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The Feature Release: A Great Content Marketing Tool

The Feature Release: A Great Content Marketing Tool

We often only think of feature releases as filler news for harried editors on tight deadlines. While this is still true, feature releases have become a boon for content marketers. That’s because today’s feature stories appear on media websites and search engines that reach millions of people online – plus, they now get shared on social channels.

Not only can you reach new audiences and expand brand visibility, but with a little planning you can also drive people to your website where you’re able to garner new business leads and even generate revenue.

10 Tips for Writing a Feature Release

Feature releases offer you opportunity for straight pickup by media outlets worldwide. The following tips will help you adapt your message into a feature release.

  1. Think of a feature release as a timeless story that could have been written by a journalist.
    Unlike a traditional news release, a feature release is written with a human interest and lifestyle orientation that coincides with the “calendar of life.” Feature releases align with holidays and special events such as Mother’s Day and tax season and are for journalists to use verbatim. Feature stories, which often appear alongside holiday calendars and in special sections, are evergreen and typically have long shelf lives. One thing they are not is breaking, front-page news.
  2. Explore creative ways and angles to present your message.
    Take an out-of-the-box look at what your business does and how it can lend itself to a consumer-directed message. Think of a holiday or seasonal theme. Make your message universal by adding statistics and providing useful information with mass appeal that can help people navigate their daily lives – in other words, give your story “legs.”
  3. Use a captivating headline and attention-grabbing first paragraph.
    The feature release headline and lead must immediately grab a reader’s (and journalist’s) attention. Keep your headline to fewer than 20 words and your lead to no more than two to three sentences.
  4. Sum up detailed benefits in the second paragraph.
    This is the place to give details that support your lead, but keep your message simple and informative. Cite a source – this is important for establishing credibility and giving editors someone to contact for information. Present key statistics. Give your readers a URL to a supportive website.
  5. Authenticate and enhance your message in the third paragraph.
    Have your expert source or other engaging spokesperson who is knowledgeable on the subject provide an interesting quote or two that adds passion and opinion. This person also should be available for interviews.
  6. Elaborate on details in the fourth paragraph
    Here is where you can elaborate on what you’ve already summarized. Use bullets – they help editors and readers quickly grasp your story and are easy to edit. This is also the place to add biographical information on your source, and maybe even add another quote.
  7. Write your release so it can easily be cut in length without losing its essence.
    Make sure to keep your word count to 400. This is vital to getting your release published, since most newspapers and magazines have limited space for feature stories and news.
  8. Take full advantage of multimedia and search engine optimization.
    Bring your story to life, illustrate your content, and gain on-line visibility. Be sure to add photos with captions because they are favorites with journalists. Not only do they draw attention but they can easily be dropped into news holes. For broadcast and on-line stories, video and audio clips are unbeatable for bringing content to life. Remember to add hyperlinks in your release that link to supportive documents and websites, and incorporate relevant keywords.
  9. Place prices and phone numbers in parentheses at the ends of paragraphs.
    Editors and consumers want to know how to contact you and how much your product or service costs, if applicable. Because of this, you may include phone numbers and pricing in parentheses at the ends of paragraphs. That way, editors can easily eliminate that information if they feel it detracts from the story or limits its use. You may also place prices or price ranges in the last paragraph where editors have the option of cutting them.
  10. Write your feature release as a ready-to-print story – no boilerplate needed!
    Feature releases are not the place for corporate boilerplates and identity statements. Feature editors generally don’t read them and hardly ever use them because feature stories are not about business events or forward-looking content that requires disclaimers or company background information.

Why Choose a Features Newsline for Your Feature Release?

Distributing your feature release through a distinct features newsline means that your release stands apart by its subject matter and is not mixed in with other news distribution circuits. In addition, Marketwired’s Features Newsline includes journalists at trade publications who focus on features topics. These trades and/or journalists fall outside the industry trades you select during your news release submission process.

Check out our 2015 Features Calendars now and find just the right feature topic for your next feature release:

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