Editorial is more difficult to write than an advert, because its sales message needs to be subtle. We have perhaps 5 seconds to grab their attention. Headlines and captions are often all a casual reader will notice, so use them to draw people into reading further. “Clickbait” headlines get attention, but annoy the reader if they don’t deliver what they promise!
We begin by defining your target audience – your prospect’s attention span is limited to “what’s in it for me”. Make it newsworthy. Be subtle, but include the overall benefit of your product or service and incorporate key features into testimonials. Ensure that images and text appeal to their tastes, needs and perspective.
Then to keep people reading, we use bulleted lists, indents and call-out boxes that break up the text. Many clients like to see long editorials to “get their money’s worth”. The fact is, a full page of editorial is only 500 words – writing more than that will get your press releases rejected, or edited down in a way you don’t like.
Working out what to say
First we talk to your sales team – they know the features customers ask about. We aim to be clear and use an appropriate tone and language and keep jargon to a minimum.
If possible, we talk to one of your customers, or people in your target audience. And of course we consider your competitor’s strong and weak points
Most trade magazines offer editorial space when booking an adverts, but clients don’t take advantage of the offer. “But I don’t have news,” they complain. Newsworthy isn’t necessarily a new product or a new order or contract (your new order is rarely newsworthy except to your competitors).
Sometimes it takes an outsider (like me) to identify some interesting aspect of your business. I can see your product or service as a customer would.
Photographs should depict a benefit from the customer’s perspective, in a memorable way. That means taking photographs of actual products, projects and customers and not just stealing something off the internet. Or purchasing a stock image of blue sky or a metaphor for your industry.
Extending your investment
Every press release can be published on your website, promoted on social media and included in a customer newsletter or email. Make sure you get the most mileage from every story.