Aug 02, 2013

3 Keys to Writing Press Releases that Drive Discovery Over Time


One of the most popular press releases on right now is an item that was released in March.  How is that even possible?

This particular press release, issued by the American Academy of Neurology, and titled “AAN Issues Updated Sports Concussion Guideline: Athletes with Suspected Concussion Should Be Removed from Play” outlines the organization’s sports concussion guidelines and specifically states that athletes with concussions should be immediately removed from play.

The issue of brain injuries in athletics has been a hot topic for a while, and certainly, it’s no surprise that an announcement like this one, from a leading authority in the space, would garner news coverage.

Yesterday's mention of the AAN press release on the site.

Yesterday’s mention of the AAN press release on the site.

But why does this press release continue to be among the most-emailed on our web site, months after issue?  There are a few different reasons.

  1. Longevity:  This particular press release was built to deliver long-term visibility.   The headline is clear and succinct, and the press release itself more than delivers on the promise of the headline.   In addition to being timely and topical, the headline (and the rest of the content) also reflect common vernacular.  The meaning isn’t obscured by impenetrable jargon.
  2. Utility:  This press release contains more than an academic discussion of the AAN’s updated concussion guidelines.   The authors, in a series of bullet points, summarized key research findings that underpin the new guidelines.  In addition, a short list of concussion symptoms is also included.   This is the sort of useful information that inspires journalists and other readers to print, bookmark, share and otherwise save content for future reference.  It’s no surprise that this release continues to be picked up and referenced five months after it was issued.
  3. Authority:  This press release has clearly gathered authority over time.  In fact, just yesterday, it was mentioned on the site.  As more people share content in social networks and link to it in articles and on other credible web sites, the content will grow in authority – and visibility.

We’ve mentioned the increasing life spans of press releases, as search engines make it easier for searchers to find granular information.   In closing, I’ll leave you with another tip:  watch your press release measurement reports.  We know that press releases continue to accrue results over time, and if you stop tallying those results shortly after your releases are issued, you’ll leave quantifiable results on the table.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of the e-book “Unlocking Social Media for PR.”  Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik

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