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Harnessing The Magic Of Press Releases For Your Site

Updated on July 19, 2008

The single most important word to consider when you are thinking of composing a press release for the purpose of gaining linkage and increased traffic for your site is the word "News." There is nothing that will turn off an editor and get your otherwise promising press release deleted than shameless promotion. It is understood that at the base of almost every press release there is a promotional motivation, but the press release is considered by the editors to be a carrier or an announcement that will make "News," not just a way to do you a favor.

The best press releases capture attention in order to provoke interest which will lead to action. First you must capture your reader and/or editor's attention by a very striking headline. Many times the editors won't read past the headline, so you only have a few words to be able to capture their attention.

You have to learn to write in sound bites. When you watch a newscast, note how the anchor deals with each issue in a couple of sentences. News writing is the art of condensation, and in order to be an effective writer of press releases you have to write very tightly indeed. Get to the point quickly and make sure that the first paragraph is not only short and catchy, but sums up the essence of what you're communicating. Always put your full contact information at the bottom. Some journalists will shy away from replying if all they see is an email address. They want to know that you have an address and a phone as that confirms that you exist.

There are countless services on the web which provide the service of facilitating the creation, drafting, composing and distribution of a press release and have thus made it easy for people to engage in this activity that might have feared it due to lack of expertise. These services do have some value for the avid link builder since most of them have directories where they place your press release information complete with link back to your site and the sites that syndicate that information will list your link as well. This is not going to result in an enormous avalanche of top-quality links, but it will provide some element of value.

If you live in a small town then it's quite likely that your local newspaper or community affairs website will be happy to run your item as there is generally a dearth of local news in very small communities. If you live in Manhattan and are trying to get attention for almost anything at all, you will find it is a very daunting process indeed.

Journalists at major media are usually so barraged by press releases that most of them go directly into the delete pile without even being read. The neophyte press release writer is under the illusion that if they send their press release to the top 100 media in the world, that will result in coverage in all of them. That might be true if you've just published irrevocable clinical proof that you can cure cancer or AIDS, but if you are announcing anything at all that is less momentous than those examples, you'll be lucky to get a 1% response rate. That 1% response rate can provide some very valuable coverage if you happen to encounter an editor or writer who is sympathetic to the subject matter you're pitching them and thus can translate into some traffic and linkage benefits.


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