You have a new widget or maybe you are launching a new software on your website and now you want to tell the world. Sitting in front of your computer and already late for an appointment, you are trying to come up with unique and eloquent copy that doesn’t include the words ‘luminous,’ ‘ground-breaking,’ or ‘elegant.’
Unfortunately, I can’t help you with that. The online press release is still going to have to include some gripping and persuasive copy to attract visitors to your site or blog. In fact, the online press release relies even more heavily on good language, since it doesn’t include big colored fonts, cover art or creatively inserted quotes from reputable sources.
What I can help you with is how to address the particular requirements of the online press release. Though the press release sent to online media by email or the popular free press release distribution services serves essentially the same purpose as the print press release mailed or faxed to print media, it does require some special treatment to be successful. I am a big fan of sending press releases by email instead of using free distribution services. Yes, these services are going to get you a lot of exposure but using email distribution you can cherry pick the websites that you want to target, bringing relevant traffic to your website. Here are a few tips to make writing and sending your email news release go a little more smoothly…and get a great response for your site!
Writing the Release by Email
The two most important things in an email news release are the address of the sender and the subject line of the email. This is because these are the only two pieces of information most people see in their email in-box. Make your subject line short (so that you can see the whole thing on a small computer screen) and to-the-point so it doesn’t get instantly deleted as ‘spam.’ I favor a simple subject line that states why I’m writing, such as “Review Copy of my website’s new product” for example.
Your sender name is changeable in the options part of your email program and should state clearly who you are. Once it’s set, you should use it consistently. For example, if you are from an established website, use the website name for credibility, or if you are well known yourself, use your full name. The online media will get to know you, and if you do send them information that is a fit for their audience or community, they will start to anticipate your emails with pleasure.
Your news release for email will generally be better received if it is short. Media people will often not scroll down more than once on an email, and if you haven’t gotten your message across in two screens, then you lose.
Four paragraphs are usually adequate:
one: explain clearly why you are writing
two: establish the credibility of your service(s) mentioning for example past experience
three: outline [briefly!] how your service will help the recipient’s readers (online and offline media)
four: ask for what you want (i.e. a review).
For immediate release?
Instruct your recipient when you want the news to be published. Most professionals include the headline on the header or the footer “For Immediate Release” meaning that the story should be published immediately. Be sure to include your contact details if the journalist or webmaster is looking for further information.
Sending Your Press Release
When you are ready to send your press release, there are a few details that can make or break your presentation. The first is your recipient list. When you send an email to one person, it is received with one address in the “To” field. If you put your entire media list in the “To” field, the recipient will receive an email that includes a full page of the email addresses of everyone else you are sending it to.
To avoid this, you can use several features of your email program. Your program probably has something called a ‘group’ or a ‘distribution list’ which allows you to put all the email addresses you’re using under one heading. This way, only the name of the group is in the “To” field. An alternative is to send the press release with yourself in the “To” field, and everyone else in the “BCC” (Blind Carbon Copy) field.
If you have sent out an email consisting of two pages of email addresses in the “To” field before your message, don’t fret too much (the first time, anyway).
Everyone does it once. I opened an email recently from a major airline with about 200 email addresses visible. Funny, I never did read the email buried three or four screens in.
Never, never attach your press release as a document of any kind. This is one of the fastest ways to get your email deleted straight from the inbox. Attachments take more time to open and are notorious carriers of computer viruses. Cut and paste. Don’t attach.
Test. Never skip the test. Write the press release, paste it into your e-mail, then send it to yourself. Only yourself. When you open it in your own email program you may be surprised at what you missed – maybe you wrote a signature and embedded your signature as well, maybe you forgot the signature all together, or you forgot to take out the line breaks and the email looks all jagged and is hard to read. It’s a very simple, very brief safety precaution, and it’s saved me a few times from making embarrassing errors.
Now you’re ready to hit that SEND button and start measuring the success of your campaign, but that a completely different story.
This is a guest post by Sergio da Silva, a professional SEO in London.