As a businessperson, there may come a time when you need to get the word out about a newsworthy event. Perhaps you’ve written a book or have an interesting story you’d like to tell. Writing a press release can be one of the easiest ways to make your announcement. And media outlets want to hear your news; it’s their job to get the word out.
Here are five tips on writing an effective press release from public relations expert Marsha Friedman, author of Celebritize Yourself: The 3-Step Method to Increase Your Visibility and Explode Your Business:
1. Note deadlines. Newspapers, magazines, even online publications have deadlines they need to meet. So having your press release in on time is vital. If your goal is to tie in your announcement with a specific season or event, determine the outlet’s lead time and submit well in advance. You can find submission deadlines and other information for most publications online.
2. Read the publication. Ascertain what sort of content a publication carries and tailor your submission accordingly. The owner of a children’s art space, for example, might want to provide tips to cultivate creativity. She might send an article to a publication’s general editor or find out if the publication has a parenting or arts page and submit her ideas to the editor of that section.
3. Watch the news. Keeping up with current events may give you ideas as to how to make your pitch timely. Many publications look to tie in their content with recent news headlines. If your announcement or pitch for content has some relevance to recent happenings, don’t wait. Send it off right away.
4. Get to the point. A press release should be a brief and concise statement that an editor can quickly comprehend. Avoid a long narrative with paragraph after paragraph describing your product, book or idea. Brevity will increase the chances your press release will be read.
5. Highlight important information. Don’t make an editor search for your contact information or other details relevant to your news. The information an editor would need to publish your story should be easily accessible. Don’t give him an excuse to pass you over come press time.
Even following these tips, it can be difficult to capture an editor’s interest. But it’s not impossible. Make sure you paste your pitch into the body of your email rather than sending it as an attachment so that it will not land in a junk-mail file by accident. Then, a polite follow-up call to make sure your pitch was received may be all that’s standing between you and the publicity you need.
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