Press releases are read by a wide array of people, so when drafting a message, it’s important to think beyond the professional media audience.
Enthusiast bloggers, industry and financial analysts, employees, customers, advocates, shareholders, industry peers, and potential business partners are all likely to read your press release, in addition to journalists.
Traditionally, the outcome we use to gauge press release success is media pick up, and the call to action embedded within most press releases is the media contact information. But what about everyone else? What about all those other stakeholders who are reading our messages? Are we serving them well? Are we helping support the buying (and other) decisions they’re making?
Identifying and serving variable audience interests
People read press releases for different reasons. In addition to covering a beat, your readers may be researching a purchase, learning more about the company before accepting a job, or evaluating marketplace players to lay the groundwork for a partnership or deal.
The trick for the PR pros behind the press release is to identify which audiences are also likely to be interested, and include links for them to follow that mesh with their specific interests.
Embedding multiple calls to action that appeal to different audiences
Here’s an example. In talking about this subject with a client last week, we discussed a current press release about a new type of over-the-counter drug that significantly reduces some of the side effects endemic to this particular type of medication.
(For the sake of this example, let’s say this is a new type of decongestant called EasyCold that is given in a standard dose for both children and adults, ending confusion over dosage.)
The press release was data-heavy. It was designed to inform savvy journalists who have some familiarity with subject and have probably been on the healthcare beat for a while. The original release went out with the standard media contact information. However, there were other opportunities to engage consumers and audiences with this message.
Here are ways that press release could reach a wider audience:
Signal the availability of the data in the headline (and subhead). For example:
• Safe Cold Medicine for Kids and Adults: EasyCold’s Standard Dose Formula Removes Risk of Inaccurate Dosing
• Results of study prove standard dose is efficacious for people of all ages.
Avoid a jargon-heavy lead. Instead describe in clear and simple terms what this new drug means to consumers, and the company. For example:
• EasyCold takes the guesswork—and risks—associated with giving children the correct dosage of a cold remedy out of treating sick kids: dosage is the same for both children and adults. It’s safe cold medicine for kids that also works for the rest of the family, according to a recent study of the efficaciousness of variable doses …
Embed hyperlinks from keywords that will appeal to different audiences. This way, you’re connecting them with the specific information they’re seeking. You can rely on your readers’ self-interest to guide them. For example:
• EasyCold takes the guesswork—and risks—associated with giving children the correct dosage of a cold remedy out of treating sick kids: dosage is the same for both children and adults. It’s safe cold medicine for kids that also works for the rest of the family, according to a recent study of the efficaciousness of variable doses conducted by XYZ Pharma …
In this simple example, the popular search term “safe cold medicine for kids” could be linked to a landing page offering information (and a coupon) for parents who are struggling with the challenge of finding cold medicine they can feel safe about using. In the next line, a link to the phrase relating to the study could link to the full study results for a journalist or professional interested in that angle of this story.
These simple links and a few tweaks to an otherwise technical press release will broaden the appeal of the story for industry professionals (media and otherwise) and potential consumers—and the different media and blogs those disparate audiences consume. With just a little more effort (and the same amount of money) you can significantly expand the audiences for your press releases and track the different outcomes they deliver.
Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.