Tuesday, November 08, 2005

How to Write a Press Release: Part I

Purposes and Preparation

I’ve been asked to draft a press release announcing my friend Sharie’s recent awards within the music business. Press releases are an important part of any business – they’re easy to produce, they’re timely, their content is controllable, and – best of all – they’re free.

This means that if they’re used correctly, they can drum up free publicity for you, your business, or your cause.

Press releases are not feature articles. They are not editorials or opinion pieces. They are not letters to the editor. They are not brochures. They are simply a way of communicating with the media and telling them of your involvement in a current event.

Press releases can be used in a variety of situations. They are appropriate, for instance, if you have:

• Been nominated for, or received, an award,
• Recently sold or published a project,
• Begun a new business venture,
• Landed a major client,
• Reached a significant educational milestone, or
• Been instrumental in bringing a celebrity or other notable to the area.

Think “Dragnet”
Press releases are easy to write. They are nearly skeletal in their construction. Only the facts are necessary. If the editor of the publication wishes more information to round out the release, he or she can contact you.

When writing a press release, bear in mind that most news media publish text with very short paragraphs. As you lay out the facts, each paragraph should have only a few sentences in it. Single sentence paragraphs are fine. Tell your news succinctly, and be done.

Also, remember that there is no guarantee that your release will be published. Shorter releases have a better chance of publication than longer releases, simply because they can be used to easily plug page holes.

Tune in Thursday for what to include in the perfect press release…

More Kudos!

I am very proud of my friend Terri – also a writer. Her excellent article is not only prominently featured in the premier issue of a new and gorgeous glossy periodical, but she also played the negotiation game very well. She contacted the editor in a professional manner, turned in a well-written piece on time, and (here’s the best part) did NOT sell herself short when it came time to talk about remuneration.

While too many local publications are content to pay her in peanuts, this one was more than happy to fairly compensate her, while at the same time recognizing her talent and asking for more.

It’s high time something like this happened to a deserving scribe. I, for one, would love to see more of it!