How to Write an Online Press Release

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Web Marketing Today. Practical Ecommerce acquired Web Marketing Today in 2012. In 2016, we merged the two sites, leaving Practical Ecommerce as the successor.

Today’s web-driven world makes it possible for companies large and small to create news simply by writing and publishing their own newsworthy content. The way to get started is by writing and sharing powerful press releases online. Thanks to the power of today’s social web, the elitism of public relations is gone. Nowadays, many organizations do their own PR. This article will explain how to write online press releases that build credibility, visibility and salability.

Press releases have a format that helps keep news pithy and powerful. Thanks to search engines, press releases are not just read by the media. Current and prospective customers, who want to be educated and empowered, also read them. Think of a press release as a way to spoon-feed news that is easily consumed. Here are the necessary components to writing an effective online press release.

Pick a Topic

Picking a topic may sound like a no-brainer. But this is the point where many businesses get stumped. They don’t realize how much of their day-to-day work is newsworthy. Understand what news really means. Merriam-Webster defines news as “something having a specified influence or effect” and “matter that is newsworthy.”

Think of news as information that is educational, helpful, or relevant to your target market. Online press release topics could include company news, new product releases, educational thought leadership about a current event — educating beyond what the media is sharing, while linking your brand to news that is being discussed and shared.  Press releases  communicate stories that help people understand your brand better.

For example, a nonprofit organization called Explore Ecology — which my company supports — specializes in environmental education and art discovery. An event last year called “One Night Stand” was such a success that it’s now held annually. Explore Ecology wanted a release that educated local journalists, the media at large, and potential attendees. The topic is event-focused to educate and build awareness.

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