Think Like a Reader
If you want to reach readers, you need to write “to” and “about” your readers, not about “us and our stuff.”
News editors are looking to be captured in stories that can assist their readers.
Indeed, the secret to reaching readers is to position your messages in your audience’s best interests. (Most communicators position their messages in their organization’s best interests. Which is fine, as long as you’re talking to yourself.)
To move people to act, give them what they really want. The product is never the topic. The program is never the topic. The plan is never the topic. The topic is never the topic.
The reader is always the topic. It’s about how your have created a joy, eased pain, or made life a little better that will attract your audience, not the specifics of your business product or service.
Subheads Are Important
Consider the numbers:
- Two-thirds of business-to-business editors said that fewer than half of the releases they receive are relevant to their publication, according to a survey conducted by Thomas Rankin Associates.
- 65% to 75% of city editors believed media relations pieces promote “products, services and other activities that don’t legitimately deserve promotion,” writes Dennis L. Wilcox and Lawrence W. Nolte in Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques.
- Some studies estimate that 55% to 97% of all releases sent to media outlets are never used, according to Wilcox and Nolte.
Turn that tide.