How to Write Press Releases 101 – The Makeover! (Part III)

The Kentucky writer and marketing consultant of Wicked WordCraft offers this “before and after” example of a press release for a real estate agent.

Press Releases 101 – The Makeover! (Part III)

Shortly after we published PART I of this series on writing effective press
releases, Terry Smith of RE/MAX Fine Properties in Scottsdale Arizona contacted
me about making over a recent release he had put together. Here’s his “before” and “after”.

When I asked Terry to send me information to be included in his press release,
he sent me the following.

BEFORE:

Guaranteed Settlement Costs® now available to Arizona Homebuyers

Terry Smith Associate Broker with RE/MAX Fine Properties guarantees the dollar
amount of money needed to close his buyers’ homes at the time of contract
acceptance.

Too many times he has seen increases at the last minute. To eliminate the
stress his buyers feel when they don’t know the bottom line, I’ll
guarantee the dollar amount needed to close the transaction at time of contract
acceptance. If there are any additional charges discovered at the close of
escrow he will cover those surprises.

“Guaranteed Settlement Costs” is popular with his buyers who
are under a lot of stress buying a home. The last thing they need to worry
about is coming up with additional money at close of escrow due to an understatement
of closing fees.

Under his plan, my buyers enjoy a guaranteed price for ALL closing costs,
excluding the down payment. Buyers want to the bottom line. “What’s
it going to cost to move into my dream home?”

His buyers appreciate knowing my Guaranteed Settlement Costs program protects
them from any last minute requests for additional funds to successfully close
the transaction. He is the only Realtor® offering this program in Arizona.

He helps compile a closing package by negotiating fees with appraisers, lender,
home inspectors, and title companies. His team of professionals work together
to make the home buying process as stress free as possible.

His Guaranteed Settlement Costs covers items such as credit reports, appraisals,
document prep, fees, processing fees, underwriting fees, lender required pre-paid
items, title insurance, courier service, recording fees, homeowner transfer
fees, and home inspection fees. The only amount he does not cover is the down
payment. It is just one of the many services he offers to his buyers.

Terry Smith is an Associate Broker, ABR, and E-pro technology certified.
You can reach him at (602) 763-1858 for more information about this program
or go to his web site www.Welcome2Arizona.com.

The information appeared to be more of a sales pitch than a press release
and it was “rambling” in approach. So, I started with the format
and reworked the content to be more newsworthy, of more interest to casual
readers, and more “editor-friendly.”

I trimmed the length and tightened the content to be stronger and more effective.
Language was selected to appeal to the insecurities of new home buyers by
stating what won’t happen with this new program – which is probably
something that most first time buyers never realized COULD happen.

This puts the reader in the mind frame that this “insurance” against problems is necessary while generating enough interest to keep them
reading, and perhaps enough to get them to contact Terry for more information.
It also makes it more newsworthy and more of a public service piece. It helps
new homeowners avoid pitfalls.

From a body-text perspective, I pulled out one single sentence as a paragraph
to help break up the gray space and encourage the reader to complete the article.
Long paragraphs, or few paragraph breaks, usually mean readers quit reading
and browse elsewhere.

Variety helps ensure higher readership and selecting that particular sentence
supports the newsworthiness of the topic.

AFTER:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Terry Smith, Associate Broker RE/MAX Fine Properties
8901 E. Mountain View Road #201
Scottsdale, Arizona 85258
www.Welcome2Arizona.com
TerrySSmith@msn.com
1-800-515-8326

(Mr. Smith welcomes questions and is available for interviews.)

New Homebuyers Offered Guaranteed Settlement Costs®

Scottsdale, May 1 — A new Guaranteed Settlement Costs® program developed
by Associate Broker for RE/MAX Fine Properties, Terry S. Smith, (www.Welcome2Arizona.com) means Arizona homebuyers won’t be unpleasantly surprised with increased costs while sitting at the closing table.

Smith said, “I do not want my clients surprised at their closing because
the finance company, the escrow company, or some financial detail require
more money than they anticipated. We believe our clients deserve to know their
real bottom line before the closing. Now, our buyers can enjoy a guaranteed
price for ALL closing costs other than the down payment. If there are any
additional charges (above those quoted at the contract signing) discovered
at the close of escrow, I cover those cost personally. My new program has
generated a great deal of interest, particularly from individuals planning
to relocate to this area.”

Currently, Terry S. Smith with RE/MAX Fine Properties is the only Associate
Broker in the nation offering this buyer-centric program.

This new program is designed to reduce buyer stress and to help buyers manage
details previously out of the control of real estate professionals. The broker
compiles a closing package by negotiating fees with appraisers, lenders, home
inspectors and title companies on behalf of real estate clients to cover credit
reports, appraisals, document preparation fees, processing fees, underwriting
fees, lender required pre-paid items, title insurance, courier service, recording
fees, homeowner transfer fees, and home inspection fees.

####

About RE/MAX Fine Properties: RE/MAX Fine Properties is a Scottsdale, Arizona
Real Estate Brokerage serving relocation clients worldwide for over 15 years
and is the largest brokerage in the Southwest, doing more transactions than
any other RE/MAX office in this area. RE/MAX Fine Properties utilizes over
150 professional agents to meet the needs of all local and relocation clients.

For more information, contact Terry Smith by calling 1-800-515-8326, emailing
him at TerrySSmith@msn.com or visiting the web at www.Welcome2Arizona.com.

The format above is a standard widely accepted by editors (i.e. the ones that
will hopefully pick up the phone and call you for an interview!). Also, it is
strongly suggested to keep your press release short enough to fit on one page.
Remember, the primary purpose of a press release is to compel editors of various
publications (i.e. your local newspaper, both online and print editions) to
run a story about you. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to pick
up the phone. A third party story about your service is worth many times its
weight in paid advertisements.

Lastly, I would also recommend that Terry get an e-mail address that matches
his domain name for a more professional appearance.

Thanks, Terry, for agreeing to have your press release “made over” this month!

© Copyright 2004 by Angela Allen Parker of Wicked Wordcraft

This June 2004 article appears in the monthly” Word Magic” column in the www.epowernews.com newsletter.

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