Category Archives: Press Release Writing

Advanced Press Release Pitching

How to Write a Media Pitch that Attracts Viral Attention

Press release pitching is one of the most difficult parts of a public relations profession. Combine your tight deadlines with the stress of unrealistic clients who want front page Wall Street Journal coverage for every new product launch or charity event, and you are destined for a stressful day.

Advanced Press Release PitchingBusinesswire.com has a great article on writing press releases that will gain you media attention. However, while the tips for writing a press release that draws media attention are not much different than those needed to write a strong pitch, there are additional considerations needed to ensure you capture the attention of the one or two media journalist you want to see coverage from. That said; it’s helpful to keep these tips in your back pocket when developing a pitch.

Sell a pitch that includes several of the top eight importance factors in the body.

The Public Relations Journal recently released a study on the correlation between what journalists view as important news compared to what public relations professionals view as important news. While the study highlights that more times than not, media and public relations professionals weight the importance factors equally, pitches do not always include the details to draw media into those attention-grabbing facts.

Make sure that your pitch highlights at least three of the Journal’s eight importance factors, which include:

  1. Localness/proximity – relevant to your market / area
  2. Timeliness – recent or in the near future
  3. Immediacy – breaking news
  4. Prominence – includes people / places of interest
  5. Cultural proximity – how the topic relates to your local audience
  6. Unexpectedness – unique statistics or facts readers wouldn’t expect
  7. Human interest – entertaining/interesting
  8. Significance / consequence / importance – why people should care

Journalists are people too.

Just like you, journalists are people with real lives and crazy workloads. They are balancing their 200+ daily work emails with trips to the dry cleaners, late night soccer practices, and overnight deadlines. They do not have time to read a 500 word pitch. Keep your pitch short and to the point. Offer just enough detail to help them envision the start of their story before they even pick up the phone to talk to you.

Additionally, it is important to make your pitch personal. Begin a pitch addressed to the specific journalist’s name. If possible, bring up a personal detail about your relationship with him.

“Hi Jim – it was great meeting you at the trade show last week. I’d love to schedule some time for us to chat more about the new product launch I referenced during our conversation.”

A personal touch goes a long way. You might not always get the response you wanted, but you should at least get a response that will leave the door open for future pitch conversations.

Keep your pitches original.

Every journalist wants to have a breaking story. Pitching the same content to three leading newspaper publications will not receive a favorable response if more than one accepts the interview and they end up writing the same story. Include items in your pitch such as, “These details are exclusive and only will be shared with your publication,” or, “We wanted to share this news with you first.” If the publication is a strong one, it might be worth giving an exclusive interview to secure leading coverage and a great working relationship with the publication for the future.

Not sure you agree with the original approach? Check out this article from Forbes on the top tips for press release pitching, written by Mikal E. Belicove, a top Forbes columnist.

~ Katie

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Filed under Content, Marketing, Press Release Writing, The Writing Process

How to Create a Hot Holiday Buzz for Your Business

By My Web WritersChristmas present

It’s that time of year! Get ready to have your inbox and newsfeed filled with holiday promotions of all shapes and sizes. It’s a marketing bandwagon worth jumping on because the holidays are when your customers are most likely to act on impulse and splurge more than the usual. But how do you go about creating a hot holiday buzz that will command attention and motivate action? Here are the top 5 tips to helps get your started!

Make your product or service relevant.

You should carefully select the product or service you’re promoting based on what is relevant to your customers’ wants this time of year. For example, a salon that runs a sale on its summer lipstick line isn’t going to connect with its customers. It may be tempting to promote the product that you want to move or offers you the biggest margins, but this won’t connect with your audience. Instead, pick a promotion that “makes sense” for the holidays. Put together a holiday gift set that is packaged and priced perfectly for a small gift for a loved one. Or offer a special on a service that is most likely to help your customers this time of year. Whatever you choose, first ask yourself, “Is this relevant?”

Build excitement.

You should decide on your promotion at least two months in advance of the holidays. This will give you enough time to build excitement with your customer base. Give them a sneak preview on Facebook or allude to the “very special holiday promotion” to come in your next newsletter. Prime your customers to be on the lookout for this exciting deal and then be sure to deliver!

Create incentive.

In order to create an effective holiday buzz for your business, your promotion or sale should offer an incentive (or benefit) for your customers to buy now. Set a limit on how long the offer will last. Will it expire on a certain date? Will it close after enough offers are claimed? Creating scarcity will help to create a buzz. It will also make customers prioritize your offer as urgent and motivate them to act now.

Make it more than an afterthought.

The more thought you put into creating a holiday promotion, the more business you’re likely to get out of it. From mid October through the holidays, your core marketing focus should be on positioning yourself to capture holiday business. Sure, these are busy times for everyone, but don’t get distracted or split your marketing efforts by announcing other news to your customers at this time. All of your communications should tie back to your holiday promotion.

Spread the word!

