The Power of the Press Release - Generating Effective Media Coverage ResultsWritten by Mel-Lynda Andersen
Producing an effective press or media release is one of those tasks that initially seems quite straight-forward – that is, until you actually sit down at your computer to draft one yourself. ·First there’s writing - a process that can instantly cause beads of sweat to form on your over-stressed brow. ·Next there’s distribution – which organizations and specific individuals should you send it to, should you fax it, e-mail it, mail it or send it by courier? What should you include with your release? ·Then there’s follow-up – who will you call and what will you say? How can you ensure that you will be creating best possible impression of your product, service and company without becoming a pest? And finally, how can you ensure that your new product or service is profiled accurately in media?
STEP ONE – WRITING A common challenge in writing a press release is being too close to your products and services to write about them effectively. Where do you begin? How much detail should you include? How much history should you include? How do you ensure that initially disinterested third parties will come to care enough about your products and services that they will actually do something to help you spread word? 1. Brainstorm. Ask yourself some key questions before you start writing and jot down your answers without worrying about structure, spelling or tone: a. What makes your product or service so special? What makes it new? b. Why would an editor care enough to want to publish your news? Why will you customers care about this new product or service? List all reader/listener benefits you can think of, as well as benefits to publication or show. c. What makes this news release actual news? 2. Compose a first draft. a. Start by crafting a catchy, newsworthy headline that addresses main benefits to your target audience. Expect to spend some time developing this headline because it is by far most important line of your entire release. A strong, all-encompassing headline also serves an important outlining function and forces you to tighten your focus. b. Draft your first paragraph, conveying most pertinent details of your new product and service. Answer who, what, when, where and why using most convincing language at your disposal. c. Throughout release, keep your sentences short, eliminate passive voice and write in second-person imperative (“Visit, See, Do, Buy, You, Your, etc.”). d. Use specific, powerful quotes and testimonials from key company representatives and satisfied customers to underscore quality and durability of your new product and service. e. End release with a sense of urgency about your news, encouraging your readers into action. Make sure you list a contact person at your company who is not only willing to answer questions, but who also has strong communication skills and who is able to reflect a positive, professional image to both media and your customers. 3. Rewrite, Edit and Refine. a. How long is your completed first draft? If it’s longer than a page, get out your red pen and be brutal. Due to volume of material that they must process every day, most editors will not even look at a press release that’s longer than a page. It’s perfectly acceptable to supply a company/product backgrounder with a press release, along with descriptions and photos of related products and services (more on that later). b. Ensure each sentence is short, active, punchy and positive. Use shortest possible transitions to tie your ideas together. Make sure your paragraphs are short (no more than five sentences long). c. Keep your main points at five or under. Do not bombard release with too much information or too much detail. If editors want more information, they can look for it in background material that you send along with release, they can visit your website or they can call your contact person directly. d. Help editors and producers do their job as easily and effectively as possible by eliminating need for rewriting. If an editor has to rewrite release due to sloppily worded copy or a buried lead, mistakes about your new product or service can easily be introduced. If your release is well written, edited and proofread, your release will have a better chance of getting published word for word. e. Ask someone else to proofread your release, searching for spelling, grammatical and other errors. Be open to their feedback if they have comments that extend beyond scope of proofreading. If necessary, edit or rewrite release again. Be careful not to circulate release to too many people (too many cooks in kitchen).
Segmenting Your Target Audience Through Your CopywritingWritten by Karon Thackston
by Karon Thackston © 2004 http://www.copywritingcourse.com
Ask any copywriter what first commandment of copywriting is and they’ll quickly tell you “Know Thy Target Audience.” In order to write effectively you have to know this one group of people and know them well. I guess that’s why many people get so frustrated when it seems they have more than one preferred customer base. One of most frequent questions I get asked is, “What if I have more than one target audience?” In all actuality, you probably don’t. You just have different segments of same audience.
Segmenting your target audience is a very common practice… almost expected even. Let me explain. Perhaps you sell a nutritional supplement. Think of all people who might use your nutritional supplement. There are adults, pregnant women, growing teenagers, children, senior citizens, athletes, and many others. While all of these may seem to be entirely different target markets, they are actually just segments of same nutritional supplement market. These people all have a need and an interest in nutritional supplements, but for very different reasons.
While some of information you provide to each segment will be general and apply to everyone, other information will be specific to that particular segment.
Information Specific To Each Segment
For instance, everyone will want to know overall benefits of taking nutritional supplement you offer. Perhaps they can expect to have more energy, lose a little weight, or prevent or cure certain diseases. Everyone cares about these benefits. But your nutritional supplement may offer other benefits that only certain customers would have a need/want for.
Pregnant women want a nutritional supplement that has high levels of folic acid and other nutrients that will aid their developing babies. Senior citizens may have a need for supplements that contain higher levels of calcium (and in a more readily absorbable form). Athletes burn a lot of nutrients and have a higher chance of getting injured so those things are important to them.
Make information about your product or service specific to whatever needs of each segment are. You can do this in specific ways through a variety of different advertising mediums.