Online press releases are a powerful way to establish your online identity and brand and spread your news across the internet…but there is a way to make them even more powerful. How? By writing a press release which people will want to retweet, post on Facebook, announce to all of their friends…

And here’s how you do it.

What type of info do YOU generally retweet and tell all of your friends about? If you’re like me, I will retweet news that is 1.) Funny, weird, interesting, or noteworthy in some way, or 2.) genuinely helpful. Contests and charity giveaways fall into category number two.

I encourage my clients to regularly hold contests with valuable prizes, and charity giveaways, and announce them in press releases. If I see a contest from a legitimate company with a valuable prize, I will retweet it and post in on Facebook. The prize doesn’t have to be huge – a $100 digital camera, a netbook, etc. – but it can’t be something like an ebook, or a coffee mug, or something else that really doesn’t have a lot of value.  I’m only going to tell my friends and followers about it if the prize is something cool, that they would want.

Charity giveaways are another way to get good free exposure. Let’s say you give away all of your net proceeds from one day to a battered women’s shelter or animal shelter or cancer research. Write a press release about it, and tell all of your followers about it, and ask them to tell THEIR followers about it. People love to publicize a good cause. It’s a win-win.

These are the two best ways that I know of to get people to want to help you publicize your news