Today we’re hearing from a talented young lady with great hair, fine taste in movies and some (plenty) of creative input on this blog. Claire Trevelyan is the resident PR and Communications specialist in our office, and works with clients to share their amazing and fascinating stories (they all have them in bucketloads!) with the world. Here’s some tips for tailoring content to engage your prospects and community with a powerful, cost-effective little gem called a media release.

Begin your media release with a short paragraph that provides a quick overview of the news and why it is important.  Work on making this paragraph engaging – we’ve all experienced the desire to put down or skim over an article 2 lines in because it made us snore! Make sure the language you use is appealing to a wide range of people – leave out industry-specific jargon, and try to tell a story .

Think about WHO will be seeing the release, WHO you want to see it and what those people would choose to read about. For example, John the Apple farmer might just want people to know that he has great apples for sale in Yankalilla, but do Nan and Stan (who, by the way LOVE apples, and live 10 minutes away from John) want to read about Apples for sale over their morning latte? Not really. Instead, they’d rather read about how John took over from this business from his father, who migrated to SA from Germany in 1910 and loved square dancing – which is why John’s new pest-resistant Apple breed is named “Square Dance”. That’s a story (and it also tells Nan and Stan that they can buy great Apples, just down the road – in a way that will stick in their mind for longer.)

Next, provide some background information on the product or service. This is your opportunity to “educate your audience” about why they need your product and service, and start to frame up why you are the best person to provide it to them.

Remember to write your release in terms that readers, consumers, your target audience, and the general public will understand. As I mentioned earlier, you would do well to avoid industry terminology, unless you are intending to send your release to an industry specific publication. In any other situation you run the risk of losing your reader’s interest when they don’t understand a term; and worse, you could be perceived as rude and self-important. Remember: people like to feel smart.

Your text should explain the purpose, target market, and benefits of your product or service, and encourage the reader to find out more, visit your website, contact you for more information, recommend your product to a friend, or sell your product to management. You might have heard Lisa refer to this as a “call to action” – it is essential for getting value out of the work you put into the press release.

The final paragraph should briefly describe your company and the products and services it provides.  Include a summary of other products and services you provide, and a brief history of the company. This is a great place to make a joke or play on words if that is your “thing” – a little personality is a winning ingredient, and readers feel much more engaged by a “person” than they do when a “business” is doing the talking. You might like to include something about your location to ensure that readers know where to find you.

Finish off with “For more information, contact: ” as the last sentence so that the journalist who picks up your story can clarify details with you or ask for additional elements of the story.

We look forward to seeing your business in the media — happy story telling!

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