A good press release is tight, to the point, and doesn’t waste any words. If your press releases don’t meet this criteria, there’s a better than average chance that reporters will take one quick look at them and move on to the next one. Why? Because reporters are busier than ever before. Every day, even reporters working for the smallest publications get bombarded with press releases, and there’s simply not enough time to read them all. So, if your press release is too long, you’re out of luck. Even worse, if it just looks long, despite having an average word count, you’ll lose the reporter’s interest immediately.
The last point is one I want to focus on today. Sometimes, it’s not about the actual word count of your press release; it’s about how long it looks to the naked eye. In other words, sometimes a press release that’s only 300 words may look like it’s 500+ words because of the way it’s laid out and vice versa.
Presentation matters. Here are some common writing and formatting mistakes that make press releases look longer than they really are:
- You use long sentences—While your long sentences might not technically be run-on sentences, they often drag on, contain too many ideas, and cause you to lose the reader’s attention. Keep your sentences short and punchy. Toss too many commas into a sentence, and it’s going to make your press release look long and tiresome.
- You use jargon—Technical jargon and meaningless buzzwords don’t usually have a place in press releases. Not only are these words often long and intimidating, but many times, the journalist might not even know what they mean. Try to keep the language in your press releases plain and simple.
- Your paragraphs are huge blocks of text—Nothing will turn off a reporter faster than opening your press release and seeing one huge block of text. Long paragraphs just aren’t reader-friendly. Keep your paragraphs to 3-5 sentences so your words have a little more room to breathe and the content is easier to scan.
- You aren’t using bullet points—Bullet points and lists are excellent tools for delivering key pieces of information in an easy-to-digest format. Rather than spreading the information over several paragraphs, use bullet points to quickly highlight the main points. It will make your press release look shorter and tighter.
Be honest: are you guilty of any of these press release writing mistakes?
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/offer/prchecklist.html