It happens sometimes. You publish a press release and nothing happens. Trust me, we’ve all been there! Your timing may be off; the media might have other stories that demand their attention; or, maybe what YOU consider newsworthy fails to interest those who decide whether or not to run your PRs.
When this happens, it’s tempting to dismiss the effort and just be happy with the fact that your press release will still be a valuable link building tool. But consider: one of the most common reasons PRs are ignored is because of the way they are written. A few minor edits may transform a boring piece into one that attracts major coverage!
Below, we’ll explain how to write press releases that are interesting to read. They’ll still generate links to your site, of course, but will also pull your audience in, and encourage them to learn more about your company, products, and services.
Deliver Your Main Point As Quickly As Possible
Because press releases are relatively short (400 words is an ideal length), it’s important to deliver as much relevant information as possible upfront. Tell your reader in the first few sentences about the gist of your news item. If you’re covering a particular event – for example, a community softball game for which your company is the sponsor – include the event’s date, time, and location. If your PR is about a specific circumstance involving others, give details about the main actors.
Providing these details in the first few sentences engages readers, and gets them involved. You’ll have a much easier job holding onto their attention throughout the rest of your press release.
Be Willing To Abandon Your Outline
Outlines are useful because they save time, and make the chore of writing a PR easier. But there are drawbacks to using them. Journalists have seen practically every template in use. Keep in mind that many of them are flooded with hundreds of press releases each month. Reading the same outlines over and over can become mind-numbing to the point that it’s easier to discard them in favor of those that show more inspiration.
It’s fine to use an outline, but only as a starting point. Otherwise, you risk allowing your press releases to sound identical to thousands of others distributed each day.
Discard Jargon And Catch Phrases
Little needs to be said here. But this is an important enough point that it warrants a quick note.
Every industry has its own set of catch phrases. But aside from a select group of readers, such phrases do nothing to engage your audience. Instead, they muddy the waters. They dilute your message, and more often than not, turn off journalists and bloggers who might otherwise be compelled to run your PRs. Scrap the jargon, and talk to your readers in plain language. You’ll find it far easier to keep their attention.
Keep It Lean By Cutting The Fat
Fluff writing in a press release is akin to junk food. It offers little value. Worse, it tests your audience’s patience since they are forced to dedicate their time to rummaging through your text to uncover your point. A reader whose patience wears thin is unlikely to visit your site, whether to buy something, opt into a newsletter, or learn more about your products.
Once your write your PR, proofread it. Get rid of unnecessary words and segments. Cut it down to its bare bones while delivering the essential details in an engaging “voice.” Remember, you have approximately 400 words. There’s little space to waste.
Create A Knockout Headline
Everything starts with your headline. The majority of your readers will decide to open your press release or dismiss it based on whether its headline captures their attention. Crafting effective headlines is an art unto itself. The good news is that anyone can learn to do it well.
First, resist the temptation to be clever. Clarity will always trump cleverness in your press releases.
Second, don’t try to include every detail. Keep your headline short.
Third, avoid hype. Journalists can detect it instantly. So can your readers. There is no quicker way to ensure your press release is ignored than to fill your headline with hype.
The manner in which you write your PRs plays a key role in attracting and keeping your audience’s attention. It is an aspect of online press release marketing that is entirely within your control.
Have you recently published a press release that really took off? What do you think worked well for you? Did you change something that seemed to make a big difference? Share with us in the comments. We’d love to hear about it!
Awesome polar bear photo created by Grant Neufeld.