Pub 355W: Components of a Press Release
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Pub 355W: Components of a Press Release

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Make it newsworthy and timely.

Make it newsworthy and timely.

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Pub 355W: Components of a Press Release Pub 355W: Components of a Press Release Presentation Transcript

  • Components of a Good Press Release by Monique Sherrett
  • Is it newsworthy? Is it timely? A good pitch letter or press release answers “so what” and “why is this important to cover now”. It’s newsworthy and timely. Common topics that are NOT newsworthy: A new book. Winning an award. Attending a festival. To be news, the story has to affect people in some way. It needs to change the landscape or have an impact on people. Find the story that makes it news.
  • Headline Summary Date 1st Paragraph Link Body Boilerplate Contact Attachment
  • 1. Headline A headline establishes the content of the press release. It’s a promise of what the reader will find out by reading on. It should include keyword phrases relevant to the content of the press release. ShortStack Releases New Facebook Marketing eBook for the Holidays
  • What are keywords? Keyword phrases are the words people type into a search engine in order to find things on the web. ShortStack Releases New Facebook Marketing eBook for the Holidays
  • Keyword Matches Get Bolded
  • Checklist for Headlines • A Headline Should Appear in Title Case • Capitalize Every Word Except Prepositions and Articles • Aim for 60-170 characters • ALL CAPS FOR EMPHASIS SHOULD BE AVOIDED. • Include relevant keyword phrases • Articulate the content of the press release • Provide a good hook (a reason to keep reading) • Include the company name
  • Example Headline Indigo Launches Mobile App for Android Winners for the 2013 Trillium Book Award Announced Random House Canada to publish book by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield
  • 2. Summary The Summary is a synopsis of the information in the release. It follows the headline and is usually 1-4 sentences only. Sentence case is used for summary text. Checklist for Summary: • • • • • • A Summary should appear in sentence case. Aim for 1-4 sentences Include relevant keyword phrases Articulate the content of the press release Provide a good hook (a reason to keep reading) Include the company name ShortStack Releases New Facebook Marketing eBook for the Holidays Holiday guide from custom app platform offers 39 ways to promote a business on Facebook.
  • Summary or 1st Paragraph May Appear
  • 3. Body Checklist • • • • Be on-topic • • • • Model the lead paragraph on the summary. Deliver on the promise established in the Headline Include relevant keyword phrases But avoid keyword stuffing—overusing keywords repetitively—which makes search engines think you’re trying to scam the system. The lead paragraph is 25 words or less. Body Copy is 300-800 words. Always write press releases in the third person. No “I” or “you.”
  • Example Lead Paragraph ShortStack Releases New Facebook Marketing eBook for the Holidays Holiday guide from custom app platform offers 39 ways to promote a business on Facebook. Reno, NV (PRWEB) October 30, 2013 ShortStack, a self-service app building tool, has released "Facebook Holiday Marketing Ideas," a Holiday eBook for businesses who want to market on Facebook during the upcoming holiday season. The eBook is available for a free download onShortStack’s Facebook Page.
  • 4. Links Links are the currency of the web. They are what we use to endorse content (retweeting links, blogging and linking to another site). Provide a relevant link in the first paragraph of your press release. Search engines look at links pointing at your domain, and a link from a press release service such as PRWeb.com is a vote of legitimacy. Providing a link early on in the press release also helps journalists and bloggers understand where to find more relevant content about this topic. They are also likely to use the link you provide in their follow-up stories, which means more links to your domain, and more votes of credibility for your content in the eyes of the search engines.
  • 5. Boilerplate Statement The boilerplate statement is the one-paragraph “About Us” snippet at the end of a press release. Most organizations reuse the same piece of copy for all press releases, which is a wasted opportunity as this is another place to add keywords and to establish the “so what?” of what you do. Boilerplate Checklist: • Include the facts: company name, location, what you do. • Include the “so what?”, or the positioning statement: what is compelling about what you do? Are you the 1st company to do it? Does 80% of the market use your products? • Remember a press release is no place for a sales pitch, but you can write a compelling, relevant boilerplate statement that helps reinforce the message you are trying to get across in your press release.
