Do These 5 Easy Steps When Writing a Press Release and Good Reporters Will Respond Every Time

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Would you be interested in discovering a system that gets you and your business mentioned in the media on a regular and consistent basis? Read this story and I’ll reveal that system. I’ve used it and can tell you it works.

How would you feel if I told you this system is so simple its steps can be counted on one hand? Read this story and you’ll experience the ease with which these steps flow from each of your fingers.

Why is it important you learn this system, commit to it, and practice it regularly? Read this story and see first hand how this can change your personal, professional, and avocational life.

Remember Your First Time?
Remember how you felt the first time you saw your name in print, watched yourself on television, or heard the radio broadcast your name (or, even better), your voice? You felt proud. You felt good about yourself. You felt happy. Imagine how happy you’ll feel as you watch your own children, your family, and your friends encounter this same experience for the first time.

Are you a member of a church, civic association, or youth organization? Each of these groups share a common goal: they’re all looking for new members and new leaders. The best way to reach this goal is to let people know about your group. You can spread the word yourself, but how much more powerful is that word when it’s repeated by a newspaper, radio program or television show? Press releases represent the wire that connects your group to the media, and the media represents your best megaphone.

Do you own a business or are you responsible for publicizing a business? How much easier would it be to introduce yourself or your product when your prospects can recognize you from a newspaper article? You’d be amazed how many people come up to you after they’ve seen your name in print, heard your name on the radio, or seen you appear on TV. This happens even when you think no one is aware of the media outlet. If you’re like me, you’d be delighted how well and how consistently this works.

How the Science of Brand Awareness Can Help You
We all want people to see us in a certain way. This is called a “brand.” It could be our public persona. It could be the community group we’re volunteering for. It could be the business we wish to promote. Various academic studies show a connection between publicity and brand awareness. Research published in 2014 (“Impact of Sponsorship and Publicity on Brand Equity,” by Sajid Tufail, Rashid Saeed, Hashim Zameer, Muhammad Bilal & Bilal Naeem, International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, November 2014, Vol. 4, No. 11), concluded “The results show that Publicity and Sponsorship has a positive relationship with Brand Equity.”

Successfully managing your brand helps you persuade people. The more people are aware of your brand, the more likely they will choose it over brands that have lesser awareness. This is true even if your brand lacks traits you feel your audience might deem more important. A study conducted in 2000 concluded “Subjects choosing from a set of brands with marked awareness differentials showed an overwhelming preference for the high awareness brand, despite quality and price differentials,” (“Brand Awareness Effects on Consumer Decision Making for a Common, Repeat Purchase Product: A Replication,” Emma K. Macdonald and Byron M. Sharp, Journal of Business Research, Volume 48, Issue 1, April 2000, Pages 5-15).

Think About What Happens to You When Your Family, Friends, and Customers See Your Name in Lights
You know your message is important, your accomplishments notable, and your opinion convincing. Sure, it’s a piece of cake to get your family, friends, and close associates to agree. Imagine, however, how much more satisfying it will be when an objective third party – someone who doesn’t know you from Adam, someone who hears a million and one stories like yours every day – suddenly picks your message, your accomplishment, your opinion as the one the whole world should hear.

Of all the people, it was you who had the most compelling suggestion. Think about that for a moment. How does it make you feel? Can you see the awe in your friends, clients, and associates as they tell you they just saw you quoted in the newspaper, on the radio, or on TV? How does that make you feel?

Use This System to Send Out Your Press Release and Get Noticed Right Now!

Believe it or not, you’ve just experienced the system. Between the headline and the sub-headlines, you’ve witnessed each of the five steps. I’ve used them successfully for years now. They’ve been quite effective, especially with local and regional media. They’ve opened doors which have allowed me to build relationships with media figures who I thought would be most interested in the stories I had to offer.

I won’t take credit for this system. It was developed by someone far more experienced than me. Esteemed (and long dead) copywriter Victor O. Schwab identified them in his book How to Write a Good Advertisement. Written more than half a century ago, the book remains timeless because people remain people. Though we may not wish to admit it, we’re motivated by the same wants and desires as people have been since the advent of our species.

Here are the five steps with an explanation of how I used them in the first part of this Commentary.

Step #1: Get Attention
This is the headline and the lead sentences of each of the first three paragraphs. Notice each offers a compelling reason to read this Commentary. The headline represents the most alluring attention. The sub-headlines perform a similar function. Can you see how they make you want to read further? That’s their job.

Step #2: Show the Advantage
This represents the emotional appeal for your case. It’s contained in the section under the sub-head “Remember Your First Time?” OK, I admit that phrase might be a bit provocative, but isn’t provocation the essence of emotion? Re-read that section, especially the first and third paragraphs (the second ties these two together and uses emotion in a subtler manner). See how the word “feel,” “happy,” “amaze,” and “delight” are used. These words ignite emotional thoughts as you read them.

Step #3: Prove It
This represents the rational appeal for your case. For a science geek like me, this is the easiest section to write. Beginning with the sub-head “How the Science of Brand Awareness Can Help You,” each paragraph contains a reference to a scientific article that proves why building brand awareness (the ultimate objective of press releases) can improve your public image.

Step #4: Persuade People to Grasp This Advantage
This section falls under the sub-head “Think About What Happens to You When Your Family, Friends, and Customers See Your Name in Lights.” Re-read this section and compare it to the Step #2 (“Show the Advantage”) paragraph. Do you see the difference? While the Step #2 paragraph speaks of the emotions in a theoretical manner, the Step #4 paints the emotional picture in real terms. It is this section that becomes the creative writer’s playground. You’re asked to imagine what your life will be like once you take advantage of the item being discussed. (In this case, you’re asked to imagine what happens after your press release generates media mentions.)

Step #5: Call to Action
This is where journalism and copywriting differ the most. All good news stories contain elements of the first four steps. With the exception of columns (like this piece), reporters often find it difficult to end with a call to action. Editors are much better at this. Why? Because editors know their objective is to get more readers. Reporters generally focus mostly on just the facts of the story. In your press release, your call to action can be as simple as “now write my story.” By the way, as you can see in the above sample, the call to action may be nothing more than a single sentence. In our case, it’s “Use This System to Send Out Your Press Release and Get Noticed Right Now!”

So, are you going to set this aside for later or pull out a pen and paper (or a keyboard) and start creating a press release built on the foundation of these five steps?

If the latter, congratulations, you’re one step closer to enjoying the advantages of building brand awareness.

If the former, what part of “Right Now!” do you not get?

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