Start with a BANG!
The first thing the person reading your press release will see is the title, so naturally it has to be strong. Your first task is to produce a heading that grabs attention. How you achieve this is largely influenced by your press releases’ objective, your specific product/brand/service, the industry and your audience. I personally love a good pun but humour isn’t your only means for enticing readers, the possibilities are as endless as the writer’s imagination. That said, be careful to make sure that the heading is relevant to the theme of the press release. You can grab all the attention you like however, if the heading doesn’t match content or misleads the reader it brings you company’s integrity and agenda into question. There are a number of elements that have to come together in order to nail a press release, be aware that although some people say, any press is good press, this doesn’t always prove to be true.
Reel ‘em in
Within the first few sentences is when you get ‘em. Draw them in and make them want to read on. You can achieve this a number of ways. Reel them in with curiosity, get them hooked with intrigue, or urge them to read on with expectation. Pose a question in the opening paragraph that begs to be answered, disrupt their expectations, and surprise them.
Media outlets across all platforms receive press releases day-in-day-out, one after the other—the trick is to stand out. You’ve already nailed the title and proved you can talk-the-talk, a killer first paragraph says to the reader, we’re not all talk, we’re not making a foundation-less claim; we can walk-the-walk too and here’s why.
Include killer sub-headings & images
It was revealed in a study recently released by Microsoft that the attention span of humans has decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to just eight seconds. This means your chances of engagement are slimmer than ever before. Using killer sub-headings to win back the attention of the reader just as it begins to dwindle is an effective way of combating our increasingly short attention spans. Furthermore, visual content is king and paramount to engagement. Having some type of visual stimulus within your press release should not even be up for debate. How much you have, however, is up to your own discretion. We definitely suggest at the very least you consider using images to break up your text as an alternative or combined with the use of sub-headings.
Be witty, be engaging
We cannot emphasise how important is to stand out amongst the mound of papers or inbox full of emails your recipients will be receiving every damn day. Know your audience, know your objective and shape an effective press release strategy accordingly. Be informative and straight to the point, but also creative. Explore the many creative avenues open to you; humour, wit, puns, gimmicks, slogans, pop culture references—there is a huge amount of creative tools at your disposal. It all starts with your imagination, c’mon to a writer that’s like being a kid in a candy store.
You’ve put a lot of hard work, sweat and tears into this press release, don’t do yourself a disservice with a lackluster finish. Summarise your main points and drive home your objective with something that leaves an impression and if all else fails; use gifs (but not really).