There are many vital parts to a press release. Ideally, you want each and every aspect of the piece to be as amazing as possible, especially when you take into account how difficult it is for yours to get noticed by anyone.
However, you can get away with one or two slip-ups in some areas of your press release. For example, if your last paragraph fizzles out a little bit, the editor might overlook it because the rest is fine. Or if your contact information isn’t completely filled out (perhaps you forgot your cell phone number) they’ll contact you in another way if they’re interested in the release.
To achieve success, though, your first paragraph is roughly as important as your title. If you botch it, your chances of getting printed or noticed at all go down quite a bit, if not all the way down to zero. Why is it so important? There are a few reasons.
It’s the Gateway to the Rest of the Piece
Your title is an attention grabber, designed to make a reporter or editor stop in their tracks and at least look at the rest of your press release. When someone reads it, they should be anxious to check out the first paragraph which will give them a better idea what you’re writing about.
And this is where you could accidentally drop the ball completely. If your opening paragraph is weak, nobody will read past it. The opening paragraph is like a gate standing between you and your readers; if the gate is mangled, broken, and downright scary, they won’t bother opening it. They’ll just go another route.
It Shows Them Why They Should Be Interested
Most editors and reporters know a catchy title doesn’t necessarily translate to a solid press release. The opening paragraph is going to be the first time your press release has an opportunity to show off what you have to offer.
Again, the rest of the release has to be good, but your first paragraph has to be amazing. This is because it gives them the first look at why they should be interested in the piece. If the title is a tiny taste of the wine, the opening paragraph is a full glass that lets them know if the bottle is worth sharing with friends at the table.
It Shows Your Level of Competency
Editors and reporters also realize that a lot of the press releases they receive aren’t from professional writers. But they also need you to have a certain level of competency when it comes to grammar, spelling, and cohesion. They’re not going to print a garbled mess, nor do they have time to fix your release up for you.
Your opening paragraph is your chance to show you’re worth taking a chance on. If you can’t make it through one simple paragraph, there’s no reason why they should continue on with the rest of the piece. However, if it’s solid enough, they may be willing to overlook a few mistakes later on in the release.
How many drafts do you go through when writing your first paragraph?
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download Five (5) Free PR and Press Release eBooks ($67 Value) here: http://www.ereleases.com/offer/bundle.html