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How To Write a News Release (Here’s a Handy Form). And Yes, News Releases Still Matter

Whenever I talk about doing traditional press releases, I generally get a blank stare or a look of disbelief.   Typical Responses I get to the notion of press releases and heaven forbid, using a Wire Service like BusinessWire or PR Newswire. "Who reads news releases?" "No one is going to just pick up a news release." "Why can't we just announce what we have to say on the social web and count on others to spread the word?" "Our fans on Twitter will Tweet this thing up." "OMG- news releases are so…. Web 1.0" Here's my belief:  when appropriate, news releases matter, have impact and actually work.  They are not a substitute for the social web, they are part of your overall communications strategy. If you are publicly traded, then it's a no-brainer that you have to have traditional news releases for disclosure and compliance issues.  And if you are not, I still believe that select, strategic news merits the time and minor expense of a news news release. Here's why: 1.  Writing a news release is more formal and makes you really think through what you are saying and how you want to reflect the written word about your company. 2.  Investors, partners, suppliers, and your other publics will still mosey on into your press room to see what's news, how you report your news, and the wording and editorial strategy you take.   3.  The written word is very much a part of your overall brand experience.  How you write, the tone and choice of words is very much akin to the graphical image you project,...

A Conversation With BusinessWire’s VP of New Media, Monika Maeckle

I am continuing with my Conversations interviews with leading players in my own backyard where I live in San Antonio. Here is BusinessWire's VP of New Media, Monika Maekle, about the use of wire services, how to leverage the power of BusinessWire and a quick tour of the BusinessWire offices in San...

How To Save Money on PR During A Downturn – Revisit your Wire Service Strategy and Expenses

Just because you may need to reduce costs, it does not mean that you have to disappear from the radar. Here's some tips:  1.  When using a wire service like PR Newswire or BusinessWire, don't buy the national circuit. Buy a local circuit.  In fact, buy the least expensive local circuit you can buy. It will save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars depending on the scope and reach you are going for. 2.  Going global?  If you need to reach the UK, buy the metro London only circuit.  In general, try to buy capital cities only.  You'll get the local translation and major media outlets where they tend to be located. 3.  Is this really newsworthy?  Ask yourself if what you are about to announce is really newsworthy, or in need of compliance.  If not, reduce the number of press releases you issue, but don't kill the outreach.  If you have five releases scheduled through the end of the year, pace them out a bit more, consolidate your news and reduce the number to three.   You stay on the radar.  You are visible on the search engines.  You communicate to your publics. Yes, Wire Services Are Effective and Worth the Money I highly recommend wire services.  Even in times of budget cuts.  The main thing is that you need to get on to the search engines in ways that only the major wire services can get you...

How To “Write for Robots” – 3 Take Aways From BusinessWire SEO Webinar

Here are 3 main take-aways from a recent BusinessWire webinar on SEO I attended.  Much of it is common sense, but important and very useful principles of tying in your PR and SEO initiatives together. 1. Remember that you are writing your press release for human as well as search engine robot consumption. Keyword placement is important, but the press release still needs to make sense to the human reader. 2. When it comes to keyword selection, choosing the most popular keyword is not always best. Relevancy is the key. 3. Keyword phrases are more effective than individual keywords. Select keyword phrases that are between 2-3 words long. Remember that the average search query is 3.3 words long and this is how searchers are finding your news For other BusinessWire events and webinars, click...

BusinessWire’s Blog Says That Shorter Headlines Lead to Better Google Juice

Over at BusinessWired, the BusinessWire blog, there is a very good post advising on the principle getting better rankings with shorter headlines on your news releases. According to the post, Google alerted BusinessWire that press release headlines should not exceed 22 words. Read more about it here.  Worth...