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Publicity: Three Tips on Writing a Press Release

Use journalistic style

Reporters are busy. Just like you.

So when you write anything for the media, be concise and tight.

Short, simple, sentences. Lively. Ridiculously short. Even if they seem to violate those fourth-grade grammar rules about complete sentences.

Save big, sophisticated words for impressing old English teachers at school reunions. To get free publicity from the media, use common words.

It's OK. Trust me. It's how they write. It's what they want. Shows 'em you understand their jobs.

Keep everything short. Not just sentences.

The whole press release should be short - one page, or two at most. Honest.

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, one of this nation's enduring literary masterpieces, is only 278 words. Surely you can entice a reporter's attention with less than 400 words, which is about one page.

Hold the adjectives and the jargon

Be lively and colorful in your writing. But avoid the hype. Adjectives in a release doom you to the trash box. "Unique," "Exceptional," "Remarkable," "Cutting-edge"?. All they say to a reporter is, "toss me." Better: let the facts - your story - speak for themselves.

If there's anything reporters hate more than hype, it's jargon. Reporters have even created web sites to vent their frustration about this. Avoid hackneyed words and phrases like "solution" or "best-in-breed." Use plain English. Like Lincoln did.

Ned Steele works with people in professional services who want to build their practice and accelerate their growth. The president of Ned Steele's MediaImpact, he is the author of 102 Publicity Tips To Grow a Business or Practice. To learn more visit or call 212-243-8383.


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