Well-written press releases can serve as a strong marketing tool. In our experience, not every business sees the value in them though.
Some of our clients were not wild about writing press releases because they saw them as extra work with little to no payoff. Some perceived press releases as something only large companies do. Most of our tech clients saw the value, published press releases, and enjoyed growth.
Before sharing the five ingredients you should include in your press releases, it’s important to understand “the why.” Why are press releases important and how can they benefit your business?
Press Releases for Humans
First, they help build credibility and spread the news about your company. The goal of a press release is to share newsworthy information in order to increase awareness of your company’s achievements. Any PR strategy worth its salt will focus on increasing free coverage because it is far more credible than advertising.
Unlike many local businesses, B2B tech companies are challenged to meet face to face with their clients or subscribers. Press releases help tech companies reach their audience more easily.
Press Releases for Search Engines
Second, they help build website traffic. Press releases submitted through news sites are distributed to hundreds of other relevant websites, business journals, and industry sites.
You should include links to your website in each of your press releases. There will then be hundreds of websites backlinking to your site. A backlink is simply any webpage that has links to your website. This helps increase your search rankings and overall visibility.
Third, press releases show that your company is active. Press releases also provide content for you to distribute on your website, through email newsletters, and excerpts on social media. This is important because it again helps increase your overall visibility and gets your target audience talking about your organization.
Some companies struggle with writing good press releases and coming up with the right content. Here are 5 actionable ways to make your press releases stand out to the people that matter: your prospects and customers.
1. Write a Compelling Headline & Summary
Press release headlines are the most important parts of any press release. Second to the title would be the summary. Without a great headline and summary, the piece may not appear in search results. Also, without keywords, other media outlets will not feature the article on their sites. Follow search engine optimization best practices to increase the visibility of your press releases.
More often than not, the title is the only thing the audience will see. The way people consume their news today is different than in years past. Most of your audience will skim social media and other online outlets for headlines and so make the title and summary count.
To write great titles, start with your company name, followed by a verb. For example, “ABC Company Launches New Software to Automate Accounting Reports.” Titles should answer the questions of who, what, and why.
Tailor your press release title to your target audience. Then, go through each word, one by one, and evaluate whether it is the best word to use. Write a few versions and variations and ask for feedback. Once you have a handful of options, ask for feedback internally and select the one that resonates the most.
If you have strong client relationships, you can ask for feedback from a couple of trusted clients. Follow this process for the summary section as well and you will be on track for a great press release.
2. Tie Press Releases to Company Goals & Objectives
An effective press release should reflect the goals and objectives of the company. These goals and objectives should also be outlined in your public relations strategy so everyone is on board and knows what they should be aiming for.
When writing your press release, make sure you are not simply reporting the news. You want to state what the news is and then explain why this news is relevant to potential customers.
Let’s say for example that a company’s overall goal is to increase sales to accounting and HR departments. To incorporate this into a press release about a new hire or a new client, put a greater emphasis on what the company is doing to achieve growth.
For example, “ABC Solutions Appoints John Doe as Sales Director to Accelerate Growth” Use phrases and keywords that indicate your organization is hitting its targets and winning.
3. Write From Your Reader’s Perspective
It’s easy to think your audience cares about X when in reality they care about something else entirely. A good branding and marketing strategy helps companies truly know what is important to their audience.
Any news release should build on what the marketing and branding strategy revealed and be written from your reader’s perspective.
Ask yourself what would be important if you didn’t know anything about your company or your competition. Make a list of questions you would want to be answered. Try to come up with concerns you would have and think of ways to address that with your readers.
Once this preliminary work is done, it is easier to think more like your target audience. Next, you need to tailor your press releases to them and emphasize the things that are most important.
For example, if you hire a new CFO, discuss how this person’s experience will advance the company and ultimately help customers save on your solutions down the road.
4. Use Strong Quotes
The use of quotes is important in press releases. Custom quotes are good and encouraged. Generic quotes do not bring value to the press release.
People will read them and not really gain any insight outside of the main text. Quotes should highlight something specific and important for the reader.
Quotes must also always be factual and objective. Never say, “ABC Company is the best solution provider out there.” That’s not factual. However, a quote from the CEO can include a statement like, “Our clients always tell us we have the best solution available.”
That is obviously subjective, but since it’s a quote, it’s not written as fact. This phrasing also gives credibility because it is stressing how the clients actually feel about the business instead of the business just saying, “We’re great, trust us.”
The quotes should be clear and concise, tie in or highlight a company goal or objective in some way, and be of importance to the reader.
To get better quotes, consider making a list of questions and actually interviewing people that you want to quote in the press release. Each time we have done that, we have captured valuable information.
Another thing you can do to make your life easier is to create a quote “library” to store a list of quotes. This can be as simple as a word document with a list of usable quotes.
5. Be Creative
The last ingredient, but certainly not the least, is to be creative. So many press releases are dry, boring, and not engaging. Make your press releases fun to read. Use language that is relevant to your audience and try to write at no more than an 8-10th-grade reading level.
Yes, even if your audience is educated, a press release should not sound like a scholarly article. You can use different web apps to help check how complex your writing is. You shouldn’t be dumbing it down, but aim to be as concise and clear as possible in plain language.
When submitting the press release, make sure to take advantage of any attachments or images you can add. Many news sites, like Cision PRWeb, allow you to submit a company logo or a digital marketing brochure. Incorporate as much of this as you can to further capture interest and attention. Try to do anything you can that will make your press release and your company stand out.
As a reminder, ensure your media contact details are up to date and accurate before you submit your release for distribution.
Now that you have 5 new tips, you are ready to start writing great press releases. Just to recap, the five ingredients to better B2B tech press releases are: writing enticing headlines and summaries, tying your press releases to company goals, writing from your readers’ perspective, using strong quotes, and being creative.
We would love to hear what you think. What other tips would you add to this list?