When it comes to press release writing, one of the primary marks of an amateur is sentence complexity. Here’s what normally happens: a small business owner will have a piece of news they think would be great to get out to the press in order to generate a bit of buzz surrounding their company. And since small business owners tend to want to wear as many hats as possible (either for lack of funds or for the need to control their “baby”), they will Google “Press Release Format” and figure out how to structure their own release. Then they’re off, typing away.
But the novice writer, who for some reason always thinks they are a good writer, tends to reflect back to the days of college research papers, where long, complicated sentences would earn the applause of the professor. In other words, you’d get A’s for verbosity. The problem is that these sentences are good for little else.
See, writing press releases, or any other business writing for that matter, is a whole other beast.
The Difference in Writing Press Releases
Think about what happens with your press release after you’ve written it. Whether you choose to email it out, stick it in an envelope and send it via snail mail, or put it up on one of those PR sites, you can bet that anyone who might read it is pressed for time. They’re on a thin deadline and looking for something quick to help them meet the timeline while still producing a worthwhile story.
Now, imagine being that reporter or that blogger and running across a press release with an opening sentence like this: “Bearing in mind that the holidays are peeking around the corner and that winter weather is ready to blow into the area, the XYZ Cooling and Heating Company has decided to release a hopefully well-received offer to slash their prices in half for the next month in an unprecedented attempt to assist the needy homeowners in their Zip Code.”
Did the sentence convey meaning in an eloquent way? Sure. Will any reporter ever get past the first 3 or 4 words? Hell no. Within 5 seconds, they want to know what your news is and if it will prove beneficial to cover. And if they have to trudge through a bunch of unnecessary verbiage to get the meaning…well, they won’t.
Don’t Try to Impress
Look, you don’t write press releases to impress people. Face it, whoever is going to read your press release is likely 10 times the writer you’ll ever be. You know why? It’s their job. That said, deliver the message quickly.
Not sure you can handle it? Then hire someone to write the release for you. You can usually find a press release writer for a fair price.
Had trouble keeping your releases straight and to the point? Let’s discuss in the replies.
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