News Release Traffic Formula – Part 5: Content
Learn how to use news and press releases effectively to promote and grow your business. Part 5 of 8.
This is Part 5 of our free News Release Traffic Formula video course.
In this lesson, you will learn how to structure your news release for maximum results.
Watch the video lesson below or refer to the video transcript:
Hello, and welcome to module 4 of the News Release Traffic Formula course.
In this module, I am going to show you how to structure your news releases for maximum traffic and results.
So, let’s talk about how to structure your news releases.
In Module 3, we talked about the 80-20 rule, and how you should focus 80% of your time and efforts on your news release headline.
The other 20% of your focus should be on the content of your news release.
Creating the body of your news release is not difficult if you apply the formula that I am going to show you.
Most press or news releases follow this structure, which consists of 5 basic elements.
- The headline, which we’ve already covered in Module 3.
- A summary of your news release.
- Media content, such as an image, your logo, or a video.
- The body of your content, and
- Your company details.
Each of these sections is important and contributes to the overall success of your news release campaign, so let’s go through each of these sections in more detail.
First, is your headline.
The purpose of your headline is to attract readers and make them want to read more of your information.
As we saw in the previous training module, your news release headline is the one element that will make the biggest difference in your results.
As we also talked about, you will get far better results if you apply the KASH formula to your headline than using a typical headline format.
In addition to the KASH formula principles we talked about in Module 3, there are rules you have to follow to get your news release approved for submission, and we’ll cover these in more detail in the next lesson.
For example, most news release distribution platforms include guidelines that need to be followed, like your headline not being too long, and having an active verb and subject.
Although the criteria can change slightly depending on which service you use to distribute your news release, typically you need to make sure that your headline stays under 80 characters, and a maximum of 15 words.
Your headline should also reflect the content of your press or news release, and be newsworthy, important, and recent enough to be announced.
Don’t use special characters and symbols in your headline, such as a trademark or copyright symbol.
Also, many services will ask you to create 2 headlines. 1 headline for your news release, and 1 headline for sites that post releases using a blog format.
Here are some examples of headlines I’ve used with my clients.
You can see that all these headlines use the KASH method. They also comply with maximum character guidelines and word limits.
I’ve also added an example of a News Release and blog headlines. You can see that the blog headline version is slightly longer. This way, we can target even more variations of keywords using the same news release.
Once you understand how the KASH formula works, you can combine KASH and traditional headline formats if you like.
For example, here is a list of active verbs commonly used in press releases.
- Releases or Released.
- Reveals or Revealed.
- Launches, and Launched.
- Announces, and Announced.
- Donates, Donated.
- Warns, Warned.
- Finds, Found.
You can use these verbs with basic headline formulas like Company XYZ Releases Free Report On How To Build Equity In Your Home, or whatever the topic of your report is.
Website ABC Launched New XYZ App To Help Hearing Impaired Children.
Some more examples of other headline formats you can use include XYZ Clinic Reveals New Case Study On Migraines In Stay-At-Home Parents.
Bedlam Furniture Store Donates $50 From Every Sale Made To Starlight Foundation.
One headline formula that can be very powerful to help boost local search rankings is to use the Location| Profession | Active Verb | News Angle format.
This creates headlines like Austin Children’s Dentist Says “Tooth Decay Rates Are An Embarrassment For Texas”.
So, in this case, “Austin” is the location, “Children’s Dentist” is the profession, “Says” is the active verb, and then we have the quote with our news angle… “Tooth Decay Rates Are An Embarrassment For Texas”.
The other headline in this example uses the same format,
“Sunnyvale Roofing Expert Warns Home Owners Of Serious Maintenance Neglect Risks”.
These headlines follow proven formulas, but they also include many relevant terms that will help the news release rank for multiple keywords in search engines, while serving its purpose, which is to attract readers and make them want to read more of your information.
The next element of your content formula is your news release summary.
The purpose of the summary is to let readers know what information is included in your news release, as most people will only spend enough time scanning your headline and summary, before deciding whether to keep reading or move on.
