Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Is your press release ready to send? Think again.

Daily, reporters around the world weed through hundreds of emails in search of material they can actually use. Most of what they receive is deleted. If you want your release to stand out, here are some tricks of the trade:
  • Write a very short, pertinent subject line and don't use the words "Press Release".
  • If there is a date for an event, start the subject line with the date.
  • Include contact information - day and night phone and the contact person's name.
  • Send the press release in the body of the email, not as an attachment. 
  • Make it easy on the newsroom by sending the release as a Word document, not in a PDF format.
  • Photos help sell the story to the reporter or editor. For print, attach hi-res images.
  • Do not abbreviate names of places or things. Spell them out.
  • Double-check your spelling, punctuation and grammar. Are your tenses correct?
  • Keep your press release to no more than a page and a half double-spaced - or 300 words.
  • Write an enticing first couple of sentences. That is called the lede.
  • If you're writing about an event, make sure you have the cost of admission, hours, geographic street location, parking information and what people will be able to see or do.
  • Avoid using a press release to sell something. You'll just piss off the reporter. If you're selling a product or service, create a newsworthy reason to send the release. Focus upon the newsworthy aspect, not the product or service.
  • Avoid adjectives. They'll probably be deleted. Remember - just the facts.

MARKETING TIP: There are a lot of so-called PR people out there who think they know what they're doing. A press release can garner tremendous publicity if it is written correctly. Make sure your PR person does just that.

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