What makes a press release successful?

What makes a press release successful?
27. June 2016 Ubermetrics

What makes a press release successful?

press release

The press release is one of the primary communication tools for companies and agencies. The goal? To present company news, its products, and services to the media and amplify an important message for main target groups.

The challenge, however, is that most reporters and editors receive literally dozens of press releases and article suggestions each and every day. Journalists are more pressed than ever to make quick decisions and forced to decide within seconds whether a press release or suggestion represents a newsworthy subject or a spam e-mail.

What are the best ways to announce information? Should it always be by traditional press release? Why are some press releases successful while others aren’t? How can you evaluate the success and impact of a press release? At Ubermetrics, we have studied these topics extensively. Here’s what we found out.

Top Press Release Topics

To find out, we used Ubermetrics Delta to analyze how press releases scored over a specific timeframe in terms of virality and backlinks. From April 27 to May 27, 2016, a total of 9,411 press releases were published online. Those were the top 6 topics:

#6: Poll: Let’s snap! BRAVO Presents New Data on mobile media use of youth
#5: About 400 women will compete to become Germany’s first female astronaut
# 4: Social Media will conquer the professional world | Study: Professional use of social media increases
# 3: Six Days holiday for six Euro | News E.ON ranking: These kitchen machines bring up to 10 days more free time in the year
# 2: Study: Artificial insemination gets socially accepted
# 1: Infographic: Influencer ranking: journalists are first ranked for PR professionals – customers and employees way before bloggers

Our analysis revealed that infographics, studies, rankings, and surveys achieve far greater media attention than classic corporate announcements or press releases. Infographics are especially welcomed by journalists because the article, enriched with original visual content, generate far more reader attention than straight text. Although this isn’t new information, hundreds of press announcements without pictures or visual content are still promoted on a daily basis.

How do you gauge the success of your release?

Your press release is now live, how do you know if it’s been successful? It’s not just how many publications pick it up. That’s not even half of the story.

Here are some factors that will help you evaluate your release’s impact: Which publications, offline and online, promoted your message? How many backlinks did your press release generate? Is communication spreading on social media channels?

Let’s look at a few key factors in more detail:

Virality: The higher the virality in the media, the more likely users will be to share and spread the information. Content redistribution is important because it helps increase awareness and visibility.

Backlinks: A backlink, or backreference, is a link from a site that leads to your press release. Backlinks are a important criteria for your search engine ranking (SEO). The more backlinks a press release has, the higher it will rank in search engine results. However, not every backlink is the same: “Follow-links”; the link is tracked and passes Link Power. In the case of “no-follow links”, originally invented for advertorial and advertising purposes, the link will be deleted and won’t flow into the Power Link rating.

The reach of media-newspapers articles or online media directly attributable to a press release–are generally good indicators of high impact and success. Yet it’s important not to evaluate the total number of clippings alone to gauge overall impact. You also need to look at individual articles and their reach: For example, a clipping in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has an IVW reach of 680,000 (IVW equates in English to Information Community to Determine the Reach of Advertising Media), while a mention in the company magazine “impulse” has just one-third of the reach.

Share existing content: Another indicator of a successful press release is the content of the original press release in the clipping. Journalists like to integrate quotes that can help accelerate their work without the need to re-interpret words. Another point in favour of quotes: Since search engines crawl the web for quotes, be sure to make citations properly formatted and discoverable.


The classic, often text-heavy press release has increasingly lost its impact as a powerful awareness tool. Even customizing the information provides little added value to journalists.

Attract editor interest by using infographics, studies, and surveys. The diversity and accessibility increase the chances your press release will notice your work.

You can always measure success by using professional online monitoring tools but remember it’s the quality that matters. One final quick tip: Set up search profiles for your competitors and analyze their work in press and media. This will allow you to benchmark your approach, and, where appropriate, make adjustments.

This is a guest article by the online marketing agency Aufgesang.