You toil over every word, reposition key phrases and fuss over how to summarize bullets better. The message you craft and the words you include really do matter. But how much of your message is actually being heard?
Studies show people tend to scan online content more than they actually read it. So in addition to what you say and how you say it, you also need to think about how you present it. If you want to ensure your audience isn’t quickly moving on from a boring-looking, block-paragraph press release, use more engaging formatting techniques around your messaging whenever possible.
One of the more common forms of eye-scanning is the F-shaped pattern, wherein people read across the top (title/headline), then scan down the left side of a web page. (See image below for a recent Cision release combatting this quick, F-shaped scanning pattern.)
If you’re not presenting your content with engaging page elements – features to draw their eyes inward – then your target audience potentially could be missing key messages or CTAs you want them to take away.
Break up your text with multimedia, section headers, bullets, italicized words and strong CTAs!
The following releases from June used these techniques particularly well:
A real standout in breaking up the potential quick scan here, Deloitte uses strategic bolding within the bulleted section, as well as engaging, bolded section headers (“Key takeaways”; “Why this matters”; etc.). To boot, in-line infographics successfully draw the reader’s eyes inward to key data points and messaging.
Google goes all in with utilizing many of the essential eye-catching elements: subheads, a logo, bullets early on, quotes in italics, bolded section headers, and three CTAs sprinkled within the main body that stand out nicely.
From great, short subheads and a standalone CTA to bullets and a clean infographic, Robert Half does a superb job relaying their research report to the audience. They keep the reader engaged, making it nearly impossible to simply do a quick scan down the left side of the content.
4. The Path to Recovery in the Caribbean (Bloomberg)
This piece of content uses bolding and shorter paragraphs very nicely, to keep a reader engaged with their invitation to a timely forum, and not get lost in longer paragraphs which one might be inclined to just scan.
5. MTN DEW® Transports Fans To Baja Island With Two New MTN DEW Baja Blast® Flavors, A Baja Room Spray Collection, And Tons of New Merch
PepsiCo does well using bullets early, bolding strategically, and including a good image and pull quote – engaging the reader as much as possible with their summer campaign.
The bottom line: While Cision Distribution, powered by the PR Newswire and PRWeb networks, will get your content in front of the right audience for you, it’s up to you to keep said audience engaged with your content. Utilizing the features highlighted in the five examples above will help.