Friday, June 5, 2009

Best Practices For Writing an Online Press Release

Author: Andy Johnson

Press releases have been in existence for over 100 years now and it's amazing to think about the revolutionary changes in communication that have taken place over that time. In the Western economies the use of telephones is ubiquitous, while faxes and emails play a daily role in the life of the average business.

Some press releases are still printed off, placed in envelopes and then put into mail boxes to be hand devilered by the postman - but not many that's for sure. Most are either faxed or emailed through. Increasingly, publicists are also placing news releases onto specialist websites that then distribute them via their own channels including even the microblogging platform Twitter.

There are still many full-time employed journalists writing for regional and national newspapers as well as trade and niche journals, but their numbers are dwindling year-on-year. The era of "dead trees" journalism will never end - there will always be printed publications; but at the moment it is certainly taking a battering from the new media on the World Wide Web.

Blogging, also called citizen journalism, has become a phenomenal success and is widely undertaken by thousands if not millions of writers. Clearly, it would be a huge boon for your business or website if you can effectively reach this mass of online writers as they don't just reflect public opinion, but help shape it to.

There are a number of free press release sites in existence and to get the best out of submitting an item to these services it is best to take note of some guidelines.

The first part of any press release is, of course, the title. Here you need to make sure it is factual and to the point and preferably add your keyword(s) if you can. For those not familiar with keywords, these are what you expect people to use in search engines. For instance, if you have a shoe shop website you'll be aware that "shoe shop uk" and "shoe shop com" are common terms used by the public to find information.

The actual style of the title must be dull and factual - "Google prefers this boring headline on Tuesday November 29, 2009". Don't create abstract headlines because you think it will stand out from the crowd. It won't. People are looking for facts. Try these formats:

[Product] will be launched by [company name] on [date]

On [date] [company name] will launch the new [product] to [short description of product in a few words]

The headline is the most important part of an online press release because that is often all the reader will see as they scan down a page. If you can suck a reader into your item just through the headline alone then you have jumped the first hurdle.

The second most important part of an online press release is the summary. Usually no more than 300 characters this should repeat the information as laid out in the title but padded out with more detail.

After the title the summary is the next item that the reader will see and often as part of a long list of other press release titles and summaries all vying for attention. The main body of text itself shouldn't be no more than three or four paragraphs simply because 79 percent of internet users scan rather than read the content on a page. So the less text the better. Keep all information to the minimum.

Finally, always add contact information which mainly means a contact name, email, website and phone number but also a postal address too. People tend to fell more comfortable with an actual postal address instead of just email details.

So hopefully this will give you a starting point to think about how to layout a press release for the free press release distribution sites on the World Wide Web.

You may not necessary write the perfect press release the first time at trying if you are new to the publicity game, but once you've written a few you'll find that the correct formula is straight forward and you'll be sending them here, there and everywhere for every event and news story.

About the Author:

Andy Johnson is an editor at Free Press Release 001.

Article Source: - Best Practices For Writing an Online Press Release

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