Your summary should clearly describe the content of your news release.
It should be one to two sentences long, and you will need to create two summaries: 1 x news release summary and 1 x blog summary.
Your news release summary should contain no more than 45 words, but your blog summary can be a little bit longer.
And don’t use the first paragraph of your news release as your summary.
I’ve included here two summary versions used in a news release that I created for a client, so you can see what these look like, and how they are structured differently, to conform with the guidelines listed here.
The third element of your news release is Media.
You can attach an image to your news release, as long as the file size doesn’t exceed the specified limit, which in this case is 1MB. Images must also be uploaded in an approved format, typically jpeg, png, or gif.
You can also normally add a video or video URL to your news release.
Now, there are ways to maximize your results when using media in your news releases.
For example, most platforms will let you add an image to your news release, such as your company logo.
Depending on what you are trying to achieve, however, a better use of your image real estate is to combine your logo with a call to action.
With Mirren Investment Properties, for example, we’ve added a call to action below the logo inviting readers to call the number shown in the image for a FREE consultation.
We did the same thing for the Pizza restaurant. Call Sergio’s number for Newtown’s best wood-fired home-delivered pizza!
And WPCompendium.org lets readers know that the site provides FREE WordPress tutorials for non-techies.
So … what we’re doing here, is kind of like embedding an advertisement with the company logo, but without making it blatant.
All the images shown here were approved and went out with news releases, so they all conform with the content guidelines.
When sending out news releases to promote the launch of a new guide or report, we found that adding an image of the report works really well, so these types of images can also be used with press releases.
The aim here then is to further maximize any opportunities you have to promote your business by using media in your news release to actively help drive more traffic and generate more leads.
In other words, don’t just add your logo. Add your logo with a call to action.
The 4th element of your news release is the body of the content itself.
This is where you get to say whatever you have to say, about whatever you are promoting or announcing.
General Guidelines for the body of your content are normally provided by the distribution platform and include things like…
Your content should have a legitimate news angle. It should announce something new, and or timely, and the tone of your content should be formal and factual, not casual or entertaining like a blog post.
Also, don’t make your news release read like an advertisement or a sales letter. This is very important if you want your news release to be approved.
Don’t announce discounts, bonuses, price cuts, sales, coupon codes, products, or service promotions, or include advertorials.
Another important guideline is that your content should have an impartial tone. Don’t include opinions, questions, or duplicated content.
There are also a few guidelines for the content itself that you have to comply with.
For example, news releases must be at least 300 words long. The ideal content length is 300 to 400 words.
You should include the city from where the release originates, which is usually the location of your company headquarters or main store, or principal place of business.
One of the most important guidelines for getting your content approved, is to use only 3rd person language.
In other words, don’t use words like “I”, or “we”, as this will make your release start to look more like an advertisement or opinion piece.
In a moment, I’ll show you the only allowed exception where you can use words like “I”, or “we”.
Another thing to keep in mind is that news releases should not contain sexually explicit material, illegal material, or profane language.
So, don’t use news releases to promote things that will get your press release rejected.
In addition to what you can and can’t promote, your content also has to follow specific formatting guidelines.
For example, you need to make sure there are no grammatical or spelling errors.
Use uppercase and lowercase lettering appropriately.
Make sure that each paragraph is spaced out with a line, and that your news release is formatted properly. For example, don’t use unnecessary double spacing.
With hyperlinks, make sure that links are formatted correctly, and limit the use of links in your content to 1 link for every 200 words or so.
Something that’s also very important, is to add a call to action at the end of your news release. Ask readers to contact you, or book an appointment, or visit your site to download a guide or special report, and so on.
Remember that no call to action leads to no results!
You should also include available contact information where possible, but don’t place email addresses within the body of your news release. We’ll discuss this in more detail in a moment.
The typical structure for the body content of a news release includes things like a minimum of 300 words and a maximum of 800 to 1,000 words. The ideal length is around 300-400 words.
This would consist of an initial paragraph, 3-5 main points, 1-2 links, 1-2 quotes, and a call to action.