You’ve gone through the effort of creating a promotion, now you must market it across every communication outlet to make it truly effective. The biggest mistake many businesses make is running a promotion, but forgetting to inform their customers. Create articles for content marketing and circulate them via Google Plus, Facebook, or Twitter to segmented audiences. Use your web site, newsletter, press releases, other social media niches, blog, and anything else to spread a consistent message. Create a signature graphic for this deal that you can also place on all of these pages. We are visual people, so the more we see the offer the more likely we are to remember it when it comes time to gift buying.

The holidays are a time to both give and receive – for businesses as well! By giving a great deal and a little extra to your customers, you are more likely to receive their business in return. But simply running a holiday promotion won’t have people lining up at your door, proper placement and marketing is key. Try out these top 5 tips to help create a hot holiday buzz for your business this winter season!

~Stephanie


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12 Steps to Create Your Own Infographic

Ten Tips for Starting a Social Media Conversation

Tell a Better Story: Tips and Tricks from Mark Twain

Content for Less, Fat Brain Toys Involves Customers in Content Creation

Social Media Interaction in 2014- What’s your Plan?

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Filed under Business Strategy, Content Marketing, Email Campaigns, Facebook, Google Plus, Holiday Blog, Marketing, Newsletters, Press Release Writing, Social Media, Twitter

Write Better Press Release Titles

by My Web Writerspress release

You might slave away on a press release about the launch of your company’s latest widget. The core content may be impressive, but what about details like the title? The truth is you should put just as much stock in the title as you would in determining the body of the release.

It’s possible for those in the media to receive hundreds of press releases each day. They typically peruse headlines to determine which ones seem interesting enough to read fully. Will yours make the cut? In short, your title will make or break your chance to grab their attention. Follow these tips to craft effective press release titles.

  • Be clear vs. clever—Save “clever” for advertising copy. Editors just want the facts, not a punchy version of it. Therefore, your title should capture what’s covered in the body of your press release. As a rule, focus on the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions, to get your point across.
  • Be accurate—Again, leave clever to advertising. You will put yourself at a disadvantage if your title is somehow misleading. Good intentions can cause you to lose credibility, and potentially weaken or sever media relationships.
  • Ditch the sales pitch—A press release should be informative and/or entertaining. What it is not is an advertisement for your products and services. You can be interesting, while still being factual and straightforward.
  • Keep it short—A good rule of thumb is if you can’t express what you need in 10 words (or 100-150 characters) or fewer, you might need to reconsider if you really understand what you’re promoting. Again, as mentioned above, members of the media are pressed for time, and will only dedicate a few seconds to whatever is put in front of them. Practice creating concise titles that get your point across. You might even want to try several different versions of your headline to make sure you have a good handle on it.
  • Include keywords—Alas, don’t forget about optimizing your press release. It’s true search engines tend to favor press releases. That means high rankings for targeted keywords. Strive to get the main keyword in the title.
  • Use Numbers— List posts are popular due to their visual nature.  Incorporating this into your title can serve as teaser. In today’s blog dominated world, people demand easy-to-scan content. An example: “5 reasons you should love XYZ product.”
  • Proof, proof, proof! —Don’t be “that company” who sends out press releases with typos or other errors in the title. You might want to consider re-visiting it the next day, or even having a peer review it. It’s better to be overly cautious than sorry—and humiliated.

Now that you have the elements of a solid press title down, concern yourself with the writing process. Write the body of the release first, then proceed to writing the title. Why? A title serves as a sort of promise to the reader about what he or she should expect. Writing it last provides you with the benefit of ensuring you followed through with the promise you made in the title.

~Lauren

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Write a Better Press Release with Our Template and Tips

My Web Writers

It’s difficult to get noticed these days. It’s easy to get a press release out to media outlets across the globe with the help of the internet, but it’s not easy to stand out from the rest and get your press release noticed.

prFor extra guidance, consult a press release writer, but you might first want to try our template on writing an engaging press release that will get your content noticed and published:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (this lets the reader know they are reading a press release with important, time-sensitive material)

Name (who is writing the press release OR who should be contacted for further information)
Title
(Director of Marketing, Marketing Assistant, etc.)
Company
Phone
Fax
Email
Web Address

Headline (write a headline that is to the point)

Month date, year – Location

Opening Paragraph – You aren’t writing a news story or magazine article, so don’t get caught up in trying to be clever. The first paragraph needs to summarize the entire press release in a sentence or two. It will hopefully cover the “who, what, where, when and why”. There’s no need to bury your information.

Also, make sure your information is newsworthy, or that it has the potential to be built upon to make a great news story.

Include a quote – A good press release will include at least one quote from an industry expert or analyst. This adds some good substance to your press release and gives readers a chance to read someone’s opinion, since the rest of the press release should sound be objective.

Include a photo/graphic – Everyone is more drawn to a reading if it has some sort of info graphic or photo. Your release is much more likely to get picked up if there is artwork to go with it.

The rest of the release – Stick to the facts and back them up with references if appropriate. Always double check your information to make sure it is accurate. Revise and proofread to make sure grammar and spelling are free of errors. Throw in another quote towards the end if it adds value to the release. Don’t use quotes just to fill space.

