Increasing Press Release Click Throughs: Three Head-Slappingly Simple Strategies

Increasing Press Release Click Throughs: Three Head-Slappingly Simple Strategies

Posted on 22. Feb, 2012 by + in Press Release Writing Tips

Pop Quiz: Which of the following has more value to you?

A. 10,000 people who read your press release, and then move on to other interests
B. 100 people who read your press release, and visit your site to learn more details

If you’re like most business owners, the clear choice is “B.” The only way your news announcements will help convert prospects into customers is by sending them to your site (or, getting them to call you). That’s when your sales funnel really kicks into action. But if they leave your PRs and move on to other interests, the chances they’ll come back are slim to none.

Bottom line: your online press releases must engage your audience. It must pull them from paragraph to paragraph until they can’t wait to click your link to visit your site. Getting folks to read is merely the first step.

Don’t Give Away All The Milk — Make Them Click Through For The Cow

A lot of business owners make the mistake of including every piece of information a reader needs to know in their press releases. The problem is, this lowers the odds that the reader will visit the website. There’s nothing left to learn. In other words, the chance to convert the individual into a customer is lost before an attempt can even be made to do so.

A better strategy is to use your press releases as bait. Pull your readers through the content by giving them just enough information to keep them interested. When they finally reach the end, they’ll be looking for your link.

Make It Less About You and More About Them

News announcements that focus solely on you and your company are bound to be less engaging to your audience than those that focus on them.

Most of your readers are tuned in to that popular station WII.FM – What’s In It For Me? Although it may sound harsh, very few customers, influential bloggers, and journalists care about you. In press release writing (or any type of writing) you need to turn the mirror around to your customer rather than admiring yourself. When they open one of your press releases, they do so to see whether their lives will be better for the effort. So, let’s start there.

Besides the occasional PR about exciting things going on with your business, publish news releases that offer something your readers will find valuable. Here are a few examples:

  • A chance to download an info-dense white paper
  • Key research based on industry survey results (great if you sell to businesses)
  • An invite to enter a contest for which an exciting prize will be awarded
  • A tutorial showing people how to accomplish a certain task or solve a particular problem

You’ll need to test these and other ideas to know which ones engage your readers and increase their interest. There are always clues. Are they clicking to your site? Are they downloading your white paper? Are they bookmarking it on Digg? Are they tweeting about it or sharing it on their Facebook accounts?

Reader engagement leaves a trail.

Closed Mouth Doesn’t Get Fed – Ask For What You Want

Just like a baby bird in a nest doesn’t get worms from mom if he doesn’t open his mouth, we don’t get what we want if we don’t open our mouths and ask. My kids are notorious for assuming I should be able to read their mind. Instead of asking me for what they want, they just give me the problem and make me guess how to solve it.

“I’m hungry”

And here’s how the conversation proceeds:

“Do you want a sandwich?”
“Chicken nuggets?”
“Some soup?”
“Why don’t you just tell me what you want!?!”

Most people won’t take action unless they are instructed to do so. This is the reason sales letters, print advertisements, and even radio spots end with a call to action. They’re effective. If the goals of your press release strategy extend beyond search engine exposure and links to your site, there’s a good chance you’ll need to tell readers exactly what you want them to do. Don’t leave it to chance.

If you want them to visit, you have a higher probability of this happening if you ask them to do so and tell them WHY it matters to them. That’s the purpose of a “call to action.” It gives readers a crystal clear instruction to take a specific action. In a store, that action might be to “Buy today to save 25%.” In your press releases, it’s likely to be “Visit our site to learn more.”

Like this photo? Thank and Striatic and Cea and Flickr!

Your Turn!

What methods have you used in the past to make your press releases more engaging to readers? Any tips to offer?

12 Responses to “Increasing Press Release Click Throughs: Three Head-Slappingly Simple Strategies”

  1. Boise Idaho

    22. Feb, 2012

    I have found that you have to have amazing information to get people’s attention. Good is not good enough and cool may not even be good enough. Many people talk about how it has to be valuable information, I say it has to be ”invaluable’ and they will come.

  2. Megan

    22. Feb, 2012

    Great post, Christine! I find the idea of ‘baiting’ readers with the press release really interesting. You’re right — the ultimate goal is to have a reader click through to your website, so why not hook them with intriguing info in the release (and even more intriguing info on your site)? Keep these useful tips coming!

  3. Karen

    22. Feb, 2012

    You totally made me click for the cow with the email teaser. :) I agree that so many companies lay it all out with their release, offering the content IN the release instead of asking for the click-through. Great tips!!
    Karen recently posted..A peek into my dark and twisty mind

  4. GelliAnn

    23. Feb, 2012

    Well I agree that those are really simple ones…But they can give a big difference to the readers.
    GelliAnn recently posted..How To Stop A Panic Attack

  5. William Waites

    23. Feb, 2012

    Of course, this is an excellent guide. In addition, not only do you want to leave some things unsaid in order to hook clicks to your website, you also want to make the hook irresistible. “Click here” doesn’t do it it. It also doesn’t get you any SE juice unless recipients are searching for “click here.” Place your links inside terms that your prospects are likely searching for. But don’t overdo it. SE’s can spot gaming if it is too obvious.

  6. Janet

    23. Feb, 2012

    Make It Less About You and More About Them – that is the thing I have the biggest problem with. Clients want to brag about their business. I want to tell a good story.

    What I also tell people is it’s easier to ride a wave than create one. Using Google Insights for search I see what terms are trending related to the theme of my news. Then I use those terms in the headline and body of the press release.

    Thanks for the tips.

  7. Jackie

    23. Feb, 2012

    Great tips, I especially like the call to action tip. So many times PRs are missing an actionable item: call, buy, register, download, subscribe…something. Without the actionable item you’ve given your readers so many incentives EXCEPT the one that really matters.

  8. Sandy Millar

    26. Feb, 2012

    I’ve recently become a fan of Chet Holmes’ books and you point out so many of the same basic fundamentals for turning a ‘lead’ into a ‘customer’… Very good post :-)
    Sandy Millar recently posted..Watch out for online movie piracy

  9. Mary

    28. Feb, 2012

    I admit that I often commit the mistake of writing more about myself and my company than on what others can get. I know how effective posting press releases are in gaining more visitors and I am constantly looking for ways to improve my style. Thank you so much for the tips.
    Mary recently posted..DTS Home

  10. Vanessa

    28. Feb, 2012

    Excellent point! I am so amazed with your approaches on Increasing Press Release Click Throughs.. You are such a helpful.. Thanks for being a great guide.. :)
    Vanessa recently posted..Best Positions To Get Pregnant

  11. Roel

    31. Mar, 2012

    Great tips, but I think that adding rich content to a press release would help as well. These days video, images etc are becoming more and more important. People are more likely to read something if you add rich content. I think we need to make it a ‘social media release’ in stead of a press release.

  12. Christine OKelly

    Christine OKelly

    31. Mar, 2012

    Totally agree Roel! We talk a lot about how adding video and images and multimedia elements make a major impact on the effectiveness of a release. Combining great content with multimedia is the key!

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