Consumer News Dominates December’s Top 5 Press Releases

Most Popular Press Releases, December 2023

Hello 2024! Before we start looking ahead to a new year, we want to take a minute to see what readers were drawn to in recent weeks. Consumers and journalists were deep into the holiday season, so it comes as no surprise that consumer-related headlines took most of the top spots for December. But nothing could compete with T-Swift. Compelling multimedia (even a QR code), strong call to action links, helpful bullets, and more kept readers engaging with these can’t-miss stories.

So as we close the book on 2023, here are the five releases that dominated on in December, based on release views: 

1. TIME Names the 2023 Person of the Year: Taylor Swift

The TIME Person of the Year issue features 3 worldwide covers of Taylor Swift

Source: PRNewsfoto/TIME

Everybody agrees – Taylor Swift’s end-of-year honor from TIME was the top story of December.

What works: It’s Taylor Swift’s world, and we’re just living in it. Even with guaranteed interest in the content, TIME stacks its official news release with engaging strategies, from tactical bolding and strong call to action links (including a link to keep longer URLs reader-friendly) to – of course – multimedia. A special nod to TIME here for going above and beyond by including a QR code as one of its multimedia assets, a unique marketing strategy we’d love to see more companies incorporate in 2024.

2. White Claw® Launches a Radically New Beverage for Adults That Tastes and Feels Like an Alcoholic Drink, Without the Alcohol. White Claw™ 0% Alcohol is a Breakthrough that Redefines Drinking.

Four people with White Claw™ 0% Alcohol

Source: PRNewsfoto/White Claw

Those interested in Dry/Damp January, or just what the best-selling hard seltzer had up its sleeve, drove traffic to the No. 2 release.

What works: While we always recommend brevity in headlines, White Claw’s approach still works here, as the first ~55 characters (typically what shows up in online search results) still read like a complete headline, and White Claw + new beverage still equals instant interest. Another best practice here is the use of purposeful bolding and bullets to draw attention to the new flavors. The brand isn’t afraid to incorporate multiple sets of bullets in their release to ensure their key points are instantly visible. It’s an easy way to break up long blocks of text to improve reader engagement and comprehension.

Any new product announcement should always include a photo to help readers connect with the news and visualize how they might incorporate the product into their lifestyle. White Claw checks both boxes, with a product lineup shot and an environmental photo. Bonus points for considerate photo captions, which paid off for White Claw in that part of a caption – which artfully captures the gist of the announcement – appears beneath the headline in Google search results for additional context.

3. McKee Foods and Little Debbie® Brand Sweetens Valentine’s Day with Exciting New Treats and Fresh Packaging!

Little Debbie Valentine's Day Snack Cakes

Source: PRNewsfoto/McKee Foods

It may have been the month of Christmas, but that didn’t stop anticipatory readers from devouring upcoming Valentine’s Day news.

What works: That pink photo. It drops you instantly into the vibe of Valentine’s Day, so there’s something to be said for incorporating seasonal/holiday colors for maximum visual effect.

And for a multi-product announcement, you can’t do better than McKee Foods here, with bolded headers and concise descriptions. 

4. They’re Here! McDonald’s Launches Squishmallows Happy Meal in the U.S.

McDonald's Squishmallows® Happy Meal®

Source: PRNewsfoto/McDonald’s USA, LLC

The stuffed animal that took over the internet in 2020 is still going strong, and its partnership announcement with McDonald’s coasted into the No. 4 spot in December.

What works: McDonald’s builds a sense of anticipation and urgency in the subheadline and first paragraph, pairing “at long last” and “act fast” emotions that invite action. The rest of the narrative reiterates the exclusivity factor, and even the Grinchiest reader has to admit that photo is adorable.

5. 1 to 4 million people are predicted travel to the Total Solar Eclipse, creating the biggest travel event of the year on April 8, 2024

Eclipse Tourism Projections By the numbers infographic

Source: PRNewsfoto/Great American Eclipse

Nothing gets people talking like a solar eclipse, and the highly anticipated, rare total solar eclipse rounded out our Top 5 stories for December.

What works: Numbers in headlines are instant attention-getters (and also save valuable real estate in your headline). Moreover, data was one of the biggest trends among journalists and in press releases in 2023; 68% of journalists told us in the State of the Media Report that they want data from companies and comms pros. Another 43% said they incorporate data visualization into their work for their readers.

Great American Eclipse leans into this, sprinkling interesting data points throughout the release and setting them off with diversely structured paragraphs and purposeful bolding. The concise video and infographic enhance the message and reward readers with information that’s both engaging and informative.

For a full end-of-year recap, read our list of the 20 most popular press releases of 2023.

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Sarah Roberts is Director of Customer Content Services. In a previous life, she was a newspaper reporter in the Midwest before permanently retiring her snow shovel and moving to the Land of Enchantment. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, exploring the craft beer scene and petting all the dogs.

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