Constructing a traditionally formatted press release for online social media is a waste of money and time – it simply doesn’t work. Unfortunately, many companies haven’t yet realized this fact and are still relying on this outdated approach to broadcast to online audiences.
This is unfortunate because they are misusing advertising dollars and missing out on the business of countless potential customers. The good news is you can learn from their mistakes and discover techniques for creating alternative press releases, which is what will be discussed here. However, before you can create alternative press releases, you must first understand why traditional ones are ineffective at reaching online users.
Traditional Press Releases
Traditional press releases were originally created by companies to send to journalists in the hopes that these ‘stories’ would be published in a local newspaper. The releases were created to look similar to news stories but were really intended to promote business purposes.
Considering press releases in this traditionally intended platform, it’s easy to see how they are so ineffective at reaching online audiences. First, by following the traditional format, you aren’t optimizing the content for search engine rankings. Second, online users are wary of content that looks like spam, which is exactly how traditional press releases appear to them. Third, if content isn’t customized for the interests of online audience members, they won’t read it given the limitless other outlets available online to obtain valuable information.
Creating Alternative Press Releases
Now that you are aware of how ineffective traditional press releases are, you can begin creating alternative releases. Here are the main principles you should follow:
- Serve the interests of your readers – Online readers want to know how the content they read can benefit them. If you don’t meet this need, readers will abandon the content before finishing the first sentence.
- Use Anecdotes – Since you no longer must stick to the ‘news story’ structure of traditional press releases, feel free to spice up the content with funny anecdotes or useful case studies. Everyone loves a good story and if you can spark the emotions of your readers, they will be more likely to read the entire release.
- Use Attractive Formatting – Again, after realizing you aren’t constrained to the boring traditional press release format, begin experimenting with unique designs. The more attractive the design, the more likely the release will be to catch the attention of audience members.
- Avoid Fluff – Online users are bombarded with countless information sources and don’t have time to read unnecessary information. After sparking their interest, provide audience members with what they need to know and then end it.
- Optimize for Search Engines – The main intent of any content you publish online should be to increase your search engine rankings. As such, learn the basics of search engine content optimization and follow them.
Although creating an alternative press release may seem a little unnatural if you come from a traditionalist background, the new process will come easier with practice. The change will be especially worthwhile when you notice the increase in online exposure from the alternative press releases.