Your aim is to get press coverage and raise awareness among your target audiences. Before you write and issue a press release, ask yourself “Is there news value in this story?" Too often organizations feel obliged to write press releases using material that isn't newsworthy.
FACT: If the journalist does not consider it newsworthy, it won’t get picked up.
DO THESE THINGS
- Ensure your contact details including email, phone number, and website are shown prominently in the header.
- Put a date on the release - ideally the same date as the day on which you send out the release.
- Remember that there are two forms of press releases, some which are created "For Immediate Release" and "Hold until X Date". By holding the release you are allowing the journalist to prepare the story but not actually run it until the date chosen by you.
- Keep your opening short and two the point. The introductory paragraph is a very quick overall summary of the release and your story. It is very often the only section of your release a reporter or producer will read before making a decision as to whether or not they want to do your story, so be sure it is thorough, interesting, and to the point.
- Save in depth information for later in the release.
DON'T DO THESE THINGS
- Worry about having the snappiest or funniest headlines. The newspapers and magazines have people whose job it is to summarize the story into a catchy title. You just need to just make sure your title is interesting, makes sense and stands out. Never include “Caps Lock” titles or several numbers or explanation points, which can cause your headline to be seen as spam.
- Forget that you are not the one writing the story just the release, so it should be to the point and factual. Save the long, flowery editorial for the reporters!
- Leave out a quote section, and be sure you put the title of the person you are quoting and use their full name as well as company affiliation. The quote portion of the press release is your chance to share a decent sound bite that the media can focus on, and use. The more interesting your quote the more chance it has of being used on blogs, websites, and the news.
- Send out the release without a boilerplate, which is a brief paragraph at the end of a press release that describes the company or person you are sending the release out about. It usually follows the bold words "ABOUT (insert company or expert name here)."
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