In our blistering-fast online world, people have less patience than ever before. In just a handful of seconds, they form a lasting first impression of your business that may be very difficult to change. In fact, science has determined about how long you have to make that impression: seven seconds.
One of the first points of contact that journalists will have with you is through a press release. It naturally follows that the best press release posits you as a reliable and authoritative leader in your industry. And unless you are starting a press release with a strong opening hook, journalists have no incentive to keep reading.
Even strong writers struggle with making their opening comments stick. So in this guide, we will cover 11 effective tips for starting the best press release.
Humans love novelty. New, interesting, shiny things pique our interest like nothing else. It triggers a dopamine response, and drives us to dig deeper to learn more.
If you want the strongest opening hook possible, then throw in the most novel information that you can. This could be the announcement of your latest product line with industry-first new features. It could be the announcement of a partnership with another company–one that will change the trajectory of your business forever.
Whatever that novel information may be, put it in the first paragraph. Even more than that, put it in the title of the press release. You want this to be the first thing that journalists see when it goes out for press release distribution.
Naturally, do not make any claims that you cannot back up. If you have a clickbait title that makes an empty promise, readers will feel cheated. They will be skeptical about any further press releases from you in the future.
If you don’t have information that is necessarily novel, sometimes a rephrase might do the trick.
Suppose you are onboarding a new executive. Rather than delivering that information as it is, you could put a spin on it with that executives past exploits. Or, the new direction he will take the company.
In a similar vein to the first tip, you want the headline to do some heavylifting as well. Have a headline that really leaps out at the reader.
Of course, do this within reason. A common faux pas of press releases is that they incorporate marketing speak. They end up sounding more like an advertisement, and less like the informative announcement they should be.
Even if someone never reads the press release, you want to build brand awareness. Effective headlines leave a reminder that you exist in the minds of future, potential customers.
The purpose of a press release is to be concise and to inform. This is the sort of thing that people expect to read in a couple of minutes, not longer. That means they want to get to the meat of your press release as quickly as is reasonable.
If you drag your feet, customers will begin to lose interest. They may even feel that you are wasting their time, which will drive them to click away. So for this tip, make sure that your press release gets to the point ASAP.
This is also a key component of SEO optimization. When your press release appears on Google, the search engine will summarize it for people to skim. If they can’t get the general point just from their search page, they’re unlikely to click through to find out.
Press releases follow a template that is generally the same across industries, countries, and regions. Journalists and press come to your release expecting a similar format. If they find that you have a veered away from that format, it makes your information less accessible and therefore less desirable.
There is comfort in familiarity. And in the press industry, sticking to the established and accepted norms is best. Try not to go too far beyond the most common press template.
This may not seem like a tip that is related to starting off a release, but bear with us. Think of how most people will view your press release on the Internet. They are going to open the link, skim, and decide if they want to read the article.
One of the key factors that will determine if someone reads the entirety of your press release is the length. If they see that you have gone over the average 400 words common to press releases, they make click away. But if they see a press release that seems to be the right size, they are more likely to continue reading.
If you are struggling to find something novel as an opening hook, consider statistics. People love statistics, especially if they provide an interesting factoid they never knew. It’s an excellent way to lead, and invites the reader to dig deeper.
The great thing about statistics is that you can use them to lead into the topic at hand. Even if they are not directly related to today’s specific press release, they make an excellent segue.
In many cases, your press release relates to recent events. As people are perusing other press releases, they are looking for current, relatable information. A headline or press release intro that points to something seasonal may get additional eyeballs.
Again, consider how people scan when they read the Internet. They are subconsciously looking for worthwhile and relevant information. Something that has to do with the current time of year or season is more likely to draw their attention.
While learning styles may not exist, there are certainly people that are more visual than others. A certain portion of your readership will be drawn to clean, high-quality images. If they see an article with low-quality or irrelevant stock imagery, they may not look further.
Include the best and most relevant images to spruce up your press release. And importantly, follow press release trends. See how your competitors are garnishing their press releases and follow suit.
From the headline to the body of the article, keywords are the law of the Internet these days. They are a core component in SEO optimization, as well as indicators for the subject matter of an article. Your readers will use them to form their expectations of the press release as they skim.
Keyword research is an important part of SEO optimization, and it is no less important in a press release. After all, bots and algorithms will be combing through your article to feed it to relevant content feeds. If the keywords are not up to snuff, then that could harm the spread of your press release across social media and search engines.
Good copy in a press release rolls off the tongue–or in the case of the Internet, flows easily when reading. Pay attention to how you yourself read articles on the Internet. Notice how often you are skimming, jumping paragraphs, and leaping from keyword to keyword?
Now imagine how frustrating it might be for a reader to trudge through a garbled headline. If it takes a second read to understand something in the intro, that conveys unprofessionalism to the reader. It makes it look like you fired your editor to save a few dollars.
As you prepare for press release distribution, give it a few passes for ease of reading. Most importantly, let people who have never read it before give it a shot. Ask them to to point to areas that are not immediately comprehensible, or have poor flow.
As you can see, there are a lot of techniques that go into effective press release openings. Even for strong writers, it can be challenging to craft a press release that gets immediate interest and traction. So why not outsource this complicated process to someone who is an expert?
Find successful case studies from press release firms that you like. Then get yourself a company who can handle the entire process for you. You will no longer have to worry about balancing the chemistry of your press release and hope it doesn’t go belly upl.
There is no cut-and-dry formula to start the best press release and maximize reader engagement. You must employ the above tips to ensure that people click through and read your press releases with regularity. Or, you could go with a press release expert and have them take things from there.
eReleases will handle the entire process of a press release for you, from creation to distribution. Use our order form here and get custom-made press releases for your organization.