Oct 18, 2022 / in press releaseBest Practices / by Glenn Frates

Looking at high-performing press releases from September & other trends for PR pros to know

Here at Cision, we find that clients who take a data-driven approach to their press release creation and distribution strategy perform well. In this series, we aim to provide insight into press releases that are making waves on the wire and in the media – and the reason behind it.

Take a look at some of the highest performing press releases from the last month and consider which tactics they’re using that you can apply to – and use to enhance – your own press release strategy.

September releases with the highest page views on prnewswire.com:

Typically, when I do my monthly recaps of the most viewed press releases, I point out the features that - based on years of analyzing press release performance and counseling clients on best practices to increase engagement – likely contributed to high visibility.

Consider the following releases, which were among the highest viewed on the Cision PRNewswire channel.

What these press releases get right:

  • The first three releases include an action word in the headline (“announces” and “crowns”) – at PRNewswire, we’ve seen over and over again that headlines that include action words typically perform better than headlines without them. (McDonald’s has the rare advantage of name recognition alone enticing readers to learn more.)  
  • Dodge (see example below), Johnnie Walker and McDonald’s all include compelling multimedia elements that serve to break up the text and provide an engaging visual element that adds further context. (Additionally, we know from the 2022 State of the Media report that journalists specifically want to see press releases with high res imagery they can use to complement their reporting.)
  • All four releases are formatted strategically to draw the reader in, using elements like bolded headlines to break up the text, shorter paragraphs, and bulleted copy that highlights key takeaways.
  • Executive quotes (more on this below), compelling calls to action (that drive the audience to further engage with the brand), and the inclusion of logos (to enhance brand awareness) also all helped in making these releases popular with consumers, journalists & other key stakeholders.

Photo of the 2023 Dodge Charger King Daytona, included in Dodge's press release, provided by Stellantis

Nine times out of ten, what makes a press release stand out are the application of the best practices outlined above. This month, however, two other top-engaged stories embodied the exception to that rule: An obituary (of famed former Federal Judge and U.S. Solicitor General, Ken Starr) and a crisis comms release (from Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver), both likely drawing attention thanks to their name recognition and accompanying earned media covering the stories.

Content Highlight: The Executive Quote

I recently read a blog about how the executive quote was dead, and brands should avoid using this type of PR outreach; however, at PR Newswire, we see all evidence to the contrary. Just look at the hundreds of instances of earned media we see every month using quotes directly found in a company press release. Take, for example, this New York Times story which includes a quote directly from the Warner Music Group’s press release.

To make the most impact with executive quotes, use the following two guidelines: 

  • Keep it concise. Similar to the advice we give for writing a good headline, a quote should never run longer than 70-80 characters.  If you just have to, make sure it’s broken up into shorter sentences that an editor can pick and choose from.
  • Ensure it’s relevant. You want to give a quote a media outlet’s end-readers will actually care about, find interesting and learn something new from. 

Trending topics and keywords for PR pros to know:

On the horizonHoliday shopping marketing.  Some brands took an early dip into holiday marketing via the Cision PRNewswire network. Leading the charge was this announcement from Target.

Staying ahead of trends is key to creating compelling press releases that speak to what audiences are reacting to and engaging with. If you want to know how Cision can help you stay ahead of the conversations that matter to your brand, I invite you to check out our media monitoring solutions – or simply schedule a call with an expert today.

Inspired by what you’ve seen here and ready to take your next press release to the next level? See how PR Newswire can help.


Most Recent Posts

Cision Blogs Topics

  • Communications Best Practices

    Get the latest updates on PR, communications and marketing best practices.

  • Cision Product News

    Keep up with everything Cision. Check here for the most current product news.

  • Executive Insights

    Thought leadership and communications strategy for the C-suite written by the C-suite.

  • Media Blog

    A blog for and about the media featuring trends, tips, tools, media moves and more.

About Glenn Frates

Glenn Frates is Regional Vice President of U.S. Distribution at Cision. Glenn’s 20+ years experience in content distribution and best practices, global marketing strategies and large-scale operations management has provided him a broad perspective on what does and doesn’t work well in the Marketing/PR arena.