Baiting Your Hook in Press Release Writing

Baiting Your Hook in Press Release Writing

To get people to pay attention to your press release writing, you need to build a hook into your story. What’s a “hook”? Well, like a hook that catches fish, a news hook is some interesting angle that makes readers “bite” so to speak. You can think of the news media as a vast ocean of competing stories. There are thousands of press releases every day. It’s easy to float by readers, unnoticed. What will make yours stand out? What will make the audience bite?

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If you know what to look for, you can see hooks in almost every story in the newspaper, the Web or on TV. Hooks tend to vary by audience and news category. With national news, for example, the hook is usually broad. For example, a press release about the proposed healthcare laws will try to hook the audience with some shocking, attention-grabbing detail like the number of people who might lose health coverage if it passes. This could be called an outrage hook. The reader sees it and thinks, “What? No! What’s the story. I better read this.” Hooked…

In the narrower niches we typically deal with at economypr.com, the hooks are more specific to the intended audience. For instance, if you’re writing a press release to promote a kitchen product on Amazon, your hook would be related to cooking. The question, of course, is how to bait your hook?

There’s a temptation to try to make product features into hooks, but that’s usually not the best choice. Let’s say your make a colander that’s designed with a special handle to avoid getting burned by hot water. A poorly conceived hook might be “New colander features new safe handle design.”

Hooks work better when they intrigue, when they ask questions that the reader hopes will be answered in the press release. In this sense, a better hook for the safe colander would be, “New colander reduces kitchen injuries.” The reader will be more like to read the press release with this hook because the press release promises to offer a solution to a problem. People get injured in the kitchen. How can this be avoided? Read on and find out…

Conjoint or paradoxical ideas make the best hooks. They play on the reader’s sense of how the world works. In our example, a reader might expect a nifty kitchen gadget to be expensive. A conjoint hook might read, “Now a safer kitchen costs you less than a dangerous one.” This hook challenges the reader’s assumption that safety costs extra. Safety will save you, now. How? Read on…