
Get 3 links in place,
your release. Search Engines frown on "link spam" (the same
but no more than 6,
link repeated). But you can easily create a link for each specific
and no exact
area of the release, and point it to a "landing page" on your
duplicates! website. Now you're keeping your message focused and
LANDING LINKS - Instead of sending traffic just to your home
Create links that page, find the pages on your web site that have the most
"Land" on specific specific message for your viewer, and tie links to those specific
pages of your site to pages. A single page with a message perfectly aligned for your
gain conversions. link is called a Landing Page.
PRWeb’s Quick Guide to Writing Your First Online Press Release 6
TIME: About 10-20 minutes + one-time Media Kit Development
Big Canvas' applications for the iPhone are a SUMMARY: Now the release is just about ready to
visionary series of web-based "creativity upload into PRWeb, but before we do that, let's
tools" that allow anyone with creative spirits look at who composed the release, and how you
to participate in the Internet Renaissance.
want to connect them to the release. Most of the
For more information or to download
PhotoShare, visit http://bcphotoshare.com/. time you want responses from the media coming
Media Contact: Leah Motz, Nyhus to your PR firm, if you have one. But if not, then
Communications LLC for Big Canvas Inc., make sure you have a person designated for the
(206) 323-3733, leah at nyhus dot com
media and interested consumers to contact.
WHO ARE YOU? - If you're the writer, the PR firm AND the
Create links that company you're writing about, then this is easy: just create a
"Land" on specific profile for you, a contact person's info and a little history, and a
pages of your site to link to your site (don't put email addresses in, as they are
gain conversions. available in protected format on PRWeb's site when viewers
come to visit.)
PRWeb.com provides YOUR RESUME' - Since this is either YOUR resume', bio, or
for your company company profile, you want to ensure this is accurate, somewhat
dynamic, and makes the viewer feel comfortable connecting
overview. Make it
with the contact person. But this is not the place to show off.
Sincerity rules here.
KEEP IT REAL - Editors and journalists want to connect with a
Serve the media! real person who respects their presence in your life, and who
they are your can answer the questions posed by the press release. So
friends! No BS, be ensure that your release is accurate, and that you're
approachable. "approachable" and willing to give the media most or all that
they seek from you. It'll be worth it.
BE PREPARED - If you have a press release that has some
Have a media kit timely or interesting information, you are sure to receive some
ready for the press. sort of interest from the media. Be prepared with detailed
images/scans/photos of your product, service, people and
company. And give the media what they ask for in a timely
manner. It's key – not only today, but in the future.
Ensure you have a LINK HOME - This may sound redundant by now, but it's really
link pointing to your important: put a link in your signature to ensure that viewers
can easily find you. In addition, a link here also provides value
website from your
to your website, as PRWeb.com is a high Page Rank site, and
you benefit from every high Page Rank site you have linking to
PRWeb’s Quick Guide to Writing Your First Online Press Release 7
TIME: About 5-20 minutes for 3-4 attachments
SUMMARY: One of the most valuable things you can add to a
press release is images, video documents and Adobe Acrobat
files. Fine-tuned, these elements will not only get you more
attention, but also help you receive better attention from
search engines. Here's how…
A PICTURE’S WORTH... - In an online press release, a picture is
A good photo can
truly worth 1,000 words, maybe more if it's the right image. So
add over 1,000
think about the most valuable image you'd like visitors to see...
clicks to your and how those images will reinforce your message. An SEO
release Visibility package with an "inline image" shows on PRWEb.com,
Yahoo and Google News.
RESOLUTION - Providing something more than a tiny thumbnail
Make images and image will make a big difference for viewers who repost or print
Attachments less your images. We recommend .jpg format images (visitors are
than 1 meg each, able to view them when they read your release), and less than
3 megs total 1 megabyte in size (100–250kbytes is perfect). Limit 3 Megs
Focus images on the CLEAN IT UP - If your press release addresses your new
core message of widget, don't use a picture of your manufacturing plant. Get a
your release – use good photographer to shoot your widget against a high-
contrast background, and get multiple views (include 2–3 views
as attachments on your release).
Attachments in many ADD MORE VALUE - Along with images, using documents (in
formats provide Word, Excel, PDF, text or any common format) will really add
media content for value to your release. Think of them as the steak that
publications accompanies the sizzle (provided by your brilliantly crafted
press release, right?)
Keywords on image, KEYWORDS - Here's where it gets really cool: you can name
title, description your image a popular or industry-centric keyphrase. Then add a
draw web traffic, keyword to the image title when you upload it into PRWeb.
Now, write a short paragraph describing what's in the image or
document. You've just added significantly more search engine
content, my friend. Keywords are Key.
PRWeb’s Quick Guide to Writing Your First Online Press Release 8
TIME: About 5-30 minutes one-time setup
SUMMARY: Now that your Press Release is online, there are a number of additional details
you can do to increase its effectiveness.
RELATED PRESS RELEASES - Every release you distribute under
Link press releases the same RSS category (see below) will be a link below your
together – add current release. So if you want to ensure that a viewer sees not
momentum, increase only TODAY's PR from you, but last week and last years, simply
clicks like PPC plug them into the same RSS feed and enjoy the ride!
SITE PREVIEW - Another amazing feature of PRWeb is the site
Viewers can view
preview, available when you click the magnifying glass on the
YOUR SITE right from
Home page of PRWeb (for that day's releases) and below your
your press release on
Related PR. Make sure that you're showing the page of the site
PRWeb.com you want prospects viewing. (see above). Remember, this
doesn’t have to be your website – the right site could be a
unique landing page.
RSS - Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, provides a way for
Use PRWeb.com for you to get your press release delivered to blogs, forums, email
instant distribution and news readers (as well as many news sites and browsers).
to blogs, websites and Set this up with keywords (don't spam) and you'll provide a
journalists window from your press into the rest of the online world,
worldwide. PRWeb.com has over 20,000 RSS feeds and 8
million monthly RSS pulls.
SELECTED DISTRIBUTION - Every release is sent by email to
Select 1–10 unique the editors and journalists covering that specific area of
"channels" to focus or distribution. You can pick up to 10 "channels" at a time, to
expand distribution ensure that you not only get a major category (eg. Business),
but also the important sub-categories (Business: Marketing,
PRWeb’s Quick Guide to Writing Your First Online Press Release 9
STATISTICS: One of the coolest part of driving awareness
through PRWeb.com is that you get to watch the results in
REAL-TIME, via the PRWeb Statistics page. Every release has
this feature, and as you increase contribution, you will receive
increased statistics with more granular detail.
Get your news in the YAHOO! AND GOOGLE NEWS - The kings of web traffic and the
top news sites top search engines receive your press releases as soon as they
go live (we recommend sending them by midnight. You may
pick up thousands of international views and hundreds of clicks
between midnight and 7:00 am the day of the release).
PRWeb provides HELP! - You can ALWAYS get help at PRWeb – through the
24/7/365 support, website, a fast online help system, by email, and via phone.
editors and The 24/7/365 team of editors, technologists and support folks
distribution are at the ready.
PRWeb is recognized as a leading online news and news release distribution service
worldwide. Since 1997, PRWeb has been changing the way businesses, marketing
departments and public relations firms think about press releases. PRWeb was the first
company to develop a distribution strategy around direct-to-consumer communication and
to build and offer a search engine optimized platform for press release distribution. PRWeb,
located in Ferndale, WA, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Vocus, Inc., a leading provider of
on-demand public relations management software. For more information please visit
PRWeb’s Quick Guide to Writing Your First Online Press Release 10