Does your Press Release Pass the 5 Second Skim Test?

04.04.19 press release

In the ever evolving era of social media we all know the importance and power of using the internet to communicate an idea. Whether you’re a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker the vast majority of us hold the potential to turn thought into enterprise within just a few clicks.

The downfall however, is that due to this very competitive market, press releases and other PR pitches often get lost in the ether, nestled between other unread emails in an overflowing inbox with very little likelihood of a reply. Overall, it takes five seconds to skim a pitch.Therefore, it must contain some key ingredients for a journalist to not just take notice but to also want to invest their time in.

Here are three tips to keep in mind  before you hit send.

Keep it concise

Simplicity is key when it comes to writing your press release. Lengthy essay paragraphs not only look unpresentable but it can make key information hard to identify. If you find yourself getting bogged down with unnecessary jargon when reading back over it, that’s a bad sign. A helpful way to avoid this is to present your idea out loud to a friend, family member, pet, plant or even to yourself in the mirror. By doing this you will be able to hear your idea out loud which will give you a much clearer sense of what points to keep and what points are just fluff and don’t need to be included.

Make it Personal

Once you have audience proofed your content and feel ready to start sending, think twice before whipping out that mailing list. Try to write it as if you’re sending it to just one person. By personally addressing the journalist, it automatically creates a relationship with the specific recipient that demonstrates that you care about their involvement. This also gives people a sense of who you are as a person—the face behind the screen if you will.

Keep it Active

The language used in your press release is also equally if not more important, especially the headline. This is what people first see so it’s essential that it is engaging whilst also being informative. It is from this headline that journalists will decide if the content is worth reading.

Using active language as opposed to using passive language is a key tool in achieving this. By ‘active’ this does not mean highlighting everything in bold, in all caps and adding multiple exclamation marks at the end. It is instead about using verbs in either the present or future tense that will hold their attention. This will automatically shape the tone of the headline and in turn the entire press release. There will be a gravity to this that will peak their interests.

Your press release passes the test but do you have the right journalists to send it out to? MediaHQ is a database of media contacts which features over 6,000 journalists. We’ve shared over 198,796 stories from Ireland’s best brands. Click here or call Gaye on (01) 2541845 to find out more.