In Blog, lessons

Popular stories in the media often originate from a press release. Each week, we pick one of those popular announcements and distill down key PR lessons that you can immediately apply in your own business. This week: the sale of prime Los Angeles real estate, which is written just like a new product announcement.

America’s Most Expensive Home Hits the Market in Bel-Air at $350 Million – Los Angeles Times

Not only did this news make headlines in upmarket property guides like Mansion Global and Town&Country, it also created a buzz among lots of renowned media outlets like Forbes, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune.

Why did the media like this story so much and what can we learn from this news announcement that was released by three realtors — Coldwell Banker, Hilton & Hyland, and Berkshire Hathaway?

What Works:
  • Strong News Hook. The authors of this news release didn’t have to look far for a dynamic news hook. In fact, they had two. The $350 million price tag is a lot of money and big numbers make news. This property is also on the market for the first time in 30 years, a nice use of a superlative hook. While the release doesn’t actually say it, both Forbes and the L.A. Times refer to this property as the most expensive home in the U.S.
What Doesn’t Work:
  • Too Much Clutter. The headline and the lead are both too wordy and should be more concise. Including the listing agencies in the headline and lead comes off as self-serving and generally distracts from the main point: the press release is about the property, not the realtors. Instead the agents should have gone the extra mile by including a quote from an independent industry expert to illustrate the significance of the property.
What We’ve Learned: Quality Trumps Quantity

If you’re promoting a luxury brand or launching a new product, everything about your press release should reflect the uniqueness of the product. In our example, this iconic 25,000 square foot property — inspired by 18th Century French Neoclassical design — should be the star of the piece. Using clear descriptive language elevates your product, attracts attention and backs up your news hooks.

A press release should resemble an inverted pyramid with the most important information at the top. Keep your headline and lead short and to the point, effectively summarizing the whole release in a few sentences. Names and facts about your company that are not 100% relevant to the narrative should form part of the boilerplate at the end of the release. Anytime you have a new product announcement, or a new listing of prime real estate, you should always highlight the remarkable and distinct characteristics that will entice the media — and buyers. Here’s another example of a new product announcement from yogurt maker Yoplait.

Check out Coldwell Banker, Hilton & Hyland, and Berkshire Hathaway’s announcement here and let me know in the comments section below why you think the media liked this story so much and what lessons you will likely apply in your next press release.

Alex Armitage is co-founder of Publiqly, whose step-by-step systems help small and medium-sized companies write press releases that journalists and bloggers can’t ignore. Were you forwarded this post? Sign up to receive our weekly press release lessons directly in your inbox.


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