Sunday, November 17, 2013

1 Better Way to Begin a Press Release for an Event - The Standard Way is Dull!

Many people write really boring press releases to promote events!  In fact, they really barely know how to write them, merely following some recipe-like format that they learned in school or found online.

If you are a journalist working for a newspaper, this might be alright.

However, if you are trying to use press releases to generate attention to your event or something newsworthy that you or your organization did, this "usual" way is not likely to do the trick for you.  Your press release will look like most of the others.

Writing an event press release in a "standard way" is okay, but these press releases could be better...and I am only beginning to discover this.  Let me compare these press release writing methods to promote upcoming events...

Writing Press Releases: The Standard Way

Convention tells us that the first paragraph should answer the basic questions:

It is not bad to answer these, in fact, that could be really good; however, it is very factual and to the point.  This is okay is the importance of the topic is understood EVEN BEFORE READING IT, but most of the time, it just is bland writing.

Writing a press release this way is technically correct, but it is only minimally effective toward generating attention (or traffic) you want.

Writing Press Releases: The Better Way

So what is a better way to begin a press release so that it generates attention or online traffic?

Simple - build a compelling case to make people want to continue reading about the news event you are covering.  For the most part, the simple way of putting this is...What problem or issue is your news addressing?

Key Point: Begin a press release by making it clear that you are addressing an issue.

Written like this, it is tough for someone who is just learning my point to apply it.

Examples - Comparing the Press Release Approaches

Example: Event Press Release: Standard Beginning
Detroit - On Wednesday at noon, the Made Up Organization (MUO) will host "Let's make Detroit a Better Place" at the GEM Theater at 333 Madison St, Detroit, MI 48226.

NOTE: This is NOT a real news story--for example only.

Example: Event Press Release: Improved Beginning
Detroit - Detroit has problems.  Many people in the City of Detroit and the surrounding Metro Detroit suburbs know all too well about many of the city's problems.  They are well-documented.  However, only a few of these people have any idea how to tackle these problems and make them disappear.  The Made Up Organization (MUO) recognizes this and wants to make it easier for people who want to help make Detroit better but are not sure how.  On Wednesday at noon, the Made Up Organization (MUO) will host "Let's make Detroit a Better Place" at the GEM Theater at 333 Madison St, Detroit, MI 48226.

NOTE: This is NOT a real news story--for example only.

Honestly, the first press release beginning example is PERFECT...if you already know about the organization and what they do.  If you simply wanted to learn WHEN AND WHERE, you could read that first line and have everything you need to know.

In other words, if you simply wanted to look at a calendar of events, this would be nearly perfect.

However, most people have NOT heard of the Made Up Organization, much less this event.  They do not understand why they should even care about either.

Oh, goodie!  Some group I don't know is holding an event soon.  THAT MEANS NOTHING TO ME (or the person you really want attending your event)!

Key Point: When writing an event press release, we need to answer, "Why is someone holding this event?"

Unless you are writing about something everyone knows (and most of us are really quite uneducated...we don't know), do NOT just simply give the facts.  Provide a compelling reason why somebody should care.

After that, hopefully, the right reader sees your press release and attends the event you are promoting.

Nobody will attend an event without knowing why they even want to consider going.  Make it obvious to them why they should care about THIS event.

Do you know a better way to write the beginning of a press release to promote an event?

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