News releases are becoming an increasingly important element of any communications strategy, as nearly every company has seen their need to communicate continue to grow in recent years. The number of news releases distributed through PR Newswire's network in APAC has increased by 15 percent on average annually. Yet, poorly planned and poorly written news releases distributed by companies who lack the experience, skills or knowledge in communications will only serve to confuse the media and the intended audiences. An unsuccessful news release may even have a negative effect on your communications efforts.
PR Newswire has developed its Storytelling Guidelines for news release distribution in a move to help companies plan and write their news releases, improve the quality of the releases, disseminate the message in a timely manner and open up opportunities to engage audiences. In addition, PR Newswire will also conduct training programs on the basis of these guidelines with the goal of improving the quality of the writing that goes into a well-constructed news release. The overall program aims to help companies improve the quality of their communications and amplify the messages of their news release. Thanks to clients who have become conversant with the content of the guidelines, PR Newswire can provide the media with high quality content that meets the growing demand from audiences.
Why a good quality news release needs to "tell a story"?
Communicating a message through storytelling can leave a long-lasting impression on the reader and goes a long way in assuring that the reader has properly understood the content of that message. Among the vast number of corporate news releases delivered every day, those whose content is well planned and organized through the application of a flexible and interesting storytelling approach will see the value of the content improved for their readers, attract more attention from the media, and strengthen the target audience's trust in the company's brand, as well as produce sustainable visibility in search engines. Most companies have already realized that good PR is the result of continuously engaging high quality and compelling stories with their audiences.
PR Newswire's Storytelling guidelines for news release distribution
Topical and appealing
If appropriate, considering writing news releases to respond to a trending topic and incorporate your brand's unique angle into the story, especially if the topic is related to the industry of the issuer. The media prefers fresh, informative and original content that is likely to generate an immediate response from the intended audience. Such releases invariably receive better play in search engines.
- Creating a media-related PR editorial calendar on your industry can help you to find news angles and to plan content, allowing your brand communication efforts to produce twice the results with half the effort. View our PR Newswire's 2015 Calenar (June to December) here.
- Train yourself at using relevant tools to help plan your content, for example, using relevant monitoring tools, such as PR Newswire’s media monitoring tool CMM, to monitor media trends and access industry market intelligence in real time. Learn more about PR Newswire's Media Monitoring services here.
Enriching the news release with multimedia elements and encouraging actions
Content presentation by media, search engines and social networks is becoming more visual. As a result, releases limited to text will perform less effectively in comparison. Add more visuals and/or call-to-action elements in your releases, including:
Photos, videos, infographics, PowerPoint presentations, data, charts, use of bold and italic fonts as well as downloadable links, all of which can generate more interest from readers in addition to making the content richer, more vivid, easier to search, and share through social networks.
- A news release should contain at least one photo, which can be the company logo. Do not forget to include the company's website address in the text.
- The selected photo or image should not be or resemble an advertisement or a piece of marketing, as such a photo or image may be labeled and treated as advertising content by the media and the search engines.
- Photos should not be less than 300 dpi nor larger than 10 MB to ensure proper and sufficiently clear resolution. Avoid a collage of multiple photos.
Concise headline and reasonable length for the content
A news release should have a short and concise headline accompanied by a factual subtitle of reasonable length. Concise wording, to-the-point sentences and short paragraphs serve to deliver an enjoyable reading experience to the intended audience.
Depending on the content, the text of the release should be neither too long nor too short. Clearly delineated paragraphs and a reasonable overall length of text are more conducive to the type of brief reading experience that has become the norm within the new media communications environment. The same rules in terms of conciseness apply as well to readability on social networks and mobile devices.
According to statistics developed by PR Newswire based on the thousands of news releases that are issued through PR Newswire annually, the ideal length of a news release in most cases is between 400 and 800 characters. The length of the headline should be less than 120 characters (including spaces), with the most import content leading in the first 65 characters (including spaces).
A reasonable number of backlinks
When issuing a news release, it is recommended to observe the guidelines put out by the search engines and to make sure to follow all “white hat” rules when including anchor text. It is better to be fully transparent, even if that seems on the surface to be less effective, than to have the search engines judge your actions to have lacked transparency.
According to the latest search engine algorithms, as a result of the Google Panda 5.0 update, text that contain an excessive number of hyperlinks are often rejected by media websites and search engines, denying the issuer opportunities for communication that might have become available as a result of a good search ranking. Companies need to become fully cognizant of and follow SEO rules, and to tailor the use of anchor texts so that the issuer remains within the guidelines.
Don't use more than three hyperlinks in a press release. Providing relevant links can help increase your search visibility.
Are you employing these strategies when crafting your news releases?
Why is Storytelling important?
No one really likes to be lectured, but everyone loves a good story. Storytelling in marketing, undoubtedly, is an essential technique to breathe life into your brand and allow you to engage with your audience. In this digital era of everything faster-bigger-easier, it is critical for marketers to find ways to set themselves apart from the crowd. When you tell a story that is authentic, entertaining and informative, it encourages people to think, act and be engaged.
If you would like to learn more new tactics to employ for your press releases to be shared, read and engaged with, download the New School Press Releases Tactics
Are you ready to write a high quality news release?