Six Ways To Write A Press Release That Gets Noticed

By Jon Clark, managing partner at Moving Traffic Media, a digital agency in Westchester, NY offering PPC, display and SEO services.

A well-written press release is an introduction to your company and increases your visibility as an industry expert within your community and beyond. You can create a brilliant press release even if you didn’t do great in your composition class. 

These are the six facets of a well-written press release. Falling short on just one could have a negative effect on your success. Luckily, there are simple steps to follow.

The Most Important Question

Does this really deserve a press release? A press release highlights the story. It’s newsworthy and contains information with wide audience appeal. It probably isn’t about your brand, and it isn’t geared toward a niche market segment. It also has facts, figures, findings and a hook

Press release-worthy events include breaking industry news, an industry or community event, or the launch of a new product or service. They can also the publication of original research, winning a prestigious award, partnering with another company on a project, a change in your executive staff or even sometimes company rebranding.

If you don’t have these things, then you probably don’t have a press release. 

The Big Three

A great press release starts with a strong, attention-grabbing subject line, an opening paragraph that summarizes the subject and language that cuts to the chase (this isn’t creative writing).

Many press releases are skipped after a simple glance at the subject line. To write a subject line that will get your email opened, you should personalize when possible. Be casual but professional, and avoid tired attention-grabbing tactics like all caps, exaggerated claims and emoticons.

The Power Of Paragraph One

The first paragraph needs to contain the most important information because chances are your audience is only going to skim the rest. If there are current statistics or recent findings that support the subject of your press release, get them in the first paragraph. It’s easier to skim, so use bullet points of key takeaways to make the press release easier to read and to hold your audience’s interest. 

The Background Work

You’re more likely to create a mutually beneficial, ongoing relationship with the press if you’re viewed as a credible source. Always source your facts and statistics using credible citations because it makes it easy to check the validity of your claims. It also saves journalists and your general audience time and builds a reputation of credibility.

If you’re the source of the data, make that clear, and briefly define how your facts and numbers came about.

The Funnel Of Information

If you’re struggling to come up with a press release template, don’t worry. You can find plenty of them online. Some are even tailored to specific industries. But if you keep the “funnel of information” in mind, you have everything you need to format your press release. 

The funnel, or inverted pyramid, is the outline of your press

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Want A Job? Don’t Write Your CV For Robots

If you have been looking for advice on crafting the perfect CV, it’s likely you will have seen numerous articles warning you about the perils of ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) and why it’s imperative that your CV is optimised for them.

Articles with titles like these…

How to get your CV past the ATS robots

How to write an ATS friendly CV

How to ensure your CV is seen by a human

And so on.

Whilst applicant tracking systems do play an important role in modern recruitment, these kinds of articles over-hype their importance somewhat.

And in fact, focusing your efforts on “getting past the recruitment robots” when writing your CV, can actually be detrimental to creating a document that will impress real people.

What is ATS?

ATS stands for applicant tracking system.

It is simply software which allows companies to track applicants who apply for their vacancies and store their CV in a database which can be filtered and searched.

These systems are mostly used by larger companies and recruitment agencies who deal with high volumes of recruitment.

Most small businesses do not need or use ATS, meaning that around 60% of job applications will never even come into contact with one of these systems.

However, it is still highly likely that your CV will pass through an ATS at some point in your job search.

But the way in which it does so, is what most people have misunderstood.

The biggest myth about ATS

The biggest myth about ATS is that it filters out candidates which it deems unsuitable and deletes them automatically before they are ever seen by a human eye.

This myth has subsequently led to a myriad of anti-ATS articles being written across the web, and job seekers becoming terrified that every job vacancy is guarded by a team of overzealous robot overlords.

However, this is not the function or purpose of applicant tracking systems. They are designed to store and track candidate information – not destroy it.

So, where do your applications go?

Whenever you make an application via a job website, your CV will always be delivered into the inbox of the recruiter. If the company use an ATS, then your details and CV will also be passed into its database, but your CV and cover note will always be accessible by a real person.

A good recruiter will always review every CV that is sent to them (even if only for a few seconds in some cases) and they will then use their ATS as a supplementary tool for tasks like:

·      Generating lists of suitable candidates based on keywords

·      Updating and tracking the process of applications and sharing with colleagues

·      Sending communications to multiple candidates, such as interview requests or rejection notifications

Recruiters and hiring managers are acutely aware of the limitations of ATS, which is why

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Readers Write: COVID and education, Fifth District race, mental health, the bail system, voting

Our instruction manual for combating COVID-19 started with blank pages. We’ve slowly filled them with notes and studies and gradually applied them to rules of practical living, along with government recommended standard practices. But those “notes” are in pencil, with many erasures and cross-outs.

