In general, your press releases shouldn’t be very long. In most cases, you should be able to write an effective press release in just a few hundred words. However, special situations may exist that call for a longer press release.
Unfortunately, most people don’t like to read a lot of words, and if you send out a long press release, you have to be very careful that you don’t scare your target audience away simply by the length of your press release.
The good news is there are many things you can do to make your long press releases less intimidating and much easier to read.
People Like to Scan Rather Than Read
The most important thing to remember is that most people are scanners, not readers. That means that whenever someone receives your press release, they’re likelier to scan over it than actually read it word for word.
That means you need to focus on making your long press releases easier to scan. Your goal should be to structure your press release in such a way that a reporter or consumer can quickly scan over it and get a good idea of what the story is about.
So, how can you make your press releases easier to scan?
- Keep your paragraphs short — Whenever we see big chunks of text, our eyes instinctively glaze over and we just don’t feel like making the effort to read it. That’s why it’s so important that you keep your paragraphs short and to the point. Your press release paragraphs should be from 2-4 sentences in length so readers can breeze through the bite-sized chunks quickly.
- Start each paragraph with the most important information — Again, we tend to scan content rather than read every word. By putting the most important information at the beginning of the paragraph, you increase its visibility by making sure it’s not buried in the middle of a big block of text.
- Use descriptive subheads to break it into sections — Bolded, descriptive subheads will instantly stand out, even to those scanning very quickly. In a long press release, you can break the story into sections and have clear, descriptive, and compelling subheads at the beginning of each section. Again, this will make it easier for someone scanning over your press release to understand what your story is about.
- Use bulleted lists to highlight important information — Because of their unique formatting, bulleted lists stand out and are thus great for grabbing the attention of those scanning through your press release quickly. Use the list format to highlight important story points.
- Don’t waste words — Finally, edit your press releases carefully. Writers have often been told that after they write their first draft they should cut it in half and then cut that second draft in half again to get rid of all the fluff. Make sure you’re not wasting any words in your press release. When in doubt, cut it out.
Have you ever sent out an especially long press release? Share your experiences by commenting below.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab three free ebooks, including the Big Press Release Book and Twitter Tactics, here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/freebooks.html