When a tech company has an exciting announcement to share, many turn to press releases without a second thought.
After all, press releases are an effective way to share news, reach a wide variety of audiences and increase SEO. But the reality is, the impact of a press release can vary widely based on how engaging and newsworthy the announcement is.
At Ketner Group, it’s an understatement to say we draft a lot of press releases. And we’ve learned a thing or two (or three) about making this promotional tool as effective as possible.
Let’s discuss three best practices for developing press releases that earn a reader’s attention and drive technology company demand.
1. Don’t get ahead of yourself with your news
Before you start drafting a press release, take a step back and ensure that the announcement is newsworthy and engaging to the target audience. Issuing a press release over the wire can be expensive, so this channel should be used sparingly.
In fact, we don’t always recommend that a press release is distributed over the wire. If you’re announcing a recent award win that was sponsored by a publication, for example, this release should be distributed via web only, as other media outlets likely won’t cover it.
At Ketner Group, we determine whether to draft a press release (and identify what details to include if we do) by first creating a questionnaire. This document encourages our clients to consider a few key criterion, including:
- What do you want this press release to accomplish? The answer might be to earn media coverage, increase SEO or establish new leads.
- Who is your target audience for this release? For our technology clients, this can be retailers generally, or more specifically it could be chief technology officers at large specialty retailers.
- Are there any data points that we can use to substantiate the claims or relevancy? This can include company research, customer success metrics and more.
- Do you have external validation? We always recommend referencing relevant analyst reports or quoting an outside source like a customer or a partner.
After this exercise, sometimes we conclude that there isn’t enough news for a press release. For example, if a technology provider is ready to announce a new solution, but they don’t have a customer or success metrics to point to, the release may not resonate with retail technology media.
If that’s the case, that’s ok! It doesn’t mean the news isn’t exciting. It just means that the best channel for sharing the news might be a pitch or a company blog instead of a press release.
Asking tough questions early in the process saves our clients time and money while ensuring the news is told effectively.
2. Every section of the press release matters
Press releases are formulaic in nature. They always contain a headline, a subhead, a dateline, a quote, a boilerplate and contact information. But despite this, well-written and thoughtful press releases can still stand out from the noise.
First, the headline must intrigue the viewer to continue reading. The headline should preview the most exciting part of the news. More details should be featured in the subheading to prove the validity of the headline.
Next, the body of the release should be engaging and tell a full story. We’ve found that a company quote is a great way to highlight the most important parts of the story, while using the tone of the appropriate subject matter expert. The quote should be substantive. The best releases avoid using superfluous phrases like “we’re excited to announce XYZ,” opting instead to focus on the key messaging.
Finally, the release must end with a compelling call to action. Viewers who read through the press release are likely invested in the story you’re telling, meaning they may want to continue learning more or asking questions. Directing these viewers towards a clear next step can establish important connections for a business.
3. Word choice is everything in a press release
The messaging in a press release must be precise and impactful. Writers must get to the point quickly while using the right language to showcase how unique this story is and why it matters.
When it comes to a press release detailing a new product announcement, make sure to mirror the product language found on the website and sales sheets. This ensures that brand identity remains cohesive across touch points.
What’s more, releases are great for search engine optimization. This means that every release should incorporate key words that the business wants to associate with its brand.
Press releases should also avoid jargon, making sure everyone within the target audience can understand the news.
So, you want to distribute a press release? Let’s talk.
The press release is a tried-and-true promotional tool for a reason, but these best practices can enhance the impact.
Are you looking to take your announcements to the next level? At Ketner Group, we take pride in the entire process from the initial release draft to the final distribution. After that, we support our clients as they create a well-rounded strategic communications program that attracts attention from key stakeholders through a variety of channels.
We’d love to work with you to make the most of every press release. Contact us today to learn more.