At Thrive Web Designs, we recently got a request from a client to send out a press release for the launch of their new website. While we generally work in design and web development, we have submitted quite a few press releases on various projects. Upon accepting this request, we found that the press release landscape is rich with new techniques and opportunities. That’s why we’d like to share with you some of our findings and experience.

What Is A Press Release?

Simply put, a press release is a newsworthy story. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not every story is worth a press release. That’s why it’s important to look at it through the eyes of prospective readers. Does your story capture attention and make it worth reading? Once you have your story, you then submit it to a press release site, and they, in turn, submit it to various news outlets and websites for journalists to review and include through their channels. In writing a press release, your main goal is to get it published through as many outlets as possible for maximum exposure.

Is A Press Release Still Relevant?

In the past, releasing a press release was used to help boost search engine results by increasing backlinks to a website. Today, this isn’t relevant since most reputable news sources won’t include a backlink as their links are set to ‘no-follow’ to stop search engines from continuing to your website. Even more, Google will completely disregard duplicate articles.

However, press releases do still work to boost SEO. How? When you write a newsworthy story that people are actually interested in, they find it worth reading, worth sharing, and worth linking to. Even though a news source won’t include a backlink, you will still get more web traffic from that link as people want to find out more. This, in turn, will increase the chances of them doing their own search and mentioning your article or website on their own blog – which is where you get a backlink. Also, if you include a version of your press release on your own website, that’s additional content for search engines like Google to pick up.

Writing A Good Press Release

In today’s world, it doesn’t matter if you write a bad press release. Doing so, however, would be a total waste of time. Instead, it takes a well-written article that’s worth reading and grabs people’s attention.

To start off with, you need something newsworthy (yes, we keep saying that). In our case, a client was launching a new website. While launching a new website isn’t exactly news, we needed to make it newsworthy. We did this by looking at what the website launch offered, and why it would interest others. In our case, the new website offers all the same features of its competitor’s sites but it’s easier to use and more affordable. There’s your story. Other angles to include would be offering a new product, a noteworthy event, findings from a new study, etc. Whatever the case, it’s important to think about it from a news journalist’s point of view. Is it a story worth talking about?

Next, you need to draft the actual press release. A few important things to keep in mind, in doing so, is to make sure your article is in third-person by removing any “I”, “we”, “our”, etc. Also, you’ll want to remove any fluff or “sales talk” and keep to the news story itself. If you can, don’t include the name of your website or URL in the headline or lead paragraph. Present the story first and provide detailed information later, after a reader is curious. The last thing you want to do is sound spammy!

Also, there’s a certain structure that you should follow when writing your press release. That’s why it’s helpful to imagine a news anchor reading your story. Start with your headline. It should be punchy and include a hook or angle to catch the attention of your intended audience. Next, write an intro paragraph that summarizes your story so a reader or journalist can quickly scan if they want to read your entire article. Then, write the main body of your story. Take the time to make it interesting and expand upon your introduction. It’s also a good idea to include images, illustrations, or relevant quotes. Next, include a summary that wraps up your press release but also relates your story to the reader, so they want to take action. Lastly, include a link to your website for people to find out more.

Submitting Your Press Release

Once you’ve written an interesting press release, you still have to submit it to different news outlets. Instead of doing this individually, however, you’ll want to submit your story to a press release site. They, in turn, will present your story and submit it to various websites and news outlets on your behalf. Why not do it yourself? Premium press release sites will do a much better job than you. While it may cost more than doing it yourself, attempting to go the “free” route can be much more of a hassle. While we haven’t used all the services out there, there are probably quite a few good ones aside from the ones mentioned below.

For premium press release sites, we’ve used PR Distribution (formerly Press Release Jet) and 1888 Press Release for our most recent projects. With Press Release Jet, they’ll submit your PR to the search engines, submit to Google News and Bing News, and give you 25+ guaranteed placements for $99. The submission process is simple but there isn’t any followup. You won’t get a login or a report of what was actually done. 1888 Press Release, on the other hand, is a free submission service that allows you to disable any advertisements and get more exposure for an additional $15. While their interface is a little clunky, there are a lot of upsells that make it a great value.

Other premium PR sites you can look at include:

For free releases, we’ve also used OpenPR.com, PRLog.org, and NewsWireToday. While there are additional hoops you’ll have to jump through, they do offer a lot of great services that are free. Also, 1888 Press Release offers free submissions as well.

Other free press release options to look into include:

Keep in mind that you don’t want to overlap your press release submissions. If journalists are getting your story from multiple sources, they’ll either get annoyed or ignore the extra ones. That’s why we suggest using a paid service to get you the most exposure, then use the free services for inclusion within their smaller sphere of influence. If you do this, however, you’ll want to write a different press release version so that search engines like Google won’t disregard your stories due to duplicate content.

In summary, press releases can be a great strategy to help increase traffic to your website as long as you write well and have a newsworthy story to share.

FURTHER READING

Below are some additional articles worth reading: