I just saw this press release from Cimatron Limited. They used a successful webinar as an excuse to promote themselves, show that they have good content of value to their market, and get additional viewers to come see the event recording. Good job!
But they could have been more effective in three ways. Let's take a look and learn.
First, the press release continually refers to the webinar in the past tense. "The webinar was hosted by...", "The webinar presentation included an eight-step...", "Rich Dorans described in the webinar how...", "This was an extremely informative session..."
By using past tense, you cue your readers that the event was in the past and they missed it. Old news and missed opportunities are not compelling to an audience. You want instead to talk about your webinar recording as a current offering. You could change every sentence above to present tense and make the webinar sound alive and available.
Secondly, the press release waits until the final sentence to mention that interested parties can view a recording of the webinar. It sounds almost like an afterthought. This should have been up at the top and probably should have been the lead point of the press release. If the release is structured so the company is announcing availability of a highly successful and valuable resource, it suddenly becomes a real news item, rather than a self-congratulatory debrief on something that happened in the past. How about something like: "Cimatron Gives Executives On-Demand Access To Highly Successful Tool Shop Optimization Seminar" [Okay, that's a little clunky, but you get the idea.]
Third, the sentence mentioning availability of the recording says "Tooling executives... can view a recording of the webinar by signing up on the Cimatron Technologies, Inc. website at www.cimatrontech.com."
There are two things wrong here. The first is that you are announcing a psychological barrier right in the sentence. Don't say "by signing up" -- it gives people a reason not to go to the site. "I'm not signing up for anything! I don't want to be spammed!" Let them click through and then see that they need to give their name. At that point they have already invested themselves and made the first move, so they are much more likely to continue with the process.
The second problem is the link. You are sending an audience interested in a specific item to a generic company home page. Sure, Cimatron did a good job of highlighting the event recording on their home page with a nice picture box display ad, but they should have sent interested readers directly to the event page from the press release.
I'm guessing that one of the reasons they didn't use a direct link is that the recording is being hosted on ON24's server site with a ridiculously long URL address under the ON24 high-level domain name. This is one of the few situations where I would advise using a coding trick called an HTTP Meta Refresh to redirect people to an alternate web address. Usually it's a bad idea because users can't use the BACK button on their browser and some search engines don't like them. But in this particular case, it's an appropriate use.
Cimatron could host a miniature HTML file (let's call it toolshop.html). The content consists solely of a redirect to the ON24 real address for the event. There is also a manual link in case somebody uses a browser that doesn't support the automatic refresh. Here's what it looks like:
<TITLE>Cimatron Webinar - Tool Shop Optimization</TITLE>
<META HTTP-EQUIV="Refresh" CONTENT="0; URL=http://event.on24.com/eventRegistration/EventLobbyServlet?target=lobby.jsp&playerheight=580&playerwidth=748&eventid=21050&sessionid=1&partnerref=amweb&key=3CF3F45D1A5CE1D8298E5CEAC281DE3C&eventuserid=5974418">
Click here to view the Tool Shop Optimization webinar</A>
I have hosted this file on my server at the following address: http://www.wsuccess.com/toolshop.html
Try clicking on that link and watch what happens. Now you have an address that is short and sweet, is listed under your domain name, and takes the audience straight to the event they want to see.
With those few changes, Cimatron could really boost the results they continue to get from their sunk investment in time and money to create and record the webinar.
Oh, and I should put in my standard plug here... You should also list your recording on www.WebEventSearch.com so people can search for it online even if they somehow miss your press release!
By the way, I know nothing about these Cimatron folks and use this example purely because it was a real case and handy. I commend them for getting that original attendance for their event and for following through with additional marketing/PR activities around it. I hope they don't think I'm berating them in any way!