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Thinking about the future and the life of your press release online

[1]By Despina Maris, Associate Editor, Chicago

It’s really important to think about how your press release will appear months and years after its distribution. You want to continue to appear professional to your clients when your news is no longer fresh, but also to other companies who read the old releases that live forever on the web. Here are some topics to think about when writing your press release:

1. Add some flavor. Include a company logo, image, or video that will really make the release alive and engaging to the future audience.

2. Avoid passive verbs like “am, is, was, were, be, being, been.” Using action verbs like “made” “created” and “worked to” instead makes the company appear engaged in the news presented. Engaged equals interested and keeps you looking fresh.

3. Include general contact information, like your company’s primary phone number and website. Using only a specific contact and her direct number isn’t a good idea because that can change over time (even a couple months down the road). You want to include a specific contact, but underneath that, always place some general contact information.

4. Keep away from referencing topical information. For example, using too much kitsch or putting out a press release tied to a current event (Hurricane Sandy, the Super Bowl) if your company doesn’t do or sell something directly relevant to those things.

5. Keep headlines short and sweet. For instance “ABC Company Is Excited to Announce the Results of Its 5th Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest in Borealis County, MD and Reveals the Top Three Runners Up” to “ABC Company Is Excited to Announce the Results of Its Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest.” That helps future audiences obtain information speedily when they are researching your company’s history.

6. Proofread your copy. Grammatical or spelling errors make a poor impression, both in the present and future. The presentation of your press release is vital, and something you have total control over. Use this to your advantage by checking your work before submitting a release. A well-written and error-free release makes your organization look creditable now and always. Use spell check, but also have a colleague look over the press release to double-check your work.

7. Stay away from puffing up a product’s virtues without explaining the benefit of the product and its many uses. Focus on how it helps solve problems in order to show how your company was innovative at the time.

8. Use SEO optimization. The tool enables embedded links within a press release to go live and link to various parts of your website pertaining to the topic that’s highlighted. It’s a great way to get the audience to go to your site and find out what is new with your company.

9. Use simple language. Your future audience might not know everything your company can do or may be completely ignorant of your industry. Keep your writing clear and steer away from confusing terminology. The release should be user-friendly.

10. Your press release should always include the company name in the headline and the boilerplate or the “about us” section for your company. You’ll make your company feel genuine even years from now because you have a standard “look.” By including the company name in the headline, your release will be better attributed and it will make it more likely to come up in generic searches of the company name. Not including a boilerplate could make your press release seem like an advertisement. You want your audience to know who put the release out, and what the company is all about.

It’s to your company’s benefit that the news remains relevant, even if a press release went out months ago.  It’s also a great way for clients to see what your company has done historically and how it has grown over time. Use these tips when writing your press release and the news will pertinent even years down the line.

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