We’ve learned conclusively that this virus holds only minor consequences for school-age children. This should lead us to prudently normalize the school setting as soon and as thoroughly as possible.

In contrast, as of now we know far less about how contagious these young people might be. They are personally largely unaffected, but we’re still learning about how likely they are to spread the virus. Early reports about how readily they do are encouraging, but as yet are inconclusive. We should therefore focus attention on those with whom students have contact, specifically those we know are more seriously affected by COVID. Older teachers and older family members should be the focus of protective measures.

If we summarily shut down schools, we’re inviting all the emotional and social “collateral damage” into our lives which come from interrupting educational interaction by our young people. Students must be prudently permitted to get on with their educations.

Steve Bakke, Edina

FIFTH DISTRICT

Less celebrity, more legislating

As a resident in the Fifth Congressional District, I am tired of being ignored by my representative. A U.S. representative should be focused on their constituents — not their personal brand.

This is why I am voting for Lacy Johnson for Congress. We need a representative who has roots in the community, understands the issues and will work endlessly to fix them. Johnson has said himself that he will be a servant to the constituents of CD5, and already has a record of doing just that.

Johnson has lived in north Minneapolis for over 40 years. During this time, he has worked on economic development and education within the inner city. He is also responsible for encouraging large tech companies to take advantage of the Opportunity Zones within our district.

As simply a member of society, Johnson has worked to end economic disparities and close achievement gaps in education. As a member of Congress he will do so much more.

That is why I ask that you vote Johnson into Congress. He will fight for the issues the people in my district are facing. Not star in music videos. Not land book deals.

We need a servant, not a celebrity.

Jennifer Vought, St. Louis Park

MENTAL HEALTH

Emmer has a couple blind spots

I was interested in the recent commentary from U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota’s Sixth District, outlining his support for the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network and the Expanding Access to Mental Health Act (“Mental illness is an American health crisis,” Opinion Exchange, Oct. 19). As a licensed clinical social worker who completes mental health and risk assessments in many rural Minnesota emergency rooms, I certainly applaud his support. However, I have two concerns about Emmer’s blind spots on this

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13 Smart Strategies To Write Better Copy

As easy as copywriting might seem to business professionals, dedicated copywriters know it’s a learned skill with its own required talent. All professional copywriters have certain “tricks of the trade” when it comes to hitting the mark with copy. From creating the right idea to developing it into full copy with its own voice and tone, each of these experts has a method they apply to ensure that the composition fulfills the creator’s requirements.

What are these secret tricks and tips that pro copywriters use to analyze and refine their copy into something worthwhile? Below, 13 professionals from Forbes Communications Council share the strategies that they use specifically when it comes to refining their writing to a professional level.

1. Use Strong Verbs

Didn’t your English teacher always tell you to use strong verbs? I still think about that advice all the time. I also imagine a voice speaking the words, which humanizes the copy and makes it more memorable. Also pay close attention to the rhythm, ebb and flow of your sentences. Just like music, good copy has a natural and distinctive flow. – Leah Schloss, Baker McKenzie

2. Have A List Of Brand-Defining Words

Have a list of words or phrases that represent your brand’s voice open on your computer. Utilize the list for inspiration as you are writing copy, and you will find that you tend to stay on brand more often. – Heather Dueitt, MyPoint Credit Union

3. Understand The Audience And Context

Understand the public the copy is written for (e.g., personas) and the context in which it will be used (e.g., the stage of the marketing cycle). Use these as the defining factors for making the headline intriguing, balancing between weaving in emotions and suggesting actionable steps, and selecting the tone that makes these three components flow without fracture or discontinuity. – Roy Hutchinson, Deem Finance LLC


Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?


4. Let Your Content Breathe

Like a fine wine, good copy needs to air out before it’s ready for your audience to taste. After you write something, switch tasks and forget about it. (Really!) When you come back to your copy a few hours or – if the deadline permits – a few days later, you’ll be able to analyze its creative import with fresh eyes. – Melissa Kandel, little word studio

5. Make It Intriguing

When writing a title for a byline, webinar, blog post, research report or any important email, I always ask myself, “On a scale of ‘open immediately’ vs. ‘meh, might delete,’ where does this fall?” It should ideally have the intrigue of a BuzzFeed article without feeling like click-bait. I also like to throw in uncommon word choices or a grammar error on purpose so the reader knows I’m a real human. –

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