Dec 08, 2022 / in press releaseBest Practices / by Glenn Frates

Looking at high-performing press releases from November & 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.

November’s Highest Performing Press Release

If you’re familiar with this series, you know that I typically highlight a few of the top performing press releases across the Cision channels; however, this month, I’d be remiss if I didn’t lead by discussing one particular standout press release:

Golden Retriever Poisoned by Thanksgiving Bread Rolls

Photo of Pippa the golden retriever courtesy of Pet Poison Helpline

(Don’t worry - the dog survived.)

Garnering over 300K+ views (so far), this story about Pippa the golden retriever having a bad reaction to holiday fare was not only the highest viewed press release across our wires for the month of November, but a Top 10 most-viewed story across our wires in 2022.

What this release gets right:

Perhaps most surprising about the performance of the release is that it doesn’t follow the typical press release format. Instead of “leading with the brand,” this release takes a storytelling approach, working the brand, Pet Poison Hotline, into the story itself. It also offers a headline that is emotional, timely and compels the reader to click without caring who the brand behind it is. 

While the format may be different, many of the tried-and-true rules for good reader engagement apply here too:

  • The inclusion of multimedia – including an engaging photo of Pippa, an embedded and easy-to-share Tweet, and the brand logo (keeping the brand top of mind, even as they led with Pippa’s story)
  • A short, concise headline that left the reader wanting more, along with a subhead that provided more context to “preview” the story
  • Short paragraphs that vary in length for easy reading, an ‘About Us’ section and media contact information, among other best practices  

More non-traditional, high-performing releases:

This is far from the only “unbranded” headline we’ve seen recently that performed well (see last month’s post about this trend). Other examples of other “unbranded” press releases that performed well in October and November:

All compel the reader to click by offering their target audience(s) new (timely) information, expert advice, etc., without even mentioning the brand.

As I pointed out last month, this unique approach can be an effective use of the newswire to bring more attention to your brand, particularly when you lead with compelling keywords or phrases and relevant, high quality content that offers something of value to the reader[GF1] .

The more traditional press releases with higher page views on in November included:

These press releases have all the hallmarks of an engaging release, including:

  • Shorter, concise headlines that use action words (which typically perform better than headlines without action words). 
  • Compelling multimedia elements that break up the text, provide more context in an engaging visual element, and make it easy for the media to grab and include in their coverage.
  • Eye-catching formatting practices – from bolded headers to separate paragraphs to bulleted copy that highlights key takeaways.
  • The use of executive quotes (the value of which I address in a previous month’s article), compelling calls to action and media contact information (so journalists can easily get the information they need to cover these stories)

Trending topics and keywords for PR pros to know:

In addition to looking at which press releases got high engagement and understanding the “why” behind their performance, it’s also important to look at the trending topics across our wires. Staying ahead of trends is key to creating compelling press releases that speak to what audiences are reacting to and engaging with.

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.



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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.