Sep 13, 2021 / in PR 101Best Practices / by Erin Payton

The press release is a tool that should be in every PR pro’s toolbox. At Cision PR Newswire, we want your press releases to be more reflective of Bob Vila than Tim Taylor, so we created the second annual State of the Press Release Report to help you build your PR strategy.

We picked five key takeaways from the report that comms professionals should consider before writing their next release. But these are just small samples; if you want to savor the whole meal, download the report. We promise it’s delicious.

  1. The words you use in a press release headline matter. Raise your hand if you’ve glanced at a news headline to decide whether or not you want to read the whole article. For better or worse, readers do the same with press releases. It turns out there are words you can use that will increase your odds of getting your press release read by your target audience.

  2. There’s a relationship between headline length and viewership. Just like the orchestra that drowns out a lengthy Oscar acceptance speech, Google and other search engines will cut off your press release headline if it’s over a certain character count. More importantly, viewers are less likely to click on and read your release if the headline is too short or too long. There is a headline sweet spot that Goldilocks would approve of.

  3. Readers love multimedia. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Multimedia increases engagement with a press release. We can say it until we’re blue in the face, but do PR pros agree that multimedia adds value and are they planning to use it in their future releases? No spoilers here; read the report.

  4. Timing your release is important. I think we can agree that yelling your message in a loud, crowded room is not the most effective way to be heard. Unfortunately, some PR pros might not be aware that they are essentially doing just that when they send out a press release around the same time as many other organizations. There is a day of the week and particular times that are popular for distributing releases, and we recommend avoiding them, so your message doesn’t get lost in the crowd.

  5. Press outreach is returning to pre-pandemic levels. We asked PR pros if they are contacting journalists at the same rate as they did prior to the pandemic. The good news is the industry is bouncing back nicely. The bad news is that there’s still some way to go before it’s back to partying like it’s 2019.
For more insight into what we learned when we analyzed more than 100,000 press releases, download the full 2021 State of the Media Report.

For a deeper dive into how press releases can help you tell your story, join the State of the Press Release LIVE webinar that will feature a panel of PR leaders discussing all things press release and doling out expert tips and guidance.

Register for State of the Press Release LIVE

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About Erin Payton

Erin Payton is an Integrated Marketing Manager for Distribution at Cision. In her role, she develops multichannel marketing campaigns, drives demand generation, fosters brand awareness and creates thought leadership. Away from the keyboard, she is an unabashedly enthusiastic cat mom to Mia.