Traditionally, a news release is written as an “inverted pyramid,” where the most important information goes at the top, and the less important information goes at the bottom.
The first paragraph of your news release, therefore, should contain your most important information.
Your headline should grab your reader’s attention, your summary should make them want to learn more, and your first paragraph should make them want to read your news release all the way through to the end.
An easy formula for writing the body of your content is to use the 5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where, and Why.
So, for example, when creating your news release, ask the following questions:
- Who is this news release about?
- What is the news release about?
- When is the event or promotion happening?
- Where is the event or promotion happening? And…
- Why is the person or business doing this?
Here is an example of the body content of a news release that conforms with the guidelines and specifications, so you can see how it’s structured.
Here, you have the 1st paragraph containing your most important information, then a link to the website where readers can go to for more information, followed by a few paragraphs with the main points of the release, and a quote from the client.
The content then ends with a call to action and links to more information.
This is just over three hundred and fifty words long, and it’s all you need to create an effective news release.
Another important point to keep in mind about the body of your news release is the power of using quotes in your content.
A quote kind of lets you sell or promote your business in your news release without breaching guidelines that would see your news release get rejected for being a blatant sales or promotion piece.
Quotes also let you use first-person pronouns like “I”, “we”, “our”, etc., which you can’t use anywhere else.
A good habit to form then is to think about what you really want to say to your target audience, then build a number of quotes based around this, and save these in a file.
You can then use these quotes in future news releases, and add them to pages on your website as part of your content marketing strategy.
Here are some examples of quotes that were published in our press releases. You can see that we have used these quotes to promote the client’s business while complying with all the guidelines for submission and approval.
The last element of your news release content is your company and contact details.
This section should contain information like the name of the person to contact or interview, your email address, organization or business name, your address, phone number, and your website URL.
Now, while your company and contact details are important information in and of themselves, they also play an important role in our news release strategy, as they can help to increase search engine rankings, and drive more traffic and leads to your business via the Google local maps section.
Let me show you what I mean.
Here’s how your company and contact details can be used in your news releases as part of an effective SEO strategy.
First, you need to set up a local business page in Google.
Next, and this is very important, you should use the same contact information listed on your local business page in every news release that you distribute.
Publishing news releases on a regular basis using the same contact info gets you more citations, and more citations lead to better local search rankings.
So, what are citations?
A citation is when your company is mentioned, cited, or referenced on other websites, online directories, review sites, etc.
Citations provide Google with credible information about your business. Google uses citations to verify that your business actually exists, that it’s a legitimate business, and that your business information is accurate.
Citations from multiple sources boost your rankings in local search results and Local Map Listings.
So, make sure that you have a Google Local Business Page set up, and use the same contact details in your news releases.
The important elements of a citation are your Company name or branded trading name,
Your telephone number including country and local area code, and the physical address of your business.
So, in summary, there are 5 main news release content elements.
Number One, is your headline. Create a headline using the KASH formula to attract readers and maximize your search rankings.
Number Two, is your summary. Use the summary to attract your reader’s interest and make them want to read your news release.
Number Three, is media. Don’t just display your logo. Try to incorporate some form of Call To Action, like getting people to call you to make a booking or appointment.
Number Four, is the body of your content. Use this section to funnel more traffic and leads with newsworthy content, links, quotes, and a call to action.
And Number Five, are your company details and contact information. Keep the information in this section consistent with every news release you send out, to increase citations and your rankings on Google Maps.
This is the end of this lesson.
In the next module, we’ll look at the Approval Formula, where I’ll show you how to get your news release approved, and distributed to hundreds of traffic-generating sites!
Thank you for watching this video, and I’ll see you in the next lesson.
Press Release Distribution Services
- EIN Presswire– Use this press release distribution service to reach a global audience through a vast network of media contacts and partnerships.
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- 24-7 Press Release – A reliable and cost-effective press release distribution service that offers affordable pricing options for businesses of all sizes.
Submit more effective press and news releases using the downloadable resources below (no registration required):
See the following lessons and tutorials for more information about the topics covered in this video lesson: