Last week, we reported on results from a PRNewswire/Crowd Factory study that found Twitter drives more traffic to press releases than Facebook. So how do you make your press release more Twitter friendly?
-“It starts with the headline,” says Sarah Skerik, PRNewswire’s VP of social media. “The press releases that got the most shares and views were those that had headlines that were in the range of 120 characters, which makes them the perfect tweetable link.”
The number of characters is important for retweeting.
“You need to leave retweet space to remove any barriers for audiences,” said Tom Becktold, SVP of marketing at Business Wire. “A lot of people want to add a little comment so leave 20 or 30 characters.”
Still, Skerik cautions against making a headline too short. “You want to give people enough information about what the press release is about,” she said.
But more than just counting characters, the headline should include something eye-catching and newsworthy.
“Tweet facts and stats,” said PitchEngine founder Jason Kintzler. Moreover, depending on the client, the headline can be fun or “tongue-in-cheek” said Kintzler, who doesn’t recommend simply tweeting a headline, but does recommend tailoring the voice and approach of the release to the audience, which is more than just journalists.
-Numbers, numbers, numbers. Ever notice all the numbers and listicles on the covers of magazines? People like numbers.
“Numbers make ideas real,” Skerik adds. “If you have data within a press release, call it out in the headline.”
-Make sub-stories tweetable. “You might be talking about a new product, its efficiency gains,” other other features, Skerik adds. “It’s well worth highlighting those areas in bullet points. That makes the press release scanable. When you create that bullet, hopefully it’s in tweetable length, which makes it possible for people to like something, grab it, and tweet it.”
As Kintzler says, “One press release or pitch can be a few tweets.”
-“Hashtag properly,” says Becktold. A step further, make sure keywords and search terms are in the release so it can be found he says.
To add, Kintzler says that keeping SEO in mind and being concise work perfectly for Twitter. “More social but less deep; get the gist and get out.”
-Make quotes tweetable. We’ve read tons (and tons and tons) of press releases and oftentimes skip right over the quote. The quotes regularly contain no information or just plain ol’ suck, to be sure. Why not make the quote more interesting and substantive?
“If I knew my audience was active on Twitter, I would make sure that quote is tweet-able, and include the brand’s or person’s Twitter handle,” says Skerik.
-Include multimedia. Everyone agrees that video, audio, and other multimedia add value to a press release and further draws in your audience once they’ve clicked on the link in Twitter.
The very nature of Twitter versus Facebook explains the PRN/Crowd Factory results, Skerik says. Facebook is a powerhouse, but Twitter has a different purpose.
“Twitter is about trading information,” she says. “Tweeting a link to a news item is pretty much stock and trade.”
Moreover, “Facebook still feels a little less for business than Twitter,” adds Kintzler. “Twitter feels like a news source.”
In other words, consider the social media platform and create your strategy — and your press release — accordingly.