Archive for January, 2014

Top Five Reasons Lists Work as Press Releases

January 22, 2014

Many P.R. pros make look down on this technique, but lists make great press releases.  Why?  Because if you do them correctly journalists will actually read them and that’s the point, isn’t it?   Your goal is to get media professionals and decision makers to read what you write so you can get that highly sought after publicity that makes our world go round and lists are an excellent technique to have in your press release writing tool box.

The bottom line is that lists work and are actually one of the most tried and true press release formats.  Take a look at any online blog, news site or open up any magazine, trade journal, or newspaper, and you’ll find at least one story that’s written as a list.   So, why are lists so effective?  Oh, I know, let’s write a list:

Top Five Reasons Lists Work as Press Releases

1.  You Capture Readers with a List Headline.   Whether you’re scanning the home page of your favorite online news source or waiting in line at the grocery store where the magazines are staring at you while you wait, you’ll notice that many publications will have list headlines on them.  BuzzFeed is particularly clever with this technique.  Why do they do it? Because the editors of online publications and magazines know that this will grab readers.  In fact, there’s just something about “Five Ways to Save $100 Every Week” that makes you want to click on the link or even pick up the magazine to find the article.  You’re compelled.  You can’t help yourself.  You want to find out the recipe for the secret sauce to savings.

2. Lists are Easy to Scan.  In our short attention span society of mini-meals of media, readers want to digest material quickly.  Almost like the old Evelyn Wood School of Speed Reading on steroids.   There a couple of reasons why you should write easy-to-scan press releases. First, just like your email inbox is overwhelmed with emails, journalists are sent hundreds of press releases every day and here’s a big “surprise:”  They seldom read every press release word for word, but scan them to find information that they find interesting (or think their viewers, listeners or readers will find interesting).  When you have limited time, you can scan a list in a few seconds and get a good overview of the story.

3. Readers Can Preview Content Easily with List Headlines. You must describe what the story is about in your headline clearly and concisely so the news room decision maker can quickly determine if the story will work for their broadcast or publication. Also, this is really a helpful tool and technique when you distribute your press release online.  Readers tend to scan online content rather than read it based on reputable eye-tracking studies and a list-style press release makes it easier for readers to interact with your content online.

4. A Good List Will Sound Authoritative.  Lists are generally written to serve as the go-to resource for a particular topic. When you write, “Top Five Ways to Save $100 Every Week”, you’re saying that your personal finance methods are the best and you have expertise on the topic to give it credibility.

5. Lists Create Controversy that Gets Attention.  Readers love lists and lists get people talking since there will always be something you left out or people don’t agree with and they’ll want to let you know about it. This concept applies to press releases too because they create a more interesting story that will engage viewers, listeners and readers and that’s what broadcast and print media is about to producers and editors.  Grabbing an audience so the advertisers will want to sponsor your program or publication.

So the next time you’re starting a P.R. campaign, start thinking about a press release written with a good relevant list that relates to your client, product or service that will grab attention.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

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