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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Stewart

How to Write an Attention-Grabbing Press Release

Press coverage is an amazing source of FREE (other than your time) advertising, the recommendation and introduction to a new audience is so valuable. Plus with digital coverage in online lifestyle guides and blogs, the backlinks to your website will help your website's SEO and boost your ranking in search results. Here are my tips for writing attention-grabbing press releases that will help you get free coverage.

1. When to Send It and What to Write About

The most attention-grabbing press releases will feature some interesting news or a timely offer. Maybe you have a cool new product or newsworthy event to share? Seasonal offerings (i.e. Christmas gifts) or items related to current events, such as COVID lockdown, are also likely to catch the press’ attention. The press need interesting content that's easy for them to use, so if you have something interesting going on in your business - share it and don't be afraid to put yourself out there.

2. Subject Lines - The First Battle is to Get it Opened

Editors and journalists receive 100s of press releases every day and most of them don’t get opened. You’ll need to make yours stand out in an inbox full of subject lines. To stand out from the crowd, don’t be boring and business-like. Keep things light and interesting. Be Witty. Play on words. Make them curious. Let them know that there’s something in it for them, namely interesting content that they can share with their audience.

3. Tone of Voice

Lifestyle media usually take a casual, light and humorous tone of voice. Play to this by avoiding business-speak. MOST press will cut & paste from your press release, so make it easy for them and use their kind of language. You should also write your press release in the third person, i.e. ‘their widgets are absolutely amazing’ not ‘my widgets are absolutely amazing’ so that it’s easier for them to cut and paste.

4. Copywriting Tips

You may not be a professional writer, and that’s okay, you can still write attention-grabbing press releases that will get your business noticed. Here are a few tips for copywriting for those non-writers among us. Think about who you are writing for and keep that person in mind as you write. As you write, don’t censor yourself, just let the ideas flow and come back and edit later. The most important thing is to get something out of your head and onto paper. Then leave it overnight and come back and edit it with fresh eyes the next day. After you’re happy with it, let someone else read it through before you send it.

5. Give Things Cool Names

PR agencies are genius at naming things. They make the most mundane things sound interesting by giving them quirky and creative names. Think about pop culture references, alliteration, rhyming and humour to get you started. Great names can make your release stand out from the others.

6. Be Interesting

To catch the attention of the press, you need an angle. Maybe you are offering something new or unique in your area? Perhaps your focus is on sustainable or organic materials or fair work practices? Whatever makes your business special is what you should be sharing. There must be a clear reason why press should be interested in this.

7. Include Pictures - Good Ones

If the press decide your content is worth sharing, you don’t want to send them searching for images to use with their article. Remember, we are trying to make it as easy as possible to share your news. You need professional-looking, clear and attention-grabbing photos right at the top of the press release. Visuals speak louder than text when it comes to stopping someone from scrolling. Including photos removes another barrier that might keep someone from sharing about your business.

8. Give Them Everything They Need

Again, we are focused on making things as easy as possible for the press. Send your press release with a Word and PDF copy attached. Create a Google Drive or Dropbox folder to include the background information on your business and a selection of images for them to use and share that link with them. The easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to give you coverage.

9. Consider Sending Freebies

This may not work for everyone, but sometimes it’s a good idea to let them try your product or service. This will make you stand out and will allow them to write from a more realistic place of actually having tried what you are offering. It’s not bribery! You are simply giving the press an opportunity to experience your business firsthand.

10. Don’t Give Up

I get it. It can be frustrating to put yourself out there and not hear anything back. Sometimes it’s just timing. If your email lands in someone’s inbox on a day where they’re working on a relevant story, or they’re hunting around for content, or it’s just the right season for that item, then you might get a mention. On the other hand, if your email lands when they’re overwhelmed or inundated with content, then they might take a pass. Don’t stop putting yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to follow up either, as sometimes it’s just the case that people are busy and didn’t even see your message.

Have you had success with press releases? Let me know!

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