  • Example ShortStack is a self-service web app design tool that allows individuals and businesses to create custom Facebook apps for their Facebook Pages. The dynamic platform contains more than 40 tools and templates where users can integrate fangates, contests, sweepstakes, RSS feeds, Twitter, YouTube, and MailChimp newsletter signups that maximize their social media presence and potential. Custom Facebook apps designed using ShortStack are viewable via a mobile device or PC. To learn more about ShortStack visit http://www.shortstack.com.
  • Tips for Writing a Good Press Release • Start Strong: You have a matter of seconds to earn attention. • Be Newsworthy: The headline, summary and 1st paragraph should clarify the news. The rest of the release provides the details. It’s not a marketing pitch or advertisement. • Use Keywords: The headline and summary use keywords people are likely to use when searching for this type of information. • Identify Yourself: Identify the company, brand or product in the headline and summary. • Economize Your Words: Be concise. Aim for 60 characters including spaces for the headline and 1-4 sentences for the summary. • Pick an Angle: Make sure your release has a good hook. • Proofread: No spelling or grammatical errors.
  • Pulling It Together Headlines: • A Headline Should Appear in Title Case • Capitalize Every Word Except Prepositions and Articles • Aim for 60-170 characters • ALL CAPS FOR EMPHASIS SHOULD BE AVOIDED. • Include relevant keyword phrases • Articulate the content of the press release • Provide a good hook (a reason to keep reading) • Include the company name Summary: • A Summary should appear in sentence case. • Aim for 1-4 sentences • Include relevant keyword phrases • Articulate the content of the press release • Provide a good hook (a reason to keep reading) • Include the company name Body: • Body content is on-topic and delivers on the promise established in the Headline • Lead paragraph is 25 words or less • Aim for 300-800 words • ALL CAPS FOR EMPHASIS SHOULD BE AVOIDED. • Include relevant keyword phrases (but avoid spammy repetition) • Content is focused on a core message (not trying to cram in 3-4 ideas) • Include a link early on in the release Boilerplate Statement • Include the facts: company name, location, what you do. • Include the “so what?”, or the positioning statement: what is compelling about what you do? Are you the 1st company to do it? Does 80% of the market use your products? Remember a press release is no place for a sales pitch, but you can write a compelling, relevant boilerplate statement that helps reinforce the message in the release.
  • Common Traits: Press Release & Pitch Letter Headline  =  Email  Subject  Line   • Keyword  Rich,  En1cing,  Makes  You  Want  to  Read  the  Full  Thing) • 60-­‐170  characters 1st  Paragraph  Keyword  Rich,  En@cing,  Makes  You  Want  to  Con@nue  Reading • Includes  a  link  to  relevant  content Body   • 300-­‐800  words • Newsworthy,  Timely,  Factoids  that  Provide  Context  to  Bigger  Picture,  Reason  for  Other  People  to  Care Boilerplate  (Short  statement  about  who  you  are) Contact  Details  (with  phone  number)   Links  &  ALachments  (Valuable  Content) *The  pitch  leRer  oSen  links  to  the  full  press  release  as  a  way  to  provide  more  details,  aRachments  that  can  be  downloaded,  etc
  • Press Release Assignment - 10% (DUE Nov 6, 5pm) • Read the sample pitch letter • Identify the 3 goals of the press release (what outcome does 49thShelf want from the release?) What KPIs should they have tracked? • What news outlets covered this story? List 5 and provide headline, 1st paragraph and URL. What phrases or talking points are included in the article that appeared in the pitch? • Make a list of 5 keyword phrases included in these articles that also appear in the pitch
  • Outreach Assignment (Nov 8 15) 10% • This will be submitted as part of Draft 2 • Thinking about Long Gone Man and Cocktail Culture, what existing stories are covered on this topic or author? List 3 and provide headline, 1st paragraph and URL • Make a list of the top 3 keyword phrases included in these articles. • Revisiting your list of 5 media and bloggers to pitch, how would you revise your pitch angle to be newsworthy? Updated your 5 pitch angles. • Submit this component as part of Draft 2 on Nov 15 instead of Nov 8.
  • Readings How to measure the success of a press release: http://www.bloggingprweb.com/howto-measure-pr-success Friends with Benefits: Chapters 10-13 Copyblogger, “The Simple 5-Step Formula for Effective Online Content,” http:// www.copyblogger.com/content-marketing-formula/ Copyblogger, “10 Sure Fire Headline Formulas That Work,” http:// www.copyblogger.com/10-sure-fire-headline-formulas-that-work/