Today, press releases appear drastically different than they did just 20 years ago. Everything about them, including language, format and distribution, has been updated. These modifications have been spurred by a change in audience, a change that came about because press releases are no longer being written just for journalists and researchers. Instead, they are now being crafted to be read by anyone with an internet connection.

In times gone by, press releases were written and released for the benefit of reporters and the news industry they served. In this now obsolete system, the release of newsworthy information about a company’s products and services was done only at the whim of an intermediary; someone working within the news industry. This meant that the valuable information within a company’s press release could only reach the eyes of consumers if picked up by a journalist.

Thankfully, the internet has changed things.

Since the world wide web was first “discovered” by the public in the early 90s, anyone with access to a search engine can find the press releases they’re looking for. The result is that these releases are no longer being read exclusively by the news media. Instead, they are now being seen by – and quite often targeted at – the consumer. For this reason, David Meerman Scott (in his book “The New Rules of Marketing and PR”) re-labels press releases as news releases.

News releases allow companies to speak directly to their customers and are an invaluable resource to public relations and marketing professionals who use news releases to distribute information about a company’s products and services. However, instead of being written for the media, a news release should be written for the consumer.

Like a press release, a well-executed news release has a set of rules it should follow. For optimal reach, here are some tips from Scott for creating expert news releases:

The 7 Rules for Expert News Releases

  1. News releases are not restricted to big events; professionals should find reasons to send them every day.
  2. News releases should be written directly to buyers in a language that speaks to them.
  3. The language in a news release should be littered with keywords and phrases that will help consumers locate the information across the internet.
  4. News releases should not just “talk at” consumers. It should engage with them. For this reason, news releases should contain free trials or surveys.
  5. News releases should act as a direct link to a company – literally. Links should be scattered throughout news releases and should direct consumers to resources that explain the company’s products and services.
  6. News releases should act in unison with a company’s social media accounts. For example, they should contain relevant hashtags that make them easy to find in various social media portals.
  7. Just as new releases should point to a company’s social media, a company’s social media should point to a company’s news release. News release should be tweeted about and mentioned in all of the company’s social feeds.