“An excellent headline and an information-filled first few paragraphs to skim could be the difference between publication and hitting the delete button,” says McClenning.
Serdar says this is a great way to do a journalist’s work for them — encouraging them to use what you’ve written.
“You want your press release to be so well written that they can read the first paragraph and know exactly what is happening, where it’s happening, why it’s important, and why they should write about it.” says Serdar. “The rest should be supporting material that they can easily insert into their article.”
Choose your words carefully in the first few sentences. Stay away from cliches that readers will just skim right over.
“Avoid tired press release quotes and instead use them to share new information about the announcement,” recommends Becky Olson with Approach PR & Marketing. “Ditch phrases like, “we’re thrilled to launch,” or “we’re excited to partner with,” because it’s the same thing everyone else is saying.
Don’t Skimp on the Headline
For many marketers, the headline is the most important component of a press release.
“Nail your headline,” encourages Jane Dizon with FREE Advertising. “It should be accurate but still engaging, creative but not misleading.”
What should be in the headline? Puder PR founder Arik Puder recommends that it should be short, powerful, and to the point. “You have to balance telling the story in the fewest amount of words possible with making the headline attractive enough to reporters to grab their attention and get them to start reading.”
When writing a headline, change your perspective, recommends Fig Advertising vice president of marketing Marilyn Heywood Paige. She says it’s smart to write a headline that calls out the audience who should be interested and that solves a problem, such as: “New Shoe Insert Saved 1,000 Moms’ Aching Feet” instead of “Acme Releases New Comfort Shoe Insert.”
Don’t forget the power of subheadings, either. Paige encourage writers to use the subheading to tell the reader what differentiates your product or service from competitors, such as “1,000 Moms Tested Shoe Insert Designed by a Team of Former NASA Engineers.