With 31 bureaus around the world and more newsrooms than all of our competitors combined, Business Wire is proud to provide local expertise and superior service, backed by the most accurate editors in the world. In Editor’s Corner, we ask some of our best to chime in on how to get the most out of your press release, based on their years of experience in the industry.
by Business Wire Minneapolis Editor Paul J.F. Bowman
Answer Potential Questions Within Your Press Release Content
Readers should rarely need to clarify your information; well-written press releases answer nearly every question they may have. After you’ve read aloud the final draft of your release in private, ask a few colleagues to review it as well. See if they have any questions about the content. If not, you’ve written with clarity!
Company XZ is rated #1 in our field.
#1 in which field? Who rated you #1?
ZZ Magazine rated Company XZ ‘#1 Distributor of ABCC Products.’
The latter italicized sentence shows who rated Company XZ as #1 (ZZ Magazine). It also indicates in which field Company XZ is rated #1 (distribution of ABCC Products). This example illustrates a primary purpose of a press release: to offer the media enough initial and verifiable information to write about the topic.
Don’t offer a reason to leave your press release
In my experience, phrases such as “studies show” or “researchers agree” (my personal favorite: “most people agree”) often lack citation. A reference to the study or survey’s findings should always accompany these phrases; uncited claims quickly open the information’s legitimacy for questioning.
When writing an article responding to a survey or research, offer verifiable sources through hyperlinks, name/company/position of personnel interviewed, periodical name and date of issue, etc. Don’t leave your readers to trust your writing exclusively; give them a chance to investigate your source material. The sources you provide act as the first defense of your information. Ideally, the writer’s content guides the reader’s understanding of the research, much like a GPS assists a driver’s navigation.
Though many will not read your source information, simply offering your reader the chance to review it gives tremendous credence to your piece. Providing citations and footnotes focuses the reader on your source information rather than Web search results.
My estimated chances of finishing an article are around 1% once I’ve attempted to find or clarify the source information myself. In the press world, this loss of your captive audience costs money. Once you’ve let readers stray from your content, it will be very difficult to bring them back.
Hyperlink your sources
Clicking press release hyperlinks on our website opens them either in a new window or a new tab, depending on how your browser is setup. The only exception to this is the (BUSINESS WIRE) hyperlink in the dateline or our logo at the end of the release. Clicking either of those will bring you to our home page in the same tab/window.
The setting to automatically open each hyperlink in a separate window is embedded in the website coding. If your company has an online press center, ask your webmaster if they can enable your release hyperlinks to automatically open new windows/tabs.
Internet Explorer 7 users, here’s how to change your setting between opening a new tab or opening a new window:
- Open Internet Explorer 7
- On the “File,” “Edit,” etc. toolbar, click “Tools,” then “Internet Options”
- On the General tab, under the subsection named “Tabs,” click “Settings”
- The first box, “Enable Tabbed Browsing” must be checked to use tabs
- Once that box is checked, the options we’re most interested in are under “When a pop-up is encountered:”
- Pick your preferred option, “Always open pop-ups in a new window” or “Always open pop-ups in a new tab”
- Click “OK”
- Click “OK” again
- If “Enable Tabbed Browsing” was not checked before step #5, you will need to restart your browser to complete enabling of this feature
–Paul J.F. Bowman, Editor, Business Wire Minneapolis