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Make the Most of Your Press Release

 Rita Schiano
Make the Most of Your Press Release
by Rita Schiano

A well-executed press release has an excellent chance of being picked up by a news organization. What can you do to increase your chances? Here are a few guidelines to follow.

Ask yourself this question: Is the information newsworthy? Of course your new business or product line is exciting to you. But how can you tweak the story to pique the interest of your newspaper’s readership?  Be an objective observer of your news item.

When structuring your press release, remember the basics we learned in English 101: Who, What, When, Where Why, and How. This information should be in the first two paragraphs of your release. Make sure the first two sentences of your release are effective, as they are the most important.

Tell the audience that the information is intended for them and why they should continue to read it. Deal with the facts and avoid excessive use of adjectives and fancy language. Don’t sell. A press release that tries to sell or advertise will be “permanently filed.” Be factual, not promotional.

Provide as much contact information as possible at the top of the release and at the end: event date, individual to contact, address, phone, fax, email, web site address.  If photos are available, say so. Make it as easy as possible for media representatives to do their jobs.

The headline must grab the attention of the editor. It should summarize the information in the press release, but in a way that is exciting and dynamic.

Use quotes. I find that editors respond to my press releases because I structured it like a news story. If an editor doesn’t have to assign a staff writer to rewrite a press release, he or she is more likely to print it.

Hire a professional writer. They know the score and generally have good contacts with editors. A little investment can go a long way.

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