January 06, 2021 / in Best PracticesUS Blog / by Mary Lorenz

Last year when the world seemed to come to a pause, so did many companies’ press outreach  strategies. While this might have felt like the right move to make at the time – perhaps due to changed priorities, reduced resources or simply not knowing what to say or how to say it – silence is not a sustainable business strategy. (After all, if you’re not going to tell your story, who is?)

Despite the uncertainty still ahead, there is (and always will be) a need for brands to communicate key messages to the right audiences, the right way, and at the right time. And press releases remain one of the most effective ways to communicate with key stakeholders, build trust and grow brand loyalty.

Results from our special State of the Press Release report prove this. An analysis of more than 100,000 press releases distributed across PR Newswire between June 2019 and June 2020, the State of the Press Release report underscores the importance of press releases, even – and especially – in a changed media landscape. Yet as with everything else, the press release has evolved from what it once was. Consider these findings:

  • Less is more: As the first thing the reader looks at (and one of the major elements search engines scan), your headline should be relevant and concise. Keep the character length to 88 characters or less, and include the most important keywords in the first 55 to 70 characters.
  • Start with why: The longer the press release, the less likely the reader is to read it in its entirety. For this reason, try to keep your press releases around 600 words, and lead with “why” – as in, why should your audience care? This tactic helps ensure you get your most important messages across quickly and concisely.
  • Timing is everything: 52% of news is sent on the hour and half hour, with the highest volume of copy sent Tuesdays at 8:00 AM ET. Break the mold: Send your press releases at off times (like 8:47 AM ET) to stand out from the crowd.

You can find more advice and insight from our new guide, The Ultimate Toolkit for Getting Your Press Release Noticed. This comprehensive ‘how-to’ handbook has everything you need – including data-backed recommendations and an expert-led webinar – to create an effective, results-oriented press release in 2021 and beyond.

Get the toolkit now.

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About Mary Lorenz

Mary Lorenz is Editorial Director at Cision and writes about best practices and thought leadership for marketing, communications and public relations professionals. She has a background in marketing, public relations and journalism and over 15 years of experience in copywriting and content strategy across a variety of platforms, industries and audiences.