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Tips on Writing An Outstanding Press Release

Tips on Writing An Outstanding Press Release
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This article aims to school you in the art of writing an outstanding press release through small chunks of easily digestible information or tips. Sound like a hoot? Good, because it is. And let that be the first lesson grasshopper: always present information to modern online readers in snappy tid-bits.

How your information is received in some respects is more important than the content. The formatting of your press release is going to make a huge difference in how effective it is. That and this other stuff, so let’s get to work.

1. Establish the story.

The reason every copywriter with salt will tell you to begin any written sales funnel with a story is because people need to move. They need action. That’s what entertains us. So regardless of what you’re advertising or marketing through the press release, it needs to have a “story.” Think about it like a brand story if you need to.

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2. Get crafty and catchy with your headlines.

The title itself is really important. Here’s something random: what’s the different between an online business and a lemon?

Do you want to know? I bet you do. That’s the point. Imagine that’s the title of your press release, seriously. How many people would want to know? That, ladies and gentlemen, is a marketing hook. Then you lead into the press release with catchy and crafty subtitles that make it easy to scan and moves the “story” along.

3. Speak frankly and use plain English.

Seriously, you should have the point of your press release right out front within the very FIRST “section.” Don’t try to smooth talk anyone or waste time. In fact, just remember this statement, “If you’re not getting to the point, you’re completely wasting your time.” Today it’s safe to say that the human mind completely shuts down and disengages with any pitches, or sales-speak.

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It makes many people want to go postal. Do you like television or radio commercials? How about those annoying pop-ups? Spam emails? Do I need to go on? Use plain English and get to the point, but be genuine, honest and sincere.

4. Engagement is a primary detective.

At that matter is establishing a relationship with the reader. You need to allow the spirit in the machine to do its work. For example, how much can you pick up while chatting with someone using only typing on Skype, or through email, or perhaps Facebook PMs? It’s amazing what we can feel through writing to one another, and when people read this press release, they need to feel something.

If the only feeling you want to create is the desire to spend, then your press release is going to fall flat on its face.

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5. Relate the topic to current events/news.

Along with the desire to move, we want to feel connected to the present. Isn’t that a big part of what makes the internet magical? Find something relevant that you can use to help construct an engaging story and integrate it into the press release.

For search engine marketing purposes, to increase its value, it would be ideal to find an article or news story that has titles with words that you can hyperlink. So if you’re writing a press release that involves lemons, find an article that includes the word lemon that was written and published within the last day, week or month. Get it?

6. Be more than a pitch.

This goes along with the prime directive, but the point here is that the press release needs to be more than just a marketing method. It needs to offer people more. Honestly, isn’t it the same for you? All you have to do is think about your own relationship, as a consumer, to internet marketing methods and you’ll know exactly what kind of things to offer other than just, “I’ve got this new product/service to sell you.”

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7. Sprinkle it with hard data.

Everyone appreciates hard data. With hard data you’re going to engage both parts of the human psyche—the imaginative and the critical. Your story and all the great copywriting is going to take them on a journey which releases the news in a good way and then the fact, figures, data, info-graphics, etc., is the information that really legitimizes everything.

We’re talking marketing 101 here. Sell the dream with a mixture of storytelling and facts. If you have tons of facts, break them down into just the top 3–5 and then sprinkle the press release with them. Cover equal ground. Some in the intro, some quotes from a study after the first section, another link to this news story or that news story in the second section, and so on.

8. Give them a CTA.

A CTA is a Call to Action. In other words, it’s the thing that the person does next. They’re going to go somewhere. They’re going to click something, or just type another search into the search engine, or visit a bookmark or they can do what you tell them to do if you’ve written a great press release with a clear CTA.

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Go here. Check this out. Read this next. Give them something to do! Don’t be coy with it, or create button language that tries to play conservative; just tell them what to do next and make sure they can see the path to get there.

9. Edit & polish!

If you haven’t edited and polished your writing before you publish, then consider yourself still a grasshopper. You haven’t reached mastery yet. There’s still much to learn.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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