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Writing a Press Release

 

There are many ways to get the word out on the street about your business and the products and services that you offer but few are more effective than a press release. A press release creates an aura of objectivity that a paid advertisement can't and, if well written, may be picked up by multiple news sources providing the most cost-effective method of communication.

A press release is simply a short document that contains summary information and is used to call the attention of the media to an event or newsworthy happening at your company. They are distributed to journalists, the press, and other news media. It is very important to write the press release so that it follows a conventional format and that it is newsworthy and interesting.

You have to make your press release stand out from the multitude of press releases that the media gets everyday. Give them the basics:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • How

Focus on the news that you want to communicate or promote. Keep it to three to five paragraphs and include objective, third party quotes. Remember, less is more!

Include the following information:

  • Contact name and address
  • Web site address (if applicable)
  • Email address
  • Release time
  • Headline
  • Dateline (city of origination)

At the end of the press release, be sure to use a pound sign (#). This means "The End" in shorthand.

Publishing a Press Release

Now that you've written a great press release that all the media outlets are going to want to publish, you have got to distribute through the right media channels. A press release can be sent to the large services such as PR Newswire or Business Wire to reach the most media outlets but it may be more effective to target local and state media outlets.

Target a few newspapers, local business magazines and TV or Radio stations to send your story to. Increase your chances of getting your press release published by sending it to a specific reporter or editor, most likely to write about your company. Often, media outlets will assign reporters to a specific industry or type of news story. Identify these people and send your press release directly to them. Follow up by telephone within 24 hours to see if they have read it and have any further questions.