Write Press Releases That Dazzle
When a reporter is wowed, intrigued, surprised or captivated by your press release, you can be pretty sure you'll get some media coverage. And for most businesses, positive media coverage is worth its weight in gold. The bad news: Although truckloads of news releases fill reporters' inboxes every day, few of them are dazzling, or even interesting.
As a former editor, I speak from experience when I say that most press releases end up in the garbage can. But don't let that stop you from sending them - a well-written news release can generate more publicity and goodwill than you could ever accomplish with a paid advertisement. To help keep your release out of the garbage and get it in print, start by following these five guidelines.
1. Make it newsworthy. Releases should be used to announce news, and they should only be sent when something truly newsworthy is happening at your company. Don't send releases that sound more like advertisements than news; they'll get tossed immediately. (However, newsworthy events may happen more often than you realize - see the Resource Box below for ideas.)
In keeping with the news format, eliminate any superfluous language or outrageous claims (don't describe yourself or your products as "wonderful," "amazing" or "unbelievable"). Is your release written in language that would appear in a story in the newspaper or magazine you're pitching? If not, it might sound like fluff rather than news. Make it clear from the beginning what your news is and why it should matter to the reporter and his or her readers.
2. Tell a good story. Although you're sharing hard news (I hope), your press release should still be interesting to read. Even though your readers are media-types who do this for a living, they still like to hear a good story. Draw in your readers with a creative introduction and interesting language. Find new ways to say ordinary things. Read magazines, newspapers and books and pay attention to the stories that interest you and keep your attention. Then try to mimic those techniques and styles when writing your own releases.
3. Target your audience. As with any writing project, keep your audience in mind when you're writing. The editor of a small-town newspaper has different interests than the editor of a trade journal for CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Choose the media outlets that would be most interested in your release and send it to them. For best results, you might even send each person a unique version tailored to their interests. And always send your release to an actual person - rather than sending a release to a general news desk, find out which reporter covers your industry or the type of news you're sending and send it directly to him or her.
4. Develop a relationship. Once you've located the reporters who cover your industry, start developing relationships with them. Call or e-mail to introduce yourself and find out if they prefer releases to be faxed, e-mailed or mailed. Be respectful of their time and the harried pace of their work, but don't be afraid to check in occasionally to follow up on a press release or let them know how much you enjoyed a recent article. Don't just rely on them for fr*e publicity; find out what you can do for them and do it - one-sided relationships never last. Be easy to work with and willing to accommodate their needs, and they'll be much more interested in covering your news.
5. Be consistent. Your communication with the media must be ongoing in order to get their attention. One release sent in a vacuum will probably not yield a lot of results. If reporters are unfamiliar with you or your business, it won't be a top priority for them to cover your release. However, if they're accustomed to receiving (actual) news from you and you've made an effort to forge a positive relationship with them (see #4), they're more likely to a) actually read your releases, and b) publish them, or at least keep you in mind as a resource for future stories. If you really want to take advantage of the possibilities press releases can offer, keep hanging in there.
Nancy Jackson, owner of The WriteShop, helps companies better market their products and services with powerful written communications including Web content, newsletters, brochures and publications. Subscribe to her free monthly newsletter at www.writeshoponline.com.
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Same Time Next Year: Using Editorial Calendars as Part of your PR Efforts
It's the time of year when calendars crowd out the books and magazines in bookstores and are even on sale at reduced prices. But there's a special kind of calendar that all good public relations professionals use - the editorial calendar.
Is PR All About Image? NO!!
That's like asking if advertising is all about type faces and photography. The answer to both questions is a teeth-clenched "of course not!"What public relations IS all about, rather than hollow images, is the very real business of dealing effectively with target audience perceptions and behaviors that have a major effect on an organization.
How Would You Ever Know?
Your important outside audiences behave in ways that stop you from reaching your objectives.Because you haven't paid much attention to their care and feeding, is it likely you'll know they are placing a hammer lock on your business in time to limit the damage?With some luck, you might save the day, but why let matters fester until you have a bad situation like this on your hands?Especially when a proven sequence can help you alter the perceptions, and thus behaviors of your most important external audiences making the achievement of your business objectives much easier.
Leveraging Your Reputation - Making PR Work for You
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The 7 Deadly Sins of Press Releases
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Five Great News Stories You're Sitting On Right Now
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Does Your Small Business Have a Grooming Policy?
They say that image is everything and some of us have seen it all. Have you ever went into a store and just could not believe what you were seeing behind the counter? Is that a real human? Without trying to make the world into a civilization like the "Borg" there are a few things you need to think about in your small business.
Dont Use PR
?lose the confidence of your key target audiences? discourage them from taking actions that lead to your success?fail to achieve your department, division or subsidiary objectives.A sad scenario that should not occur.
How To Get Radio-Active PR For Your Non-Profit Cause-Part One
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Hispanic Media Relations Training: What to Do When Hispanic Media Call
You are a spokesperson for your company, representing it for public speaking and media interviews. You are going about your everyday affairs, granting media interviews on a new product or service your company launched or a timely topic of general interest.
Maybe the Strongest PR on Planet Earth?
Strong for business, non-profit and association managers when they use the fundamental premise of public relations to produce external stakeholder behavior change - the kind that leads directly to achieving their managerial objectives.And strong when they do something positive about the behaviors of those outside audiences that most affect their organization.
How To Write A Press Release
A well structured press release in an excellent way of receiving free publicity for very little effort and cost. It is simply the process of writing a newsworthy story about your company, products or services in a reasonably standard format, and then distributing it in the correct way to relevant media contacts.
Between Now and Economic Recovery
There's still time to review your public relations program like Navy flight crews go over a fighter jet.Reason is, you need to fine-tune your public relations activity looking forward to a snap-back in the economy, when you'll need all guns blazing.
What You Dont Know About PR Can Hurt You
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Levines Laws For Pitching With Panache
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The Press Release Method to Get Great Publicity
If you have had any experience in public relations or marketing, you probably know how well press releases can work. There are many, many companies who have increased sales by 100%-300% in a matter of months simply through using press releases.
Making Press Releases Work - Creating News Where None Existed
Aren't you tired of hearing how extremely easy it is to get free publicity? Have you tried the suggestions that most public relations "gurus" give you? The hard, cold truth of the matter is that you cannot write a press release about any old aspect of your business and have it end up on the home page of the Fortune Small Business Web site. It just doesn't work that way.
How To Get FREE Publicity Whenever You Want !
What you are about to read is a step by step guide to getting FREE publicity. Simply, this is advertising that costs nothing, yet can bring in regular and substantial orders for your products and services.
Is This Any Way to Run Your PR?
You bet!Especially for business, non-profit and association managers who REALLY need to persuade their key outside audiences to their way of thinking. Then move them to behaviors that lead to the success of their department, division or subsidiary.
Driving Near School Buses in Company Vehicles
School BusesWhen approaching a school bus: Slow down; If the amber lights are flashing, the bus is about to stop; If the red lights are flashing, the bus is stopped; In many states it is against the law to pass a school bus with flashing red lights and/or an extended stop arm.Do not upset school bus drivers.
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