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Making Your Second First Impression a Good One

[1]By Joe Schnaidt, Supervisor, Editorial US West

A company’s first press release is critical, showing what it is and what it does.

To keep your audience engaged, your next release should focus on establishing a more personal dialogue with the reader. How will your service make things more convenient, efficient or effective for the consumer? Does it have specific local relevance? The more novel the solution, the more your offering stands out.

Stories that connect to local non-profit or business sectors are also an excellent strategy to increase awareness of your news. Does your company support local charities, community funds or public works projects? Corporate events benefiting the community are always magnets for media attention, and your press release is the engraved invitation.

Keep it simple: no prologue, no preface, just get right to who you are and what you are doing. Even the most philanthropic of announcements can be hampered by long introductions that fail to immediately include the name of the company and the news being released. Stick to the Five W’s, include testimonials and employee insights or vary formatting with bullet points and subheaders; whatever you do, stay on message.

Have the headline take care of the ‘who’ and ‘what’ with particular attention to innovation – think, “how is this different from similar ideas?” A subheadline can be used to flesh out the main idea in more detail and reinforce the message; consider including percentages or other supporting numerical data.

Streaming video usage only continues to rise, so consider adding your B-roll or TV spot footage to your news release. This will enhance your web exposure and improve overall pickup. Adding a photo can also boost web visibility and even directly reach Associated Press Photo Editors, saving them time and money by eliminating legwork. Further increase your release’s web presence via Search Engine Optimization, which heightens priority of your press release in search results and helps drive traffic to your company website, keeping your information relevant and timely.

Always provide clear contact information, including phone number, email and any company or social media sites so there are multiple avenues for journalists and other interested parties to follow up on. Be sure to mention specifically if a representative is available for an on-camera interview. And in true practice what you preach fashion, be sure to close the loop with reporters by contacting their news desk post distribution. Get a feel for the stories they are currently running so you can provide them with content that’s more likely to be published.

Or, automate the pickup monitoring process with a News Dashboard and drill down to granular data on reach, access, SEO and visibility, and compare effectiveness of your releases. To better gauge results in the blogosphere, social media monitoring platforms such as Heartbeat take the guesswork out by pinpointing and tracking key influencers, brand and industry keywords. Then, put this feedback to work in your second release, combining all the most successful elements to guide it to the right people at the right time, every time.

Lastly, if you’re boring yourself, you’re boring your audience. Keep in mind your company’s uniqueness of service and diversity of solutions and show it in the enthusiasm of the communication. Don’t just talk, start a conversation.



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