Are your press releases falling on deaf ears? Whether you’re writing an announcement yourself or engaging with professionals – press releases remain a critical component of a well-rounded communications strategy, and care should be taken to ensure that they deliver maximum impact.
Here’s how to make sure your press releases are a slam dunk.
Yes, You (Definitely) Can Have Too Much of a Good Thing
Repeat after me: less is more. When every word you put into an announcement competes with every other word, it is critical to be very selective on what makes the cut.
In other words, don’t throw a bunch of information out there and hope something sticks.
Less is more: Impactful
Less is more: Easily understandable
Less is more: Focused
In fact, according to a recent Microsoft study, people have an average attention span of about 8 seconds. You need to make those 8 seconds count.
Creating a compelling, impactful narrative starts with a few important questions.
These will sound familiar to our clients, and lay the foundation for content that does what it is intended to do:
- Who is your audience?
- How does your news track with trends and market drivers?
- What is the goal of your announcement?
- Are you looking to just go on record or would you like to win lots of coverage?
- If a reader only takes one thig away from your announcement – what is it?
First Things First
The headline, subhead and first paragraph are easily the most important parts of your release. The reader should get the gist of the whole story by the end of the first paragraph.
After your first paragraph is where we can go into more detail, deliver context, provide proof points or offer other supporting content. Don’t forget to take the opportunity to link to even more details that live elsewhere – your website, a datasheet, even a blog – should the reader desire them.
Keep a Narrow Focus
While it can be tempting to combine multiple notable items in one announcement, this should be done on a case-by-case basis. The strength and ‘stickiness’ of each element should be carefully weighed. Ask yourself: Is the whole greater than the sum of its parts – or would each storyline be better served by having a separate focus – and thus its own release?
If it’s coverage you’re after, keep in mind that publication writers receive up to hundreds of press releases per day – make it easy for them to see the value in yours and get what they need from it.
Getting the best content out of your PR and marketing partners is truly a skill that can be refined and honed. After all, at the end of the day – we all want the same thing: clear, compelling content that resonates directly with target audiences.