How to write a press release
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How to Write a Press Release

Learning how to write a press release (or news release) is fundamental to your marketing campaign. It's been an integral part of my success as an artist and it will be for you as well. Why pay for costly advertising when you can get it for free?

A press release is nothing more than a newsworthy statement distributed to the media. You can announce a wide range of news items with a press release such as awards and accomplishments, new products or services, special events, promotions, etc. Send your news release by email, snail mail, or fax to the editor or producer of the particular publication or broadcast your targeting.

Best time of day for a press release

There really isn't one. In fact scheduling a news release is more art than science. For the most part target between 9:30-11:00 in the morning. Early afternoon is probably the next best time. Past 2:30pm gets a little late if your targeting an immediate release. You want to give the assignment editor time to send out a reporter to cover your story.

Do avoid sending out your news release when a major all-consuming world event is happening. It's best to try and pick a slow news day, or course that's easier said than done unless your psychic antannae works.

When you send your release also depends on the publication your targeting. Each has a different schedule for producing their stories. Bottom line with marketing is to know your market and give it what it wants. Same goes for distributing press releases.

Here is a basic schedule to follow:
a.) Book reviewers usually need several months. Others don't want to see your release until the book is on the shelves.
b.) Many consumer magazines have a six month editorial preview.
c.) Features editors often run several weeks ahead of time, but sometimes squeeze items in on short notice.
d.) News departments only want breaking news, not yesterdays news.

How long should my press release be?

Shorter is better, so try and stay at two pages or less. Ideally, your release should be under 300 words for products. If you have a particular publication in mind for your release, look through an edition and see how many words are normally devoted to particular types of stories.

Writing your Press Release

Your press release should always be written in third person. The companies name, web address, location address and phone number should be printed clearly at the top of the page.

PRESS RELEASE should be spelled out in all CAPS and centred in bold. If the press release is for IMMEDIATE RELEASE, say so, on the left margin directly above the title in all caps. If the release is embargoed, put "EMBARGOED UNTIL..." with the date you want the story released. A release with no release date is presumed for immediate release.

THE HEADLINE

The headline and opening paragraph are the two most important elements. Keep the headline short, catchy and to the point; usually five to seven words is enough. It should be centered, and in bold. Do not capitalize every word.

Take out unnecessary words like “the,” “an,” and “that.” Avoid exclamation points which look like a sales pitch. A reporter isn't interested in helping you make money and can smell your sales pitch a mile away. He's looking for a story that will be interesting to his readers.

Some people prefer to tackle headlines last, because they’re often the most difficult part of a press release. That’s more a matter of preference. Sometimes writing the headline can help you focus the article to its important points.

OPENING PARAGRAPH

The opening paragraph normallybegins with the date and city for which the press release is originated. It should be enticing, concise, and to the point. The lead sentence should grab the reader and say concisely what is happening. The next 1-2 sentences then expand upon the lead sentence. This paragraph should focus on the main idea of the story, not the little details.

SECOND PARAGRAPH

The second paragraph is where you want to add a quote.Quotes add credibility and substance to your story. Keep your quotes short. This paragraph also explains details such as who cares; why you should care; where one can find it and when it will happen.

THIRD PARAGRAPH

The third paragraph answers any questions the main paragraph may have raised. The third and generally final paragraph is a summation of the release and further information on your company with the company contact information clearly spelled out.

ENDING

Journalistic standards have basic parameters that define the end of a press release: ###. Three # symbols, centered directly underneath the last line of the release indicate the end of a press release.

The contact details listed below can include:

Company Name
Contact Person
Office Address
Telephone and fax Numbers
Mobile Phone Number (optional)
Timings of availability
E-mail Addresses
Web site Address

THINGS TO REMEMBER:

Use your headline as the subject line of the e-mail. If you've written a good "grabber" headline, this will help your message stand out in the editor's e-mail inbox. Also a follow-up phone call can help develop a press release into a full story.


 
Robb Scott
Contact:
artist@www.robbscottdrawings.com
Greenfield, NS
Articles copyright 2008-2009 Robb Scott ©

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