October 31, 2018
Comms Best Practices
/ by Glenn Frates
Producing high-quality content – and delivering it to a specific audience – is difficult. Whether your target audience is a customer, investor or journalist, you are competing against so much noise out there – from long headline queues at 8 a.m. Eastern to instant public reactions on Twitter.
A few seconds is all you have to get your audience to take the next step with your press release. People will move on if your message isn’t high quality right from the start.
All too often, I see content that had good intentions fall flat because it was tossed out into the news cycle without much thought to execution.
Don’t fall victim to headlines with 200+ characters, blocks of text that are difficult to scan because they lack formatting and visuals, jargon-filled writing that causes confusion, or stale messaging that doesn’t deliver relevant meaning to your audience.
Follow these five rules and produce high-quality press releases that don’t get lost.
This is probably the hardest rule to follow and requires a lot of patience and preparation. Your content needs a purpose beyond filling your website’s news section.
Get started by creating an editorial calendar at least three months in advance. Coordinate with marketing, product, sales and other teams to produce content your target audience will care about.
Do you have a new study to report on? A new infographic with up-to-date data? A white paper you’re proud of? An upcoming trade show you’re excited about participating in?
Readers and search engines will quickly know whether or not your message is relaying insightful and relevant information.
Don’t make the mistake in thinking you can fool them.
In SEO and website terms, achieving authority can be a nebulous challenge, a reflection of search engine algorithms’ unending evolution.
But authority also means owning your content with confidence and expertise. Spot-on data, clean writing and well-attributed quotes will never go out of style.
Transparency is the key to success. Don’t try and be overly clever or too subtle with your message; you run the risk of undermining your authority. Make sure the audience knows your intentions early on.
Search engines may not be looking for a minimum word count, but they are looking for high-quality content. That means producing a message that isn’t just a quick 50-word post with a few links to outdated product pages. You need to craft content that builds trust with your readers so that they – and search engines, in turn – don’t think of you as a spammer.
Don’t fill your editorial calendar with short, low-quality content. Instead, ensure you are delivering substantial (insightful, relevant and authoritative) messages throughout the year.
Don’t lead with a dry quote from an executive as to why your product is the best or why a deal will be great for your company’s future. Don’t bury a link you really want the reader to click in the bottom half of your message.
Engage your reader as soon as possible by focusing on why your story matters, including a call to action early on, and incorporating relevant and eye-catching photos and videos. It is proven that readers engage with visual content more than text-only.
Considering the fact that 52.2 percent of global website traffic takes place on a mobile phone, it sends a clear message to communicators that your content must be formatted with mobile in mind.
The challenge lies in balancing style with substance. Fortunately, with the right formatting, you can have your content cake and eat it too.
Shorter headlines, bullets, and bolding are all tried and true practices for making your story easy to discover and digest on any device.
Follow the above five rules and your content will be off to a good start.
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