In companies with an active PR (public relations) program, your press releases may be the most frequently updated professional content you produce. If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you know that a key component to effective inbound marketing (where prospects find you when they are looking for your products and services) is to create and publish lots of content. For instance, we're trying to attract marketing people and business owners to HubSpot, and we write this blog which targets that audience with related information. So, how can you leverage your press releases for additional content? In addition to publishing the press release on your own website, you can often re-write it a bit and end up with a great blog article.
Tips to Turn a Press Release into a Blog Article
1. Pick the right press releases. A press release about some company accomplishment might not be that interesting as a blog article. But, a customer case study might be really good, as well as any news releases about industry trends, survey data, etc. Avoid the "we sold our 100th customer" story and focus on the "a survey by Company XYZ indicates industry growth will be 18% next year" type of story.
2. Remove promotional content. Most blogs are not successful if they are a shameless pitch for your company. Many press releases are, in fact, a shameless pitch for your company. If your press release is telling the world how great you are, it either needs to be re-written or it is not a good candidate to be turned into a blog article (see point #1). The most successful blogs are informative and do not have an overt sales pitch.
3. Change headline to be more catchy.
Press releases typically have a more factual headline, this stems from the days when the media actually read press releases on a "wire" service and scanned headlines to see what the news was. They wanted headlines that explained the story in one line. Blog articles are different. You want a title that will entice people to read the article or click on a link to it. An excellent resource to learn more about writing great titles for blog articles is Copyblogger
4. Add key learnings or key takeaways. Press releases are usually pretty factual. Blog readers love lists, summaries and actionable content. This means your writing needs to be very scan-able, and its a plus if there are step by step instructions to follow your advice or implement your suggestions. (For instance, like this list of ideas for re-using press releases on a blog.
5. Add (more) images, pictures and videos. Multimedia can really increase the value of your content. Unfortunately, multimedia in press releases gets really expensive very quickly. But a webpage or blog can have video or a bunch of images basically for free. So, in most cases it is more cost effective to have the press release contain a small amount of multimedia (or none at all) and then post lots of multimedia on your blog and link to it. This also has the side benefit of driving your press release readers to go to your blog to see the multimedia content.
6. Remove your boilerplate. Press releases usually stick to a standard format and have an "About Company XYZ" section at the bottom, plus contact information and a location and date of the news. All of this should be removed, it is not usual to do this in blog articles.
7. Take out internal quotes. Most press releases have quotes from your company, often the CEO or other member of management. These are generally not appropriate for blog articles and should usually be removed. Pretty much anything in your blog is a quote from your company, anyway.
Example of Related Press Release and Blog Article
For an example of what I am talking about, see this press release about Website Grader reaching 100,000 report URLs and then see this blog article on the same subject about the viral marketing of Website Grader. This was the same event, and there is even a link from the press release to the blog article, but we took a very different angle when writing each piece of content to take advantage of the audience and format.
How do you leverage your press releases? Leave a comment below and share your insights.