Do you struggle with getting people to read your press releases? Maybe it’s not that the content is bad. Maybe it’s that you’re not presenting the content in a way that’s appealing to your audience’s natural reading tendencies.
Countless studies have been performed that track the way people read content online. And as it turns out, our eyes have a very particular way of absorbing content on a computer screen. The main thing you need to know is that people don’t really read content online; instead, they scan it in an F-shaped pattern. So, it’s your job to organize your press releases in a way that makes it easy for readers to view it, scan it, and digest the story quickly and effectively.
Here are 5 simple and subtle techniques you can use to make your press releases more readable.
- Use Numerals — One of the things we’ve learned is that writing numbers as numerals instead of spelling them out (e.g. “33” instead of “thirty-three”) makes the eye stop and take notice. Maybe this is because numerals have a different shape than letters, or maybe it’s because numbers tend to represent facts and important information. Whatever the reason, the point is to use numerals in your press releases.
- Place important information to the left — Because people on the web scan content in an F-shaped pattern, their eyes tend to focus most heavily on the left side of the screen. This means you need to try to position your content in such a way that the most important information is on the left-hand side of the press release. One way to do this is to start each paragraph with the most important point. Another way is to use bullet points to highlight key information.
- Include bullet points and lists — Speaking of bullet points and lists, these are great tools for breaking up the content, adding interesting formatting that catches the eye, and quickly delivering important points of information in a way that’s easy for people to quickly scan.
- Keep your paragraphs short — Long blocks of text are not conducive to easy reading and scanning. When people see a long block of text, they tend to skip over it or just stop reading altogether. Keep the paragraphs in your press release short, snappy, and inviting.
- Use formatting to make important text stand out — Another way to guide the eyes through your press release is to use special formatting to highlight your main points. You can bold important phrases, italicize key information, underline a key point, etc.
Do you use any of these tactics when writing your press releases?
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download a free copy of the PR Checklist – a 24 point list of Press Release Dos and Don’ts here: http://www.ereleases.com/prchecklist.html