The practice of publishing a press release is one as old as the industry itself. Pushing out a press release is a quick and effective way to put out information on a business, venture, new product, or event. But the downfall of the press release can also be the way public relations professionals and media members regard the sheer volume that inundates members of any industry.
What if there was a way to truly make press releases pop and grab attention? Is there any reason why they shouldn’t be appealing to read? Most press releases follow a similar formula: answer the “W” questions, who, what, when, where, and why. In most cases, as long as the release ticks all of these boxes then it’s considered ready to publish. But let’s take it a step further.
A press release should grab the attention of the reader from the first paragraph. A dry, hard-to-read first paragraph full of too many numbers and specifics can turn off readers, particularly media members who may simply be looking for a story angle. Shouldn’t a press release compel the reader to take action, whether it’s to purchase or explore the product or publish more press on it?
While a press release isn’t the same as a news article, the release can still share the element of “grabbing” the reader with strong and compelling language. Focus on being concise and appealing — no one wants to get bogged down in too many specifics, especially if they are unfamiliar with the business or the industry. In most cases, the appeal of a press release is to gain more interest from outside consumers, not alienate them with information above their pay grade.
Next, consider adding other elements to a press release. We live in modern times, where information is easily accessible and optimizing content for reader consumption is simpler than ever. So take advantage of this! Try sending out a press release that contains an embedded video, an infographic, or some other type of imagery that adds some color to the copy. Including other forms of media isn’t tacky or self-serving. If anything, this may make the press release more informative and engaging, which accomplishes the goal of generating some more buzz around the topic discussed. So don’t be afraid to experiment a little and put together a more dynamic, fresh type of press release.
Lastly, make it easy to find more information. Remember, a press release is only intended to cover pertinent information that piques readers’ interest and compels them to take action to learn more. For that reason, only including a media contact and email may not be sufficient.
What if the reader just wants to learn more about the brand? Include links to social media (hint: an electronically sent press release can have live links included inside it!), YouTube, and the website for the business. Make the information easily accessible. To take it one step further, the press release could potentially include a link to a designated landing page with more information specifically about the event, product, or service discussed in the release. Talk about making it easy!
Crafting the perfect press release can be formulaic, but exercising some creative thinking may have a wide-ranging effect on the results of putting information out to the public. Don’t feel as if your press releases have to look the same as everyone else’s. Up the ante a bit and set a new standard for public relations.
5W Public Relations CEO Ronn Torossian