Press releases are a great way to drive traffic to your website and generate buzz around your business. If the release is well-written and newsworthy, it is easy to get picked up my major media websites (and get some great links to your site. I use Vocus to distribute my releases. The last one I did was picked up by Yahoo News and a few other major sites.
Some people find press releases intimidating. They don't have to be, they are essentially just a short news article about something important to your company.
What you should include when you write a press release
1. Headline: You are aiming for clear and to the point here. Do not get cute – but try to use your keywords and make the headline as compelling as possible. The goal here is to get people to read the next sentence.
2. Subheadline: (optional): Use this if you have a tiny nugget of information that will get people to read further.
3. Overview: A quick, compelling summary of the press release. Keep this to less than two paragraphs. This is important because this is where you'll keep or lose most of your readers.
4. Body: This is the meat of the release. Do not make this a sales pitch. Imagine that you are a journalist writing the story about your product. Just lay out the facts. I like to include a quote in this section (and yes, you can quote yourself…). You also can (and should) include a call to action at the end. This is usually “learn more” CTA. For example, on a press release for an event, your CTA could be “To learn how you can participate in Take Action Get Profits, go to XXXXX or call XXXXX”.
5. Facts: These are some quick soundbite facts that back up your overall claim and that someone could take directly from your website.
6. About the Company: A few sentences about your company. Include all the ways people can get in touch with you online including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, etc.
7. Multimedia links: This is the new part of the press release. Include links to YouTube videos, RSS feeds, websites, Pinterest boards, etc. You don't want to distract people too much from your message, but you can use the opportunity to really use the media to support your release.
Once you've created the release, it is time to distribute it. There is a multitude of free sites out there. I've had better luck with paid releases because they tend to get picked up more. It usually costs around $200 to submit a release.