We're living in a time of ever shortening attention spans. People are making snap decisions about whether to read this article or watch that video.
Same holds true for members of the media. They are inundated with emails throughout the day, many of which are press releases or advisories clamoring for their attention. Most of these same reporters rarely pick up the phone, so trying to call them to make sure they saw the release is fruitless.
The key, then, is to offer them something in the first eight seconds that will cause them to continue reading just long enough to consider the news worthiness of your release.
That's why the headline, the secondary headline and the opening sentence of the press release are so important. Here's why.
It's crucial to put the news hook in the first line.
The headline will be the thing that causes them to open the email. If they'not convinced there's real news in the email, they may hit delete without ever even reading it. Some reporters tell us they mass delete emails just to clear out their inboxes.
The secondary headline can play a role in that decision if it can be seen in the subject line right along with the headline. Most of the time, however, the subject line includes something like, "For immediate release..." In other words, no help at all.
If you're fortunate to have a reporter actually open your email, the first line may be all they read. That's why it's crucial to put the news hook in the first line. Do not leave your big announcement or key finding from your report for the second or third paragraph because you wanted to set it up with a clever narrative. The reporter may never see it.
Remember? You've only got seconds. You can hear the clock ticking.
Mack Communications | @Mack_Comm