Boilerplate – End your press release with a paragraph of information about the company that is releasing the information to the media. For example:

About Crazy Willie’s
Crazy Willie’s is a chain of mini amusement parks located in six states in the Midwest. It serves thousands of fun-seeking children and adults who are looking for an affordable and fun day trip. Since 1963, Crazy Willie’s has provided guests with state-of-the-art thrill rides and carnival games. For more information on Crazy Willie’s, visit CrazyWilliesPark.com.

Writing good press releases takes lots of practice. Use our template above to help you get started, and consider going to members of the media to learn what will entice them to pick up your release. Before you know it, you’ll be writing releases that get published or at least pique the interest of the media.

~Natalie

Other Articles About Press Releases:

How to Write a Press Release

Write Better Press Release Titles

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Filed under Content Marketing, Press Release Writing

When Bad Jokes Happen to Good People

by My Web Writers

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “A difference of taste in jokes is a great strain on the affections.” While a bad joke with friends and family can be forgotten, with potential customers you might have just one chance to win them over.  Because senses of humor vary, using humor cautiously is in your best interest. That said, good comedy can evoke emotions that connect people to your purpose.

A Little Goes a Long Way

When writing funny copy, a little humor goes a long way. You know that person in your circle of friends who overuses bad puns, as though by telling every joke, eventually he or she will get a laugh? A little bit goes a long way, especially in marketing copy. Not only do you not want to overload your writing with humor and detract from the credibility of your content, subtle humor often reads better, showing your sophisticated skills.

One way to simplify your humor for a bigger impact is by choosing a consistent style. Consider the Allstate “Mayhem” commercials. The ads each feature actor Dean Winters as different embodiments of “mayhem”–a teen driver, heavy winter snow, termites, and so on.

The phrasing in the commercials features eloquent and funny descriptions of the disasters about to befall drivers or homeowners, but the humor lies most in the deadpan delivery. Further, the consistency of the different ads emphasizes the humor and creates strong branding for the company. In your copy, you can employ these same strategies by devising a unified comedic tone or running gag to use along with your stylesheet.

Consider Negative Reactions

If you consider your customer demographics, hopefully you can avoid a joke that offends unanticipated readers, but you should still consider how your writing might be read as distasteful rather than funny. For example, last year KIA ran a print ad that intended to depict the two sides of their new cars. The ad featured a cartoon strip of a teacher talking to a student and seeing her on one side as a little girl and on the other as a sexualized teenager. The company faced a big backlash because a large number of people thought the ad was inappropriate at best. In this case, failing to consider the implications of the joke forced KIA to deal with an offended public. Especially when joking about gender, race, politics, or religion, think through how others might read your humor, or avoid these jokes altogether.

Keep it Positive

All told, using comedy that is on the light side is most likely to make your readers and potential customers smile. By using jokes that refrain from making fun of a particular person or group of people, you depict your company as friendly and trustworthy rather than gossipy or mean. Upbeat jokes also work well with call-to-action marketing copy, so you can draw the reader in with humor and use active writing to bring in a sale.

Finally, remember to read your humorous copy aloud. Your writing should capture the tone and timing of the joke as though you were telling it to your reader in person.

~Kasey

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Filed under Advertorial Writing, Audience, Content Marketing, Email Campaigns, Marketing, Press Release Writing, Television Script Writing, Video Production, Words Which Sell

How to Write a Press Release

By My Web Writers

While distribution methods have changed over the years, the most important aspect of mass producing your message remains the same- provide engaging content in your press releases. Remember these press release writing tips:

Write a Headline that Pops

When a news reporter picks up a press release from the fax machine or email inbox, he or she can be quick to dismiss it if the headline isn’t relevant or interesting. Make sure your headline gets to the point but also engages the reader.

Press Release Writing Basics

A typical press release does not include fancy adjectives or fluff. Your job is to present the basic facts to the media so it can take the information, build on it, and then present it to the public. What is the reason for the press release? Include the essentials up front.  Don’t bury important information. One way to make sure all bases are covered is to remember the Five W’s and the H:

Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How in Press Releases

If your press release covers those six questions, you have likely covered the most important information that the media needs.  When in doubt about what to include in your press releases, consult a marketing writer to write or edit your content.

Check Over Your Press Release

As a representative of an organization, you want to appear professional. It’s imperative that the press release be accurate and free of grammar and spelling errors. Sometimes press releases have to be written very quickly in order to get the information to the media as soon as possible, but be professional and accurate.

Include Press Contact Information

The media will almost always want more information. It’s the job of the media to ask additional questions. Make sure they know where to go to ask those questions. Should they call you? Do they need to contact someone else? Make it obvious who needs to be contacted for additional information. If you don’t, your inbox will be flooded with requests for that extra info.

Finish up with an Industry Standard

Professional press releases end with three pound signs (###). These signs tell the reader that he or she has reached the end of the press release.

~Natalie

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