Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How to make your press release newsworthy

There are four common PR misperceptions to watch for...

1. You are the focus of your PR.

Although we like to think it, we are not the news. (Sorry.) To convince strangers that they want to hear what you have to share—and that they then want to take action—your press release should focus on the service you are offering...a service that is The Solution.

Remember, your future customer does not know they are looking for you. They're looking for someone or something that can ease their stress, help with lifestyle improvement, relive a persistent cough, etc. Therefore, to show your future customer the truth, that your service is The Solution, focus on the concrete benefits to them.

2. More is Better

More is not better. Specifics are better.

For example, you are hosting a community wellness event about nutrition. The inclination might be to send out a press release about all of the services you offer, thinking “When will these people read about me again?" But, it would be more beneficial to ask yourself, "If my future customer only remembers one thing, what should it be?"

The answer: the day, time, and location of your event.

Be specific. Use a specific, targeted headline when you send out your press release, such as: Free nutrition consultation for students with ADD.

3. Flash is Better

Flash is hard to pull off. It’s better to be informative than insincere; although they are both memorable, one has clear benefits over the other.

What constitutes as flash? Overwriting. Overselling. Over anything...

Stick to words and descriptions your audience is familiar with, will respond to.

For example: "New eco-sheik botanic day spa consultancy opening in your neighborhood featuring free aromatherapy massages ranging from $60-100."

Huh? I'm not sure I even know what I mean. Is it a day spa or a consultant business? What's free? Eco what?

Or: "Stress-targeting massages with organic aromatherapy products boost your immune system and support green business."

You now know what the service is, how it benefits your future customers, and that there is a larger connection to the environment, which makes your press release news worthy.

4. The More Flashy Qualifiers the Better

Qualifiers take up space. Again, it is better to be sincere, informative, and service-minded than dazzling.

What is a qualifier? Good. Great. Greatest. Best. Better than. Amazing. Great. And so on.........

We think these words will catch the reader’s attention. And they do, but not in the way we want. They signal overstating or overwriting, which automatically makes the reader defensive and suspicious.

Why? Like writing with “flash,” self-promotion without substance is hard to pull off, and qualifiers mean different things to different readers. What one person may find good or great, another may not. This is the “one-size fits all” approach, and it doesn’t work.

Remember, it is better to offer a strong, service-oriented promotion than to oversell a so-so one.

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