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20 Jun 2011

Does Your Online News Make the Cut?

SEO Online Press Releases

SEO press releases are a key tactic in online marketing for your brand. Not only are you increasing the visibility of keywords in search engine results, but also generating valuable publicity that could attract new customers or clients. So how do you break through the competition to get that prized media mindshare?

It starts with content. Your content determines your newsworthiness. Although the term “newsworthy” is subjective, there is definitely a line between advertising and news content. In this post, I’ll explore what sets apart news releases that are picked up from those that go unpublished.

Here are some important guidelines that can influence whether your news gets the coverage it deserves.

Construct an Actionable Headline

This is your one shot to break through the clutter and prompt action. When crafting your headline, take note of the following tips:

  • A title with eight words performs best. Outbrain, a content discovery platform serving content recommendations on top publisher sites, reviewed data on 150,000 article headlines or titles to arrive at this determination.
  • Limit the use of adjectives and lose the fluff
  • Ask what affect this news will have on your audience. Why should they care?

The subhead is your one-two punch

This is where you can expand on the headline with an additional point that deserves special attention. Make sure to reference the 5 W’s (Who, What, When, Where, Why) as the subheadline may appear in search engine results.

Examples of Good News Headlines:

TattooFinder.com Announces Tribal Tattoos as ‘Top Design of 20XX’

Six Tools No Website Should be Without

5 Great Products for Desktop Video Producers

And… the Bad News:

Auto Dealer Announces Huge Inventory of Certified Vehicles Now Available

Company X Hires Max Miller as Loan Officer

Virtual Company Launches a New Website, Raising the Bar on the Competition

Keep the length to a minimum.

The length of your press release can make or break the likelihood of your story getting past the initial scan. With that said, the optimal length of a press release is between 400-600 words. The key here is to be compelling and brief so that you don’t confuse the reader with a sea of details.

Good content can get you news coverage

With the potential for publicity, it is natural to want to pack in as much information you can about your company, products and services. However, this approach can negatively be viewed as more of sales pitch than news release.

The quality of content, the importance of the information and influence it has in the market or on people’s lives, all affect the probability of your release getting media exposure. When developing your news story, take the following into consideration:

  • Inform + Engage. Focus on the important details while making the story compelling.
  • Tie-in with current events, center around a holiday, new product launch to the market, a unique service offering, or an important discovery or development.
  • Write with the mind-set of creating an opportunity for media to “break a story”

For more ideas to make your story compelling, check out 20 Press Release Ideas for Your Business.

So when crafting your next press release, keep in mind that not every bit of company news is newsworthy. Ask yourself if the content in your release is self-serving or brings value to the intended audience. Save the ordinary or an internal newsletter and submit truly compelling news that journalists can appreciate.

Share your opinion on what makes a press release newsworthy.

4 Comments

  • David Ewing Jun 20, 2011

    Ann-Marie, thanks for the headline examples! It seems like the most successful always include a top 5 or top 10 list. How would you scale PR when something interesting might not happen on a regular/consistent basis?

  • Ann-Marie Jancovich Jun 20, 2011

    Hi David, thank you for your comment. In regards to your question, I would suggest looking to marketing efforts to create newsworthy events, piggybacking off current events/industry news or perhaps having a representative in the company become an authority for media (industry expert) to garner publicity.

  • Marjory Lobue Sep 18, 2011

    I enjoy seeing innovative articles such as this with such top quality info gathered and talked about. I feel that if you had dug even a tiny bit deeper, this actual article could almost become an academic write-up or academic resource. I have added your blog to my RSS reader in order to watch what you might have in the future.

  • Ann-Marie Jancovich Sep 19, 2011

    Marjory, I appreciate your feedback and suggestion. Thank you for following the blog as well!