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Rules for the best press releases

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Last Updated: Jul 18, 2014

Human desire for news will never change, what has changed is that many people now prefer to read the news online as opposed to reading them in newspapers.

The PR Web (Vocus) reports that 80 million people prefer to read their news online, and surprisingly, over 60 percent of journalists prefer to find their story ideas and news sources online.

Press releases are not SEO tools; they are branding and credibility tools. They are the best way to get people to know about a product, a service or a company.

Press releases should therefore be engaging enough. They should also direct targeted and organic traffic back to a website, generate chatter, sharing and social signals and also generate journalistic interest.

To benefit fully from a press release, observe the following rules:

(a) Be knowledgeable on how to write a press release
If you can’t come up with a good press release, it would helpful for you to hire a professional writer. A press release is about telling a story. Writing it professionally takes some years of study and practice, but any good writer can do it. You need to be knowledgeable as a professional before you can write one.

(b) Understand your audience
Carry out a demographic research before you write a press release. Your press release should be written in a style that is appealing to your target group. If you miss this, your press release will hit a brick wall.

(c) Understand those to distribute to
Research the industries that can be interested in your products and services. If you distribute your press releases to wrong companies, they may end up not reading them and this will be a great loss to your company.

(d) Come up with a punchy elevator pitch
As stated earlier, press releases are for branding which is very important for online marketing. The elevator pitch is that part of the press release that will help to capture the reader so that he/she can read the whole document. The elevator pitch should therefore highlight on your brand, products and services. Your title should be catchy as well.

(e) Stick to the editors rules
Editors have stringent rules governing press releases. To prevent yours from being rejected, try to stick to these rules. The editors won’t fix your document for you; that’s your duty. They can only make minor changes.

(f) Work with others
Teamwork helps a lot in developing an effective press release. Working alone will limit the idea and composition of the document. Collaborate with others and brainstorm with them so as to come up with a good piece.

(g) Practice free form of advertising
This is also referred to as cross promotion. It will help you to gain credibility. Finding a cross promotion partner is easy if you already do business with them. Cross promotion also reduces cost since the cost is split between the partners.

(h) Use quality distribution channels
Distribution costs money. Cheap distribution is bad and good distribution is not cheap. The choice is yours. If you are serious with your press release, choose a high quality distribution channel.

You also need to enhance your PR with pictures and SEO. There are add-ons that most PR distribution services offer that are very useful and you should consider them as part of your distribution strategy.

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