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How to write a press release

Writing. The stuff that takes imaginations on journeys never before seen.

For some people, it’s rocket science. They can’t seem to unravel the intricacies of crafting content in a way that compels people to read more than the first few words.

For others, connecting words to powerful emotions in a way that tugs at heartstrings is first nature. There’s no magic, no complex formula.

For the former, you can grind away for hours and still come up empty.

For the latter, you can whip up something satisfying in moments – and people will come from miles around to get a taste.

Time is the most precious commodity anyone possesses. We hoard it. We share it grudgingly. We will spend hours evaluating where we’ll spend it.

Is it possible to move from the amateur hour to a mainstream pro? Maybe. With the desire and focused energy – and time, many people have accomplished things that others told them they couldn’t.

Although a press release might cover a business or an event, it’s not an advertisement.

Regardless of the reported decline of news media, it’s foolhardy to ignore the influence that traditional media still wield. Major newspapers and broadcast outlets still have the power to make – and break – news.

Understanding what makes a good story is a vital piece of the puzzle. Start from the perspective of the reader: WIIFM – “What’s in it for me?”

What is it that would interest people? Location? Uniqueness of offering? Special features? Extra value or savings? Impact on a community?

Sometimes business owners really are overly confident that their products and services appeal to “everyone,” when the reality is that there is a more select group of prospects who might be attracted to them.

More often, business owners know who would be interested but are unclear how to best reach them.

There’s a fine balance to be maintained. Stuffing content with every reason under the sun why the solution being offered is the best one dilutes the message – and watered down content without a clear focus lacks appeal.

A journalist with decades of experience crafting news stories can cut through the clutter faster than a knife through warm butter; experienced knowledgeable pros don’t get caught up in the fluff.

The point needs to be understood in the blink of an eye. With thousands of other stories out there, if it requires exertion to decipher the intent of the press release, no one will take the time to do it.

If it’s really not possible to identify a single purpose for the press release, then consider limiting the content to a few key elements.

A story doesn’t have to contain sophisticated language or be peppered with industry lingo to be considered important, either.
There are countless ways to approach any subject. It’s nice to think that editors are sitting around waiting for news to hit, but the reality is they are busy people with voicemail, email and meetings, too.

If it’s difficult to identify a distinguishing characteristic, consider tapping into a variety of sources for feedback. Then, figure out how to connect that singular identifier with items that interest a specific readership.