Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category

Distributing Your Press Release: What You Need to Know

By Amanda Bala

In our first article, The Fine Art of Press Release Writing, we explored the proper way to write a press release.  Now that you know how to write a press release, the next important step is to effectively distribute it.  Where do you send it?  Who do you send it to?  And how do you send it?

Who to contact:  In the good old days there were the big 3 of media: newspapers, television stations and radio stations. Nowadays the options seem endless. Although the big 3 are still whom you will most likely send your release to, don’t forget online sources such as blogs, online publications, and for events, online event calendars.  As for the specific folks to send your release to… With print publications (newspapers, magazines) you will most likely want to reach the editor. For radio and television, you will send it to the assignment desk. It is also okay to contact reporters and producers directly.

How to present the press release:  There are a couple of different ways to present a press release.  You can email the press release directly to the media source.  If you choose this option, be sure to have a very strong subject line. Your first goal is to get them to open the email, and without an enticing subject, it could go unopened.  Next, be sure to use the proper formalities in your email, but get right to the point.  The editors and reporters are not going to devote much time to reading the email and you want them to get to the main information of the press release itself.  This being said, be sure to paste the actual press release in the body of the email.  Do not send it as an attachment. You must make it as easy and as fast as possible for the media recipient to get to the story. They are very busy and don’t have time. By sending an attachment, it creates another step they need to go through to read it and that takes time. 

The second way to present a press release is to call the media outlet directly.  When doing this, be enthusiastic yet professional, and have a strong thought out pitch.  A great way to start off is by asking for 30 seconds of their time to pitch them a great story.  Give them the pertinent information quickly and make it interesting!  Do not go into any mundane details.  Again, they do not have the time for that. 

Follow Up:  One thing you need to understand about pitching press releases is that you might not receive a call or email back.  This does not necessarily mean that your press release is not being published.  Sometimes the editor, reporter, etc. simply does not have the time to contact you, but still plans on publishing your release.  It is okay to follow up with one phone call or email.  However, that is it.  The last thing you want is to pester them will multiple phone calls or emails.  This is a quick way to lose contacts and get yourself blacklisted for future press releases. 

Now that you know how to write a press release and the proper way to distribute them, you are on your way.  Take your time, have fun and get ready to get some free publicity!

The Fine Art of Press Release Writing

By Amanda Bala

Looking for a good way to get free publicity for your business? How about writing a Press Release?  This is one of the best ways to get your company exposure without paying a cent.  In this two part series, we will explore 1) press release writing and 2) the best way to distribute a press release. So, get ready to write your first stellar press release!

Press release writing is a very different style of writing than blogging, articles, or really anything. There are key components that you must have in your press release, not only to get it published, but to ensure that the people you distribute it to actually read it.

The Style: Most forms of writing are descriptive, or have a personality. This is not true of press release writing. Instead it should be clear, concise and factual. Reporters, Editors, Journalists, etc. do not want to waste their time reading fluff. They want the guts of the story… and they want it quickly.

The Headline:  This is the most important part of your press release.  In this one sentence, you must state exactly what the press release is about as well as command the attention of your audience.  The headline must be clear and to the point.  It is not artsy, not cutesy.  It grabs your readers’ attention and tells them why they must keep reading.

Sub headline: Although a sub headline is not always necessary, it can be helpful. This is the sentence where you can elaborate on your headline. The people that are going to be deciding whether or not to publish your news are not going to spend a lot of time on reading the release unless they are interested from the beginning. You have a very small window in which to catch their attention. This sentence can help you do that.

First Paragraph:  Start this paragraph off with the date and the city that the release is originated. The first sentence must enforce the headline. Then the next 1 or 2 sentences can elaborate. All the pertinent details must be in the first paragraph or at least bulleted under it. You want this to be concise and to the point. No creative adjectives or fluff. This paragraph does not need to be long. In fact, the shorter, the better (2-3 sentences).

Press Release Body: The rest of the press release should elaborate and reinforce the first paragraph. Only write the facts, do not use creative language, and don’t lace it with industry jargon that no one understands. Another beneficial addition to your release is a quote from the CEO or other important person that will give credibility. For example, if you are writing a press release about a charity fundraiser, getting a quote from the head of the charity would be helpful.

Boilerplate:  This is technically the “About Us” portion of the release. It should include all the relevant information about your company such as the mission, address, phone number, and website.  Again, this is all fact and no fluff. It is short and strictly informational so the reader can know your organizations pertinent information without having to call you or search for it online. This boilerplate should be included on every press release you write and identical on each one. 

Now that you are aware of the finer points of press release writing, join us next week for our article: Distributing Your Press Release:  What You Need to Know.