With Twitter forcing us to give the news in 140 characters and Instagram encouraging us to send a picture to say 1,000 words, the press release needs to stand out, dare I say – sing – to set your company apart from the competition and escape a reporter’s delete button.
I recently read an article in PR Tactics by writing coach Ann Wylie about better press release openers. Overall, I agree with her three points.
1. Lead with the benefits of your product or service. Even if the product doesn’t seem obviously interesting, you can still point out the benefits.
Example: Everyday, thousands of employees clock in and out for each other — a process called “buddy punching” — causing employers to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in business. Now employers call foil that trick with a time clock that lets you clock in with your face.
2. Lead with the two elements that the readers will find most interesting for news leads.
Example: A new online healthcare resource launched today connects patients to doctors for healthcare savings and price transparency. This is important because more and more Americans have high-deductible plans and are paying out-of-pocket for their health care.
3. Illustrate your key message instead of just restating it for feature leads. For feature releases, be descriptive and use real examples.
Example: A typical day at the office for NIC Law Enforcement employees is not at the office. So to manage the company’s time and attendance, the company lets their mobile sales force clock in with smart phones and tablets.
Here are two more points that I think are equally important when writing your news release.
4. Let the numbers grab your audience, but don’t bog down the lead with too many statistics.
Example: About 30 million Americans suffer from XYZ disease, but the leading medication causes debilitating side effects. Now a new drug shown in clinical studies to be equally effective but with fewer side effects shows promise for treating this condition.
5. Make ‘em laugh. Add tasteful humor to make the release fun, but newsworthy.
Example: According to a new survey, the ideal age difference between a couple is when the man is four years and (this is the sort of weird part) four months older than the woman. Which means that my ideal mate was born sometime in February of 1982. (Source: HowAboutWe.com)
With all of the things grabbing readers’ attention these days, it’s important that your lead stands out and gets noticed. Why? Because whatever you can do to polish up old, tired leads is going to make your client shine.
Tags: editorial, media relations, news, PR, PR plan, PR Tactics, press releases, public relations