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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.