D. Nikki Wheeler joined us for our 2020 State of the Press Release webinar which covered Cision’s recently released State of the Press Release Report. During the discussion we covered best practices to follow when writing your press release as well as what makes a story newsworthy. Nikki also highlighted some of her best takeaways, and we’re sharing those with you here.
1. Add a Call to Action to Your News Release
“Over time I’ve come to develop a strong relationship with my Account Director at Cision who advised me to add a call-to-action (CTA) after the first paragraph in a press release,” says Nikki.
Many people believe that adding a CTA in a press release is too sales or marketing-forward, however- when done right- it’s a compelling resource that adds a unique value to your release.
2. Educate Your Internal Stakeholders on What Makes a Story Newsworthy
“Taking the time to educate your internal stakeholders can make all the difference,” says Nikki. “They think that everything and anything is newsworthy, but it’s the communicator’s job to educate and involve them in what makes a story newsworthy.”
Once you start involving stakeholders about what makes news and what a press release is used for, conversations about content you put out will start evolving.
That will allow you to shift to conversations that begin with, “We sold something and we also did a case study about why this customer bought from us,” or “how we now have an opportunity to show how our technology is helping this business to achieve their goals.”
3. Timing is Everything
Sending your press release at an off-peak time is a good way to ensure you’re cutting through the noise. As you can see below, most people put their press release on the wire at 8:00 am ET:
We suggest avoiding high volume times and putting your release out at an off-time, such as 10:47am ET early to mid-week. We’ve noticed the highest views on content are seen on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays so adjusting when you put your release on the wire can make all the difference.
During a review of the Akerna Names David McCullough CTO, press release, Nikki mentioned that she took advantage of highlighting the announcement in Times Square (you can learn more about this option here). “The nice thing was that we were able to request a high res photo, and we were able to uniquely highlight this release and have it framed in Times Square.”
While that level of multimedia won’t make sense for every release, adding some multimedia to a release increases engagement overall and is a general best practice. Don’t know where to find something to add to your release? Repurpose imagery you’ve used in a related social media campaign, or on your blog.
Cision’s relationship with Shuttershock also allows clients to access a library of graphics for their releases, if they are short on multimedia options of their own. If you still find yourself not being able to add a graphic to your release, always include a logo to build brand awareness.
Tracking links on press releases and earned media coverage is incredibly important.
“You need to ask yourself first, what is the goal of the communication and what are you trying to get out of it." -Nikki