Grading Press Releases

After many years of working behind the scenes at an international paid newswire I have seen press releases in just about every shape and size – from multiple paged earnings tomes to three sentence Media Alerts.  Basic layout has changed little in the past decade – but subtle changes have occurred – particularly for practitioners seeking to optimize search engine success and improve visibility online.  One of these changes has to do with linked text and keyword-based links within the release itself.  

I came across Press Release Grader on the Twitter-Grader site the other day and was intrigued. Just for grins I took an old press release I issued gratis last Spring for our local Little League Opening Day Parade and ran it through the software.  Press Release Grader correctly pointed out that the URL I had embedded in the release was a redirect (the organization had since moved it’s home page)  but missed my end of content marker.

I am happy to report that it only found one “Gobbledygook” word – and that was within a direct quote.  The release was written to an 11th grade level – and I probably could whittle that down a bit.  The software also generates a Word Cloud with the size of the word indicating frequency of usage – really a neat visual tool to remind the writer to stay focused on the subject at hand.  

Press Release Grader counted the number of links and links with keyword-based text – and checked them, which was helpful.  For a practitioner with years of experience writing, editing and distributing press releases it was still a good exercise.


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