How to improve effectiveness of press releases

By Ashley Schroeder, OU Editor
Last month, I participated in the live broadcast of a webinar called “The Science of Press Releases.” You can view the 60-minute recording for free by signing up here.

This webinar with data provided by PR Newswire will teach you how to engineer effective press releases that help your company, product and services to get found. Learn the scientific lessons stemming from millions of press releases’ headlines, body copies and links.

Below are a few takeaway points I gathered from the presenters, HubSpot’s social media scientist, Dan Zarrella, and PR Newswire’s vice president of social media, Sarah Skerik.
You might have different metrics for determining the success of a press release, but “increasing engagement” is a fairly popular goal. You want the media to take action with a press release they read, right?

  • Publish press releases on the weekends and beginning/end of week. Why? PR Newswire’s data shows a larger volumn of press release distribution mid-week. Therefore, increase the chance of having your press release read by publishing it on a day when fewer press releases are distributed. Try Sunday, Monday or Thursday.
  • Try sending out press releases early in the morning. As in, 12-1 a.m. Why? You’re more likely to capture the attention of people who write “real time” for the Web. Plus, you could catch the attention of people in other time zones, too.
    • Syndicated posts (publishing your press release on their site) most often occur on Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday.
    • But on that note, no specific hour of distribution improves the number of times someone will post your press release on their blog or website.
  • Headline length: No shorter than 30 characters. 120-130 characters is optimal. Why? Too short = not enough info. Too long = Boring, not read completely. 120-130 is the perfect amount for someone who wants to retweet your press release.
  • Photos increase views. What kind of photos? Even “easy” images like logos or head shots of people mentioned will help. Videos can help increase views, too. But photos are more effective.
  • Thinking of including a video? Save that press release for the weekend. Many employers would frown upon an employee watching a YouTube clip at work. Therefore, a moonlighting blogger would be more apt to view that video if it was sent to him on the weekend.

Do you write and/or distribute press releases for yourself or on behalf of someone else? Then this engaging, informative webinar is well worth your time. ◊

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