Thursday, May 14, 2009

pr-IMPACT on Improving Press Releases

Today I happened upon an interesting Public Relations website called by PR pro Jerry Brown. On his site, Brown promotes a practical, effective approach to promoting PR to stakeholders through his e-books. Deciding whether to purchase his e-books is a personal call but the site does provide some great insight. The following exerts from his section on "Improving Your Press Releases."

Three reasons press releases fail:
1. They’re too self-serving. Reporters won’t write stories about you for your benefit. They write for the benefit of their audience. Give your audience a reason to care about what’s in your press release and reporters who write for that audience will be more likely to use it.
2. They’re boring. Reporters are competing for the attention of readers or viewers. They work hard to make their stories interesting – with the language they use and the way they tell their stories. People who write press releases often do just the opposite, then wonder why their press releases didn’t get used.
3. There’s no clear objective. You can’t succeed unless you know what success is. Getting a “positive” story isn’t specific enough.

Five tips for writing really good press releases:
1. Give your audience a reason to care. Everybody’s favorite subject is me. Make your press releases relevant and interesting to your audience.
2. Localize your story. Reporters are always looking for a local angle for their stories. Provide a local angle in your press releases. Localizing your press release often is about geography. But it can also be about community of interest. You can “localize” a press release by providing an angle that makes it interesting for trade or specialty publications.
3. Humanize your story. News is about people and things that affect people.
4. Use the Big Four. Do one or more of the following four things (they’re not mutually exclusive) in a way that affects enough people and turn almost anything into news:
– Solve a problem or create an opportunity. Flip sides of the same thing.
– Provide useful information (tips)
– Identify a trend. Better yet, tell me how to take advantage of it or avoid being harmed by it.
– Help the community. Charity events for example.
5. Optimize your press releases for the Internet search engines. Press releases aren’t just for reporters any more.

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