Before everyone gets up in arms, I’m not here to say that the press release is dead. It’s not. What I am here to say is that the old way of writing press releases may no longer be the best tactic. No, I’m not just talking about SEO and optimizing your press releases. I’m talking about much more than that.
The truth is today’s most effective press releases aren’t really written like press releases at all. They’re written like news stories. And there’s a big difference. Old press releases follow the basic press release template and tend to be, well, dull. News stories, also known as feature releases, features, or feature stories, on the other hand, are written like a story you’d see in a newspaper, magazine, blog, or some other publication.
In other words, I’m saying that you should write your press releases from the perspective of a reporter. You become the one to tell the story, and you write it in a way that it could be published as is. Because let’s face it, with online press release distribution, a lot of end-users will be seeing your press release as is, so it needs to be captivating.
How can you start writing your press releases more like news stories?
- Spend time reading articles in the publications you’re targeting – Study the publications you want your story to land in. Pay attention to the way they tell the stories, and do your best to capture that style. The more your feature release sounds like one that would fit in that publication, the easier it will be for the editors of said publication to see that. And the better it will come across when distributed to news sites online.
- Find the hook – It’s pretty simple really. You have to find a good angle for your feature story that makes people care. Ask yourself, “Why would anyone other than me care about this story?” If you can’t find a good answer, you don’t have a good hook.
- Cut the self-indulgent marketing crap – When’s the last time you saw a legitimate news story that was full of marketing hype? Sure, press releases are a marketing tool, but not in the same way that a blatant advertisement is. Focus on telling a legitimate news story, not a marketing message disguised as a press release. Reporters and consumers both don’t read the news to be marketed to. They want good stories. Nothing more. Nothing less.
The fact of the matter is that with more and more of your press releases being published online for all the world to see, the quality of your press releases has to be higher than ever before. You’re now the reporter. You’re now the one that has to find and tell a great story. You’re facing a tougher crowd than ever before, so your story has to be the best it can be.
So stop writing press releases. Start writing news stories, regardless if you call them feature releases, features, or feature stories.
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