All You Need to Know About Press Release Writing and Distribution
Before you even think about writing a press release, there are a few things you need to know about the media. Here's the first - and most important - of them:
1. Journalists receive hundreds of press releases every week
Depending on the publication they're writing for, they may even get hundreds of press releases every day. So you're up against some pretty stiff competition. Obviously you're going to have to make sure your press release stands out, and grabs her attention. But how?
2. The vast majority of these press releases remain unread.
Luckily, the situation isn't quite as desperate as it may seem. You don't really have to compete with all of these hundreds of press releases. You only have to compete with the good ones. The reason? The rest of them go straight to that round metal filling cabinet on the floor...
When I worked as a reporter, it was my job to plough through the huge pile of press releases we received every day. Pretty soon I realized that only around 5% of them were ever any use to us. The rest were either transparent attempts at self-promotion from local business owners, or were on subjects which our newspaper just didn't cover.
What can we learn from this? Well, two things:
* If you want your press release to be read, you have to give the journalist the kind of news they're interested in covering
* In order to do this, you have to actually READ their newspaper.
Back to our journalists, and the final two things you need to know about them.
3. Journalists are very, very busy
Unfortunately, the newspaper industry is similar to many other industries in that there's a tendency to hire fewer staff than are really needed. This is bad news for journalists, but it's also bad news for your press release, as it basically means that the journalist you send it to will probably not have time to read it properly, and will simply scan the first line. If that first line doesn't grab their attention, they'll file it straight into the bin.
4. The media don't owe you anything
Here's something that most people forget: newspaper owners are running a business too. Their business makes money by selling copies of their newspaper, and trust me, they're in it for the money: they're not providing a public service.
When I worked on local newspapers, we would get a lot of phone calls from people who seemed to feel that it was our duty to print the stories they gave us, whether it was about their child winning a prize at school or their business winning a new client.
The problem was that as much as we'd liked to have helped these people, we were running a business. The success of that business depended on us providing news that people actually wanted to read, and, sadly, no one really wants to read about a child winning a book token or a business signing a new contract. (Unless, of course, you're the child's parents or the owner of the business.)
So, now you know a little bit about the media, it's time to sit down and write that press release...
(This article is an extract from the ebook "PR Power: How to Write a Killer Press Release - and make sure it gets published" by Media Relations Expert Amber McNaught.)
Amber McNaught is the author of "PR Power: How to Write a Killer Press Release - and make sure it gets published!" Buy the ebook online for $9 (£4.99) here.
Amber also offers an affordable press release writing and distribution service.
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