Four Steps to Writing a News Release that Converts
Generating and distributing your brand’s vital news is an important part of how you stay relevant in the minds of the media and your wider customer base. But a news release can do so much more than simply tell someone about your company.
Here are the four key elements to write a news release that converts:
- The news announcement
- Multimedia attachments
- High-quality links
- And social media
The purpose of your news release is to remind the media, your clients and other businesses why your company is relevant. The news announcement should lay this out from the very beginning of the release.
What has your company achieved recently? What new products or services are you offering? How have you been recognized as a leader in your industry? These questions can guide the direction of your news release to explain how and why your company is impacting your industry.
If the specific news announcement is difficult to nail down, then start with the basics:
- Who is the center of the news announcement? Which organization or individual is the source of this news?
- What is the news announcement? What event, milestone, or company change is occurring? Are you providing advice or analysis?
- Where is this news occurring? If you’re hosting an event, where will the event take place? If you’re announcing a new website, where can people find you online?
- When is this news occurring? Is it today or next week? If it’s upcoming, why should readers care about it now?
- Why is the news important to your reader? How does it impact them?
The most important aspect to remember when crafting your news announcement is that it is not just about you or your brand. Your audience needs to understand from the beginning why your news release is important to them. So write your release with your audience in mind.
2. Use Multimedia Assets to Engage Your Audience — and Avoid Boring Them
In the age of Content, search engine results pages (SERPs) are inundated with potential links for users to click on. HubSpot reported in 2016 that 43 per cent of readers skim online content. That means that two out of five readers may not even read your news release in full. So how do you keep them engaged? Use multimedia.
Multimedia can come in a wide range of formats:
- Company logos provide a visual representation of your brand.
- Photographs of your company at various events put literal faces to your brand name.
- Infographics demonstrate your brand’s expertise in your industry.
- Videos provide an engaging visual and sound clip to tell your audience what they need to know about your news.
The same HubSpot report indicates that users are more likely to consume videos in full (55 per cent) than any other form of online content. So why gamble on a member of the media or potential customer reading your entire news release? Include a video to reinforce your news announcement.
3. Optimize Your Release With High-Quality Links
While the news announcement is the most vital piece of a quality news release, that alone may not be enough to draw journalists and readers to your business. Embedded hyperlinks and plain-text URLs can provide extra information that you may not have the space to cover in a short news release.
Call to Action (CTA)
The CTA is the heart of your release. You don’t just want people to read your release. You want them to make an actionable decision in support of your company. Include a call-to-action link that does the following:
- Comes right after the first paragraph, or lede. Don’t bury this link at the end of the release.
- Is a plain-text URL: http://www.myawesomewebsite.com/why-you-should-go-here. Online users tend to trust plain-text URLs more than embedded links, so if you’re asking someone to click on your link and take an action, tell them where they’re going up front.
- Ask your reader to take a specific action: share, tweet, subscribe, register … Whatever it is you want your followers to do after they’ve read your release, ask them directly. Don’t just give them a link and hope they will follow it.
If you have other informational webpages or articles that you want to direct readers to, then you can use these in the main body of your release. Stick to one to three informational links to avoid bombarding your reader with potential clicks.
Include one link to your brand’s homepage in the boilerplate of the release. Why only one? Because directing users to your homepage only tells them where they can find you. This can be beneficial down the road, but it does not ask them to take a specific action. This is why we place the CTA link at the beginning of the release.
4. Share Your News Release on Social Media to Expand its Reach
It should be well understood that a high-quality news release is aimed at generating attention from journalists and other members of the media. However, it is also an opportunity to stay up-to-date with consumers or journalists who already follow your company.
Posting your release to your company’s various social media platforms can trigger engagement with your release in the form of likes, shares, or retweets, thus increasing the potential impact and audience of the news release.
Keep in mind that different pieces of your news release can serve different social media purposes:
- Post your images on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
- Share videos on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
- Tweet out links to infographics to provide data-driven information for your followers.
With a well-crafted news announcement, strategically placed multimedia and links, and appropriate campaigns to share your news on social media, your news release will be poised to attract media and other readers. Structuring news releases in this manner will do more than bring attention to your brand. Every aspect of the release should be included with the ultimate goal of your readers taking an action.
Author: Steven D’Adamo is a client services representative for Cision. His areas of interest include the written word, customer service, and content marketing. When he is not writing, he is likely exploring unknown destinations, either through books or traveling.
The blog was first published on Cision Canada website.