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8 Tips for Writing a Press Release Effectively

8 Tips for Writing a Press Release Effectively

Your business or organization has news to share, but you’re unsure how to spread the word. Press releases are an ideal and easy way to get out the word about your business’s announcement, whether it’s a building project, upcoming event, important transaction, new hire or promotion. Putting together a press release doesn’t need to be daunting. Here are eight tips to writing a press release effectively:

1. Write a good headline

Journalists get hundreds of emails daily. To make your press release stand out from the crowd, you need a catchy but informative headline. Keep your headline to less than six words—you can always add a subhead—and make sure it contains the most important piece of information. Don’t be boring and say, “Company A hires worker.” Instead say, “Company A adds Jane Smith for key role.” As to style, don’t forget to center and bold the headline. Make it about 20 points. If adding a subhead, put it in italics (and not bold) and make it about 16 or 17 points.

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2. Start off right

Begin the press release with the city and state where your organization is located. Start off with that information and then add a dash—from there you can go right into the release.

3. Don’t bury the lead

For journalists, the lead is the main point of the story. In a press release, make sure the main point and all the key information are included in that first paragraph. You can’t guarantee that that reader will go further than that, so make sure it includes the need-to-know information. The second and third paragraphs should contain secondary and supporting information.

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4. Remember the Five Ws

An effective press release needs to answer the what, when, who, where and why. What is happening? Where and when? Why is it happening? Who’s involved? A good press release must include this information. Without it, the reader will hit delete. Also, if it works, include the “H”—how is something happening? These are all essential good writing tips.

5. Use the right style

Write a press release as a news story. Keep sentences short and simple. Don’t use jargon or terms that the average person wouldn’t understand. Focus on facts and information—remember you want the reporter receiving your press release to understand it’s news. Another key element—be sure to run a spell check and read it thoroughly before sending. Reporters will immediately hit the delete button if they get a release full of errors.

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6. Include a quote

Reporters like quotes, so seriously consider including one in your press release. Whether it’s from the company president or a fundraising chair (if the release is about an upcoming event), make sure the quote sounds real and not canned. Read it aloud and make sure it sounds like it’s something a real person would actually say. Another tip about quotes: Don’t make them too long. Remember, it needs to sound like someone actually said it—if it has four long sentences in it, edit it down.

7. Include contact information

You need to make it easy for the reporter to contact you for more information or if he or she has additional questions. Be sure to include your contact name, email, and phone number, or include that information for a key person involved with the company’s news. It’s also good to include website addresses embedded right in the press release so reporters can check that out for more information. Don’t forget to include the company’s Twitter handle or Facebook page address, too.

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8. End on the right note

Press releases traditionally end with three ###s. It signifies to the reporter that the release has come to an end. By including that, you’re demonstrating to the reporter that you understand how news releases work and he or she is bound to take you more seriously.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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    Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

    The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

    But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

    However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

    This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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    Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

    We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

    Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

    Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

    The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

    When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

    When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

    How to Make Decision Effectively

    Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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    1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

    You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

    Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

    Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

    2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

    You don’t have to choose all the time.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

    Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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    3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

    You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

    The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

    Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

    Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

    So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

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