How To Bait Your Press Release Hook

FISHING 1In this multimedia world of promotion, there’s a lot of competition out there. More and more businesses are all elbowing each other for prime coverage in a limited number of promotional slots. Just sending out an informative press release isn’t good enough anymore. It’s noisy out there. Editors are scanning piles of releases and completely ignoring most. Here are a few key tips on how to put the right bait on your hook to get your business noticed and to help secure the coverage you desire.

Give it a catchy title
Catchy, not “Company X announces the launch of their new line for Fall.” Boring. Sorry that one will end up in the trash. Flip through the publications that you are pitching and get a sense of their language. Write the title for them in their style. Use metaphor, humor or other elements of language to catch the immediate attention of the reader.

Customize it
There’s nothing worse than mass produced press releases that are not targeted to anyone in particular, just “the press.” Draft a general release, but tweak it a bit depending on the publication that is being pitched. Say something that speaks to the recipient, do a little research and know what they are looking for. This takes more time and work, but results will be greater if your release is tailored to appeal specifically to the recipient.

Channel an editor when writing

Write your release like a journalist rather than an ad agency. You need to tell a story. But it isn’t just about a telling story; it’s about how you tell a story: the hook. Write the story with the intent to make the job of the editor easier and to grab their attention. Hand the story and the telling of the story to them on a silver platter and your business will get the coverage that you desire, and the editor will be a hero for coming up with a great story, your story.

Give it some emotion

It’s true that the best press releases are the ones that have all the elements of a great article. The worst ones read like a blurb in a catalog. If it’s too hard for the recipient to make a story out of it, they won’t get past the first sentence. Find the emotion behind what you are pitching and let it out. Use stories with humor, empathy, courage, sacrifice, passion or innovation to entice an editor into connecting with your business.

Relate it to the big picture
Connect your story to something bigger – relate it to something going on in the world at large. Don’t be too self-centered. You may think you have the best widget on the market, but not everyone will. Make it relatable to the big world.

Give it some personality

Add a couple of meaningful quotes from key players that show the personality, the heritage or the philosophy of your brand to add richness to the writing. Let the image that you want to create for your business shine through.

Give up ownership
There have been numerous occasions when I have seen copy from my press release reproduced verbatim in publications with someone else’s byline underneath the title. Although I may have had a momentary mind blip thinking, “Hey, I wrote that, not them,” I quickly snap out of it and realize that there was no better result that could have happened. They wrote exactly what I wanted them to write, sending my message for the brand that I am representing out there to the right audience. No chance of misinformation, misinterpretation or misquoting this time. There’s often not a whole heck of a lot that you can control when the writing about your brand is put into the hands of a magazine editor. If you write your release well, that problem will be solved for you.

Write it so your grandmother could read it

Literally. Don’t use tiny type. Don’t single space it. Boil it down and edit it. Then re-edit it. Think about how your release looks, not just how it reads. Make it visually easy to look at. No one will read a lengthy catalog blurb that you need a magnifying glass to see.

Hire a professional

Most everyone can type, but not everyone can write. There is a craft to effective writing and an art to knowing how to compose a press release to get a business noticed. Sometimes if you are too close to something, it’s hard to see what’s right in front of you. If you are struggling with getting attention for your business, then hire a professional to help you get off the ground. (And oh, by the way, I can help with that ☺)

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