If you’ve read our newsletter Changing Lanes with any regularity-or irregularity-you know how we advocate repurposing and getting optimal value out of your written pieces (e.g. using your press releases as the basis for newsletter articles, Web content). To successfully repurpose, it’s CRITICAL to take into consideration that while the material remains relatively the same, the audience IS different.
For example, you want to repurpose a newsletter article as a press release. How you would write for a warmer, friendlier audience in a newsletter article is greatly different than how you write for the media. Somebody you know will hang in there a bit longer than somebody you don’t, particularly an overworked, underpaid editor or reporter. So, that headline and first paragraph better grab them AND deliver.
Second, you need to adjust the tone. A press release is a bit more formal. So, you wouldn’t necessarily be referring to somebody by first name within the body of the story or in repeated quotes (e.g. “…said D’Eramo” rather than “…said Joe.”)
The same would hold true of taking a press release and converting it to Web content. Web copy is a one-on-one conversation with the reader. So you do want to refer to them as you and be a bit more conversational with your language. And while a press release tries to present a great story angle, if you’re repurposing it into copy on your Web site, there needs to be a call to action of some sort. As a press release, the story is supposed to speak for itself without self-promoting.
Speaking of self-promoting, one of the many arguments for hiring a freelance copywriter is that he or she will be a bit more objective when creating collateral pieces and other promotional items. Does that mean they will not advocate your product or service as strongly as you would? Not at all. But the focus will be on how your product or service can meet the reader’s needs rather than how great your product or service might be. Typically, that’s what makes the sale or gets coverage.
The bottom line is when you write a release or draft an article, you do have an opportunity to use it for a number of different media. The trick is making it work for that specific medium.