A classic story in any business goes something like this: the owner hires a consultant or a “service” business out of a need that the owner just doesn’t know how to fill. Then the consultant gives a fancy speech, comes up with a fancy book full of “shoulds” (which they’ve generally never tested), charges a small fortune, and then disappears. And in the case of writing, a press release service may be no different than those classic hustlers. Of course, there are a LOT of press release service providers out there, and most are on the up and up. But how can you tell whether they’re actually serving YOUR interests, and not just giving you “something” and lining their pockets with your cash?
There are a few very important things you need to look for in your press release – and if it isn’t this way, your press release service provider should have a very good reason. Let’s look at the main points:
1. The headline is extremely important – it grabs the viewer’s eyes, and then draws them down into the first sentence. Nobody ever finished reading something they didn’t start. And like a news story, a press release needs to tell the gist of the event within the first paragraph… it gets elaborated on in the ensuing paragraphs, but people may be in too great a hurry to go that far with it.
2. Every sentence had better have a good reason to be in this press release. After every single sentence, ask yourself, “So what?” A good press release writer knows that every sentence needs to be of vital importance. If you can’t answer “So what?” with something good, it shouldn’t be in there in the first place.
3. Remember that quantity and quality are NOT the same thing. Having several pages of copy does not translate into a great press release. While it’s tempting to look at a long “sales letter” of a press release and think that it’s just bound to get people into the spirit of your new offering or milestone… remember that PEOPLE ARE BUSY! Would you rather sit down for awhile and read an article, or plop down long enough to read War and Peace? Tastes vary, but a longer press release will not be read as often as a shorter one.
4. Keep in mind that a press release is a piece of NEWS. It really isn’t news that you have a new web site or product offering – and a good writer will know to tie it in to something that is genuinely newsworthy.