Several organizations and businesses want media coverage of their activities, and simultaneously several newsrooms are searching for local (or even national and international) topics to cover. If you are part of an organization that wants coverage, you can increase the odds of getting it by following a couple of simple news release (or press release) conventions.
First, you must have something new or different to say. As the name News suggests, the media is looking for information that is new or at the very least up-to-date. At the same time, reporters and editors want information that’s pertinent to their readers; select your media targets carefully, and tailor the content of the release to their audience).
Second, your headline should be as exciting as a newspaper headline. It ought to promise something new, dramatic, or timely. Make the editor or reporter want to know more. Keep in mind, though, the claim should be credible and relevant.
Third, in the first paragraph of the body, get in what journalists call the Five W’s: Who, What, Where, When, and Why. Actually, try to have them into the first sentence, and if you cannot, at least start with a clear concise statement that summarizes the story.
Traditionally, reporters have attempted to acquire the substance of each story into the first paragraph because they didn’t know where, or whether, their stories would be cut. So, they begin with the most significant information and conclude with the least important. That manner, regardless of where the story was cut, the best material remained.
Fourth, write and rewrite your news release again and again prior to ‘releasing’ it. Use active verbs and transitions (from sentence to sentence, and paragraph to paragraph). Boil down the content as much as you can; 2 pages is acceptable, but one is better.
Fifth, follow this standard format: On the top of the page, write this, in all caps:
FOR IMMEDIATE Release (Generally this will be left-justified)
Or, if you want the release to be held until particular date/time, write something similar to this: FOR Release AT 10 A.M., AUGUST 23 (But don’t necessarily expect the embargo to be honored)
Skip a line and thenput in contact info, as in: Contact: Robert Abbott Telephone: 403 555-1234 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting403 555-1234end_of_the_skype_highlighting E-mail: email@example.com
Skip another line and add your headline (centered, and use title case or all-caps): Perpetual Motion Machine Unveiled
Now, the body of your news release, which should not go over two pages.
At the end of the body, add 3 number marks with single spaces between them, like for example: # # #
Repeat your contact information at the end , just as: Robert Abbott welcomes your inquiries at 403 555-1234 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sixth, prepare yourself for reporters’ questions. It goes without saying, of course, that you’d ready yourself for questions from reporters if you publish a release. I’d recommend you write out a list of questions that seem likely and make bullet-point answers for each of them. That manner, you’ll be ready for most of the questions. However, don’t read the answers back to reporters; just use them like a guide. Concurrently, presume you will get questions you simply can’t predict. Answer them as properly as you can; and should you cannot respond, your greatest bet is to tell the interviewer you’ll need to get much more information, and will call back when you do.
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