The difference between writing for customers and writing for editors

Having discussed yesterday why “press releases” should be replaced with customer-centred news announcements, it’s only fair to look at what makes the news announcement different. Remember, if the place where the news is going to appear is your own website, or a publication which will print anything as long as you pay for it, then the content should be aimed directly at the customer, not an editor. So, what rules go out of the window?

Firstly, frequency. If it made sense in the past not to swamp editors with press releases, the same doesn’t apply when you decide what gets published, and when. Quite frankly, you can put out a news announcement every ten minutes if there’s that much to say. It’s all content, and content gets you noticed. Just be careful how much you push onto your customers and prospects, if you deliver material directly.

Next, remember you’re now writing a sales document. All the things we’ve discussed here in the past about sales copywriting apply. Illustrations and photography, if applicable, need to be appropriate to the reader, not designed to make an editor think “that’ll brighten up my magazine”.

Finally, think about your distribution channels, and ensure you’re formatting things appropriately. For example, a common setup is to write a news announcement directly to the company website (probably managed using blogging software), which then automatically fires out the story to a customer email list, puts the title and an excerpt on a newsfeed, and posts the headline and a link onto Twitter. You need to think about how the various elements of the announcement – both words and images – will look in the different places they’ll appear.

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