Tips on Writing an Effective Press Release for your Desktop Publishing Business
Writing a press release for your desktop publishing business is easy, right? Fire off a few blurbs about your business, and all you have to offer; mail them off to every newspaper in a 100-mile radius, and you’ve got instant free publicity, right?
Wrong. This method of press release preparation is the quickest route to an editor’s trash can. Blatant attempts at free advertising can be spotted at 30 yards, and will almost always be trashed. Sometimes before the release even hits an editor’s desk.
Preparing an EFFECTIVE press release, one that actually has a chance of publication, is a far more difficult proposition. It requires forethought, research, and above all, effective writing.
Since you are an accomplished designer, you should have no problem arranging your material into an eye-catching layout. This is as important in a press release as it is for every other design job you tackle. But many designers forget that CONTENT is an important part of their designs.
Here are a few tips from online writing company to get you started:
Rule Number One: Not all newspapers are created equal. The size and circulation of a newspaper is a key factor in your chance of having a press release published. The smaller the paper, the more eager editors are for local copy to fill their pages. The larger the paper, the more material editors have to choose from. Do your homework. Know who the readers are, and whether or not the paper includes a business section. If so, address your release to the Business Editor.
Rule Number 2: Write a strong headline and lead paragraph. If your release screams BORING, there is no reason to keep on reading. Editors wade through dozens of pages of copy every day. Unless your release can catch an editor’s attention immediately, and hold it for a few seconds, it will be trashed. Remember, you are writing to the readers, and editors are looking for copy that will intrigue their readers. Ask an outrageous question for a headline. “Did you know that trying to figure out the latest desktop publishing software is the leading cause of computer malfunction?” A sub-head or lead paragraph can serve to answer the question: “Frustration caused by inexperience has lead several business owners to take an axe to their systems.”
Here are a few tips on writing a hard intro in the traditional, summary style:
– 1. Use the inverted pyramid
It’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to stuff all Five W’s into a single sentence. Get focused by asking yourself, what is the most important thing that happened?
“What” is usually the most important of the Five W’s; you can usually delay telling the reader about when, where, who and why.
– 2. Why should anyone care?
Put away your notes and step away from the keyboard for a second. If you were talking to your friend, how would you tell the story?
It’s OK to use slang and shorthand at this point. “Hey, our company got the Archer contract — it means our revenue is about to triple, and we’ll be hiring a ton of people. Know any engineers looking for work?”
If you clean that up, you’ve got the lead for your company’s press release. People care about jobs. You’re company is about to create a bunch of jobs.
Instead of leading with a more self-serving “MidCo gets Archer contract” headline, which nobody would really care about except maybe stock analysts, go with the jobs. The local papers will cover it, and the reporter will probably get a quote from the mayor or local politicians saying this is great news for the local economy of Midtown — and readers will actually care, because a bunch of new jobs is a story that every local will care about.
– 3. Kill every comma you can
Headlines and intros are almost always too long.
Commas are the surest sign of a bad intros or headline. One comma is OK. Two or more commas is a flash neon sign that you need to get out the Red Pen of Doom.
Pick up your local paper and look at the front page. Now grab a red pen. Can you slay any words in the headline for the top story? Can you kill words in the first sentence of the piece? A good story is tight. You can’t kill any more words.
Rule Number 3: Provide useful information. In the example above, you could go on to address some of the problems that can befall an unsuspecting business owner trying to design his own business publications. Printing difficulty, font difficulty, or carbon-copy template difficulty that can arise when everyone uses the same sub-grade software, are issues that many business owners have never even considered. In doing so, you are not only providing USEFUL INFORMATION, you are also creating an argument why businesses should choose to use a professional designer.
Rule Number 4: Plug your business, briefly, at the END. Provide the solution to these design dilemmas by mentioning the kind of experience you possess. Tell the readers how affordable it can be to contract with a pro. Let them know how much aggravation they can escape by doing it right the first time. Editors are likely to skip this part of your release entirely, sending it off to be input with the first realization that the copy is full of good stuff.
Rule Number 5: Keep it simple. Use your design skills to design a release that will catch an editor’s attention, without taking away from its content. If it looks like a flyer, it will be trashed. The less editing that an editor has to do, the more likely the piece will be published. Use a dateline: COVENTRY, RI- at the beginning of the first paragraph. Write the piece as a newspaper article. Keep paragraphs short (this will help with the leading). Spelling and grammar counts!
Rule Number 6: Get professional help. If your forte is design, and not writing, get someone who knows how to write to help you out. If this means an added expense, consider the importance of free publicity.
Helpful hint: Advertise with the paper. A well-written release will speak for itself. This is especially true for a new business. However, if the publication of a release helps you to get more business, it wouldn’t hurt to place a small ad. The paper will be more likely to run future releases from your business if you are an advertiser.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started on an effective press release today, and perhaps get some free publicity tomorrow! You have nothing to lose but the cost of your time and a few postage stamps, and everything to gain. Call the editor a few days after you mail the release to ask if they received it, and if they have any questions. DO NOT call to ask if it has run. Nothing ticks off an editor more than someone who wants something published, but will not shell out the 50 cents necessary to buy a copy.
If you’re really lucky, the editor will be so enthralled with your release, he or she will assign a reporter to investigate further, for a possible feature story. Imagine the possibilities. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it!
Also for best writing like a designer you should know the next tips how to match type size to readership.
The appropriate type size for a publication depends on many factors but there are some general type size guidelines to follow to insure readability for the main audience of your publication. These are not hard-and-fast rules. The more you know about your readership, the better type size choices you will make.
The younger and the older your target audience, the larger the type size should be for comfortable reading. Getting older doesn’t necessarily mean poor eyesight for everyone; however, declining vision is a common side effect of aging.
– Know your audience.
– First and foremost, know your audience. Some groups might resent the automatic assumption that they can’t see well enough to read “normal” type sizes of body text.
– Use incremental point sizes.
– Some software allows you to use incremental point type sizes such as 11.5. If 10 point type size seems too small and 11 point is too large, try a point type size in between.
– Actual and apparent size of fonts can vary greatly.
– Some fonts at 11 points appear visually larger than other fonts at the same type size.
– While eleven purpose sort is usually an honest text size, it’s going to be too tiny or overlarge for your hand-picked font.
– Experiment with other type sizes.
– Use larger font sizes for most older audiences.
– Avoid tiny print.
– Use Associate in Nursing eleven to twelve purpose sort size for readers within the 40-65 age vary.
– 10 to 11 points is a safe choice for most audiences.
– Start with this size when your target audience is unknown or covers a large range of adult readers.
– Use larger fonts for children.
– For young children or beginning readers of any age, a larger type size around 14 points is good.
– Use larger font sizes for headlines.