Whether you’re a writer or musician wanting to promote your latest brain-child; the owner of a business that needs some publicity or a member of a charity or sports club where you want to raise awareness, one of the best ways to do this is to send a press release to your local newspaper/s. You can usually do this by post or email – but check to find out which they prefer.
So, how do you go about preparing a press release that will get published?
Editors receive many press releases. So to give yours the best chance of publication, it must catch their attention and be interesting. You need to write in the third person (don’t use ‘I’ or ‘We’ unless you are including a quote) and use a clear font such as Times New Roman or Ariel. If possible, keep it to one page.
Write PRESS RELEASE in capitals and centre it at the top of the page. Under this comes the all-important headline which should describe the content of the press release in a nutshell. Sharp, concise and amusing headlines are the most attention-grabbing.
The first paragraph should contain a brief summary of what the press release is about and this is followed by more detail in consecutive paragraphs. Remember, if the editor is short of space he’ll cut some words – usually from the bottom. So, it’s important that the most important information is in the first few paragraphs.
Make sure that you include plenty of interesting facts and information – even a quote from a member of staff or the chairman of the company or organisation. You must have a good story to tell - but keep it concise!
Make sure you write in the style and tone of the newspaper or magazine you hope to get published in. Use double-spacing and wide margins to make the text easy to read and edit.
At the bottom of the page, write your contact details including phone number and email address, so that you can be contacted immediately if the editor needs further information. Indicate whether photos are available – always a good thing!
Find out to whom you should send your release (the name of the editor) and what the deadline is for copy. There’s no point sending it on Thursday evening if the paper is printed the following day and the grand opening of your new café will be held on Saturday. Instead, send it a couple of weeks in advance.
And finally, before you post it or click the ‘send’ button, check your spelling and any factual information – and then get someone else to check it again so that you can be sure there are no errors.
Follow these tips, and you’ll give yourself a far better chance of seeing your Press Release in print.