Have you ever had trouble coming up with ideas for your press releases? Has it ever seemed as if the creative well has run dry? One solution is to keep your eye on current events, and think of ways to incorporate them into your news announcements. For example, we recently showcased a successful ‘newsjacking’ press release that got excellent traction jumping off of the Whitney Houston news story.
Publishing press releases online is about more than just attracting media attention. We know that self-publishing means that anybody can find and read your news announcement — potential customers included! That’s why our goal in publishing news is to get your message in front of as many people as possible. In today’s post, you’ll see how ‘piggybacking’ with current news items can help you accomplish that goal and much more.
#1 – Quick Visibility On The Search Engines
I’ve read that Google’s ranking algorithm – the formula they use to list sites – is made up of over 200 factors. (Think of their algorithm like an enormous stereo equalizer with over 200 knobs.) One of the factors used to rank sites is the recency of a page. Or, in Google’s own words, “Search results, like warm cookies right out of the oven or cool refreshing fruit on a hot summer’s day, are best when they’re fresh.”
This is the reason you’ll find current news stories filling the top spots for relevant searches. Google assigns them priority. For example, hours after the Norwegian massacre in July 2011, a quick search on Google generated thousands of results. Within 24 hours, the list had expanded exponentially.
Think of how you can use this fact to maximize the reach of your online press releases. At any given time, there are bound to be at least a couple – and maybe several – stories in the news that dovetail with your business. Can you write a news announcement, applying a unique angle to a current event? There’s a good chance the answer is yes.
#2 – Top-Of-Mind Awareness Among Your Audience
Current events are powerful because they capture the attention of your market. Whether it’s the Florida primaries, Facebook’s pending IPO, or a new report listing the 20 healthiest cities in the U.S., people are drawn to these topics. By the time you write and distribute a press release based on them, the stories have already gained a foothold in your audience’s minds.
That’s why this method makes it so easy to connect with your customers. An engaging story is like a bridge you can cross to introduce your products and services. Suppose you own and operate a sleep treatment center. A recent story at CNN.com highlighted a link between sleep apnea and stroke. A press release based on this story can connect with your audience about a topic they might already be familiar with. It’s a natural introduction to your company’s services.
#3 – Built-In Motivation To Read Your Press Releases
When people are interested in a story they’ve seen in the news, they tend to gravitate toward anything that mentions it. They have a natural curiosity that makes it almost impossible to do otherwise. It works like a built-in motivator that directs your customers’ eyes to your news announcements whenever they appear on Google.
Let’s return to our sleep treatment center example. Imagine one of your prospective customers is searching Google for information on sleep apnea, and comes across your PR about the condition’s role in causing stroke. Your soon-to-be customer will find it practically irresistible. She’ll be drawn to it, and will read your press release to learn more. This is a great way to funnel targeted visitors to your website so you can sell them on your services.
Writing Tip: Using a topical news story to bring readers in is only one step in the process. Don’t leave them hanging! Provide a cliear call to action at the end of your press release so they know how to continue doing business with you. This could be a link to download a free report, sign up for an upcoming webinar or schedule a free consultation.
Bonus Advantage! – Endless Supply Of Newsworthy Content
Have you ever noticed how news never seems to dry up? There is a never-ending stream of stories that hits the front pages and grabs your attention. Such is the minute-by-minute news cycle found online. This is a major advantage when you’re looking for content ideas to use in your press releases. When you feel as if there’s nothing newsworthy to justify a press release, take a quick look through current events to jumpstart your creative juices.
There are several important “rules of engagement” to keep in mind when using news stories as the basis of your PRs. I’ll go into them in detail in the near future. For now…
Have you ever used a story you found in the news as an idea for a press release? If so, what was the story?
* Awesome lemur piggyback photo courtesy of Spencer77.