Stealing with pride. Are you familiar with this terminology? It means “it’s okay to take ideas from others“. This is not what happens in this article. It is more about intellectual recycling. :) Although I am familiar with the concept of press releases at Amazon, I decided to partially copy some of the concepts, learnings, and words (which can be publicly found online) written by others. In full transparency, I am giving credits to the authors when needed. Now enjoy!

Amazon Press Release

How to smartly create a different kind of business plan and increase your chances of success for your product idea

Disclaimer: please note this article is a collection of personal thoughts and a few quotes from experts. All info is publicly available. The content hereby written does not reflect in anyway the position of the company I work for.

Dear reader,

With this article about how to write a press release the same way Amazonian do, I am sharing some techniques and personal recommendations that could help you build a better business plan. I hope you enjoy it.


INTRO

I am very much familiar with the concept of press release the way Amazon does it internally. It’s a rigorous process to stimulate good thoughts with a structured approach. I created a couple of them in the past and it took me a lot of time; several weeks or even months actually, as the amount of time you need to dedicate on research is high, and trying to explain your idea like you would to real customers requires a lot of effort and dedication.

But it pays off. Big time.

With a press release — the Amazon way — you get extreme clarity on what you are doing, why you are doing it and more importantly why your idea is supposed to be so good for the customer. Enjoy this reading and experiment yourself to see how powerful this tool can be.

We work backwards from the customer,
rather than starting with an idea for a product
and trying to bolt customers onto it

WHY?

Amazon puts the customer at the center of everything. Amazon works backward from the customer, rather than starting with an idea for a product. The press release is a good way to force employees to explain to the organization what their ideas are about, and how their solutions are going to solve a customer problem. By writing a press release, we put ourselves in the customer’s shoes so that even the most complex concepts can be explained and understood by the simplest customer.


If you can’t come up with a compelling press release,
the product you want to launch probably isn’t worth making

WHAT?

For new initiatives, a product manager or any other brilliant employee with an idea in mind writes an internal press release announcing the finished product (or service). It is “centered around the customer problem, how current solutions (internal or external) fail, and how the new product will blow away existing solutions[1]. The writer keeps iterating on the press release until they’ve come up with something really good, because “iterating on a press release is a lot quicker and less expensive than iterating on the product itself”.


HOW?

  1. Start with a headline that clearly names your product (or service) and states what it is going to do
  2. Write an opening paragraph that gives the most important details about your product (or service), how consumers will benefit from it, and the problem that it’s going to solve. You should write this as if it’s the only part anyone’s going to read
  3. Include quotes from your company spokesperson and from a hypothetical satisfied customer
  4. Conclude by briefly explaining how the customer can learn more or begin using your product (or service)
  5. Also, keep your Amazon press release simple! 3–4 sentences for most paragraphs. Don’t use technical terms, which are difficult to understand. Finally, no more than one page and integrate with an F.A.Q. section, which I personally find very important, as it is useful to anticipate challenging questions

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

  • Rule 1: must be stated at a future point in time where success has been achieved and realized. Press releases at “launch” are good, but a better one is sometime after launch, where true success can be discussed
  • Rule 2: discuss why it was important, often time to customers (or other key stakeholders). Discuss the accomplishments first in terms of why it is important to customers. How did the customer experience improve? Why do customer care? Then discuss other reasons why it was important and key goals
  • Rule 3: set an audacious and clear goal: Articulate clear measurable results including financial, operating, market share
  • Rule 4: outline the principles used that led to success. This is the trickiest, and more important. Outline the hard things accomplished, the important decisions, the design principles that led to success. Discuss the issues that had to be addressed to have success
  • Rule 5: be passionate and have fun while doing it. To me, the most important rule of all.

“If the press release is hard to write,
then the product is probably going to suck.
Keep working at it until the outline for each paragraph flows”

TEMPLATE

Find below the description of each section, or download the .doc version by following this link:

For inspiration, see also the official Amazon Press Releases repository here: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&p=irol-news&nyo=0

Heading — Name the product (or service) in a way the reader (i.e. your target customers) will understand.

Sub-Heading — Describe who the market for the product (or service) is and what benefit they get. One sentence only underneath the title.

Summary — Give a summary of the product (or service) and the benefit. Assume the reader will not read anything else so make this paragraph good.

Problem — Describe the problem your product (or service) solves.

Solution — Describe how your product (or service) elegantly solves the problem.

Quote from You — A quote from a spokesperson in your company.

How to Get Started — Describe how easy it is to get started.

Customer Quote — Provide a quote from a hypothetical customer that describes how they experienced the benefit.

Closing and Call to Action — Wrap it up and give pointers where the reader should go next.


That’s all! What do you think about these tips and recommendations? I am looking forward to hear your opinions in the comment section.