Introductions, as we all know, are the key to success in business.
Just as everyone is a contact and networking is key, the literal term of an ‘introduction’ determines whether a press release will fly and hit its marks or crash and burn in a junk box.
Good introductions are at the heart of great stories, so in press release terms that make your opening line the most important thing you will write.
It's kind of like when you meet someone new.
Psychologists anticipate that most of us make an assumption, for better or worse, about an individual within 30 seconds of shaking hands or being introduced.
Personalise your email
Just like a business introduction make your email catchy and make it personal.
There is no connection at the end of a mass email chain.
But if you email the same press release multiple times with personalised subject lines identifying a key journalist, business writer or better still a chief-of-staff or editor your hit rate and readership will rise.
Make your first 30 count
An introduction to a press release is no different, in that a presser has 30 words in the intro to grab the reader’s attention.
The reality of a digital newsroom is that journalists and news editors are bombarded with hundreds of releases each day and even the most time efficient, can at best only afford a casual glance. Then there are also elements that any marketing communications manager or PR company can't envisage such as time constraints, deadlines and staffing.
For instance, if you have unknowingly sent your release on deadline day then sorry your email subject line may be all that is read.
So for individual publications be aware of their workflows, their staff transitions and don't hesitate to make follow-up calls to confirm receipt.
Craft an introduction
When it comes to crafting the intro, a number of large-scale Australian media houses are capitalising on great exposure for their clients by using research or micro studies to a tee.
As an example let's say a PR agency is working with a bank to launch new credit card offerings.
The company will effectively have the bank poll 1,000 of its customers with a breakdown of ages.
The returned data might indicate Gen Ys are more considerate of their debt levels than Gen Xs or Baby Boomers.
Suddenly, the PR company has a great story to leverage media exposure from, as there is nothing more engaging than a story to buck a generational stereotype.
Seek attention and use evidence
To continue with the previous example, by the time the send button is hit on this mythological press release, the company has a headline-grabbing intro along the lines of ‘Gen Ys being more concerned about their debt levels than Baby Boomers’.
After referencing the key finding of the poll, the company incorporates quotes from an executive; just far enough down so it doesn't read as straightforward advertising but, just high enough up so it isn't in the sights of a sub-editor's red pen. And this is where we find the product placement - the launch of the new debit card.
If appropriately pitched, there's every chance the release will run in mainstream media. It plays to the generations and aims to break or redefine perceived stereotypes, which we all work to or acknowledge in daily life.
There's not a written formula for a great reading press release other than to think outside the box and treat it like an introduction where first impressions rule.
By Matthew Deans