Don’t let anyone tell you that marketing is easy.
It’s not. It’s hard. It's time consuming. There’s a whole lot to be gained when you get it right, which means that it’s very much worth putting the time and effort into doing just that.
One of the first tasks you’ll want to master is writing a killer press release. This is a great way to let publications know what your brand is up to and, with a little luck and a lot of elbow grease, getting some free coverage. But where should you start?
Well, let’s take a quick look at some of the basic rules that you need to follow here.
1. Make sure the headline is attention-grabbing.
The headline is the first thing that your reader will see. It should grab their attention and make them actually want to read more. Avoid cliche words like ‘amazing,’ ‘incredible.’ and (eek!) ‘jaw-dropping.’
Instead, you want to make sure that your release has an air of authenticity. Consider what it is that makes your story original and different. It could be a new collection of pieces or a designer that you’ve never worked with before. Weave that notion into your headline so that it’s right to the point.
2. Next, come up with an enticing hook.
The first line of your press release is often referred to as the hook. There’s a reason for that; it’s supposed to ‘hook’ people into the story. The key here is to give just enough away to intrigue the audience, but not so much away so that they stop reading.
For example, you could explain that your lingerie boutique has started working with an emerging new designer, but not mention the designer’s name. That way, should the reader want to know the full story, they will need to read on and find out!
3. Keep things short and sweet...
Never underestimate just how busy people are. You don’t know your reader’s schedule but you should assume that they are in high demand. What’s more, people have low attention spans these days, thanks to the internet. In 2015, it was reported that the average person has an attention span of just eight seconds. That means that you don’t have long to engage and impress your reader.
Keep things as short and sweet as you can. You should also focus on making the content ‘scannable,’ i.e. ensuring that it can be read quickly and easily by anyone. That means avoiding bulky paragraphs in favor of bullet points and short subsections. You could also include headers too.
4. ...But include all of the important information.
While you don’t want to overwhelm the reader with too much information, you should still make sure that all the vital information is there. With that in mind, here are the questions that your press release should be answering:
What has happened?
Why has it happened?
Why does it matter?
What is going to happen next?
Who can the reader contact?
If you’ve covered all of the above, you can be pretty sure that the crucial information is packed into the release. The important thing to remember here is that, while you don’t want to spoon-feed the reader, you need to keep things simple and easy to understand.
5. Include an engaging quote.
An interesting quote does wonders for an article, news story, or review. You’re going to be sending the press release out to journalists and writers, and so you should make their job as easy as possible.
Including a quick quote about the story (even if it’s from you!) will add a little more meat to the whole thing. If you’re feeling extra creative, you could also get a quote from an industry expert or another external source. Simple.
6. Avoid ‘fluff’ and overly-detailed descriptions.
Are you guilty of writing too much fluff? If your press release ends up with a word count of over a thousand, the answer is probably going to be a massive yes. Don’t make the mistake of writing more than you need to here.
There are no prizes for writing as many words as possible here. If you just can’t help yourself, it may be a case of cutting out some words when it comes to the editing process. Keep this rule in mind: If it doesn’t add anything new or intriguing to the story, get rid of it.
7. Proofread, proofread, proofread!
Finally, you absolutely have to proofread your press release before you send it out. A release packed with spelling and grammar errors is unlikely to impress anyone.
Plus, you will likely find that the reader switches off after they notice the mistake. Take a few minutes once you’ve finished writing just to read over the release and make sure that it makes sense. It really is that simple!
So long as you follow these rules, you should have no problem creating a press release that turns more than a few heads. It’s a great way to boost your PR. Give it a shot for yourself. It may not be perfect the first time around, but the more you practice this art, the closer you’ll get!