The press release: It’s the backbone of media relations and the bane of many reporters and editors who are scrambling to meet deadlines with quality work and reduced staffs.
How do savvy PR pros make their press releases stand out at the portal of the Press Release Black Hole that threatens to yank the document in so fast that it may never get the full attention of an editor’s eyeballs?
You just read an example of how to make your words sparkle on the page. Notice I said “sparkle” and not “scintillate”? “Sparkle” connotes brightness with energy as compared to “shine,” which connotes a reflection of light, which is passive. And, the aforementioned “scintillate,” while a delightfully descriptive word, belongs within the realm of creative writing.
Write with energy. Choose words that make overburdened editors feel the importance of what you have to say and compel them to read on to learn more. Here is where an online thesaurus is your new best friend. Get in there and play around with the words that first come to mind when writing and see where the synonym suggestions take you. One technique is to write the press release with just the facts and then edit with powerful, descriptive words. But, remember to temper your enthusiasm. Once, I reviewed a draft of a passenger vehicle promotional article that stated the vehicle, “…slices, dices and makes excellent julienne fries out of the snakiest curves!”, when it should have said something more appropriately descriptive about the vehicle’s road-handling capabilities.
Think in images. Eons ago, when supply chains were going global, I used the following phrase in an article: “As supply chains continue to spider across the globe…” rather than something like: As complex supply chains continue to grow worldwide. The first example uses the image of a spider that we perceive as relentless in movement, building multipurpose, intricate webs that are infinitely strong, serve as the spider’s domicile and capture what the spider needs for sustenance. It illustrates the relentless growth of the supply chain, its complexity and its essential role in the global market place.
Try Google’s Key Words to find words relevant to your client’s business, product or service that will aid with online searchability. Gently pepper a few of them throughout the release in a way that spices it up without diminishing its energy or descriptive power.
Finally, read good writing to keep your skills sharp. Whether or not you agree with the political points of view, try these publications: The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.