Press Releases are Stupid
Hi! I'm a press release!! I'm looooong. I have no pictures, complicated sentences, and lots of words in me that often mean nothing. Sometimes I don't even get to the point until the second or third paragraph!
Ok, so press releases have been around since the beginning of time, and maybe they do serve some purpose - as a formality. But even though the entire way we consume information has changed, I’ve been using these cumbersome essays since I was a soldier in the Israeli military communications unit, and back then personal pagers were as high-tech as you could get.
Today, the majority of your audience is on mobile, which means they are consuming your info on teeny tiny phones, sandwiched between short, visual posts that are far more interesting than the eye-test you just uploaded. They're also probably NOT going to click on the post to enlarge it, why do that when it's so much easier to scroll by to the next shiny post? Press Releases as they stand will do very little for you on places like Twitter, Facebook, or heaven forbid - Instagram.
If you’ve inherited a press release or similar document and been told to “Twitter it” by your boss, here’s what you should do instead:
1. Trim the fat – scan the release and find the 2-3 most important parts, and then see if you can shorten the sentences to make them more easily understood (turst me, you can.)
2. chop it up into bite-sized bits – take these shortened sentences you’ve just created and put them in a Twitter thread, Instagram story, Facebook paragraph, or whatever your poison. Threads are generally a good idea because they allow people to digest the posts one at a time, but provide context with content before and after.
3. If you do want to post the entire release or a link to it after doing the above, never post it with the title “Press Release.” Take the most important line or quote and make it the post itself, so that the majority of people who don’t take time to read the whole thing will at least get the message.
4. Consider a visual alternative – short text videos or graphics are easy to make using free apps or even regular editing tools on your phone. Don’t include too much in the image though, and make sure it’s formatted for mobile. Remember – as soon as the audience has to click on it to understand what you’re saying, you’ve lost over 90% of them.