Headline. Opening sentence. Body. (What’s the story, why does it matter?) Contact information.
These are the ingredients of a successful press release. Professionals and entrepreneurs should know how to write to create one. Shockingly, many of them don’t. They are formulaic, by nature, but so are poetry, tweets, columns and other written communications. Everyone has constraints. Chefs work within an 8-inch pan to create an omelet, and the great ones know how to pick the best ingredients, and mix them to create a savory sensation. Writers can season their sentences within the confines of a release.
Press releases are not features. They are not informal pitches. They are formal, official announcements regarding something new or significant about you, your business, a speaking event, or something of that nature. They should promote your business, archive important data for future use, and hopefully, improve your SEO. Within this narrow box the biggest problem, besides long sentences filled with acronyms, centers on intent. It’s like that Toby Keith song, “I Wanna Talk About Me”:
“I want to talk about me
Want to talk about I
Want to talk about number one
On my me my
What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see
I like talking about you, you you usually, but ocasionally
I want to talk about me
I want to talk about me.”
If you’re trying to convince the media to publicize your story, or posting this on social media hoping others will share, think of Dale Carnegie and his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. “First, arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.” The process is simple. Not easy, but simple. The three most important elements are:
- Write a short, catchy headline.
- Get to the Point –summarize your subject in the first paragraph.
- Body – Make it relevant to your audience
Subject headline – This is the MOST IMPORTANT feature. If your headline is not good, your email won’t be opened. Some reporters get 500 to 1,000 emails per day. In tennis, if you can’t hit the ball over the net, the point is over. If your headline stinks, you are done. Quickly get to the subject: what’s the story? Why should I care? Why now? Bonus: A good headline forces you to organize your thoughts.