Why a Press Release?
- Name recognition
- Potential free media placement
- Informing customers about new products or developments
- Keeping customers informed
- Building relationships
The Goal of a Press Release:
- The goal is Newsworthiness & Timeliness in the opinion of a publication’s editor
- The editor must understands the details and think that other people will be interested
When to use a Press Release?
- Anniversaries, milestones
- Classes or service offerings
- Event announcement
- Goodwill/humanitarian efforts initiated by your club or organization.
- New services and offerings (e.g., women’s only practice)
- Opinions (editorials) on pertinent subjects
- Personnel changes
- Promotion, contest, or give-away
- Results from competitions (care should be taken to avoid making people think USMS is only for competitions).
- Length - Keep to 1 page or less (if 2, include "Page 1 of 2" numbering & "more at the bottom" at the end of page 1).
- By Mail - On 8-1/2 x 11 Letterhead, one side.
- By e-mail - Place properly formatted Press Release directly in e-mail body; zero attachments!
- It is advisable NOT to follow up after issuing a press release
ESSENTIAL PRESS RELEASE COMPONENTS:
Part 1 - Date Instructions
- Either "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE" or if time sensitive, "FOR RELEASE BEFORE (or AFTER) [DATE]" in capital letters
- Be sensitive and know media editor’s deadlines for optimum issuance, check with the publication
- Send release out well in advance of your event
Part 2 - The Headline
- Use bold font
- Benefits-oriented (why would it be of interest to people?) and descriptive
- Use news language, not hype/promotion
Part 3 - Corporate Contact Information
- As much relevant information as possible and easy for media to contact you
- Name, phone number, address, company name, fax number, email and URL, after hours phone number, etc
- Indicate hours available at the listed numbers
Part 4 - Summary Sentence/Abstract
- Use italic font
- Start with "CITY, STATE (Dateline) - " to place the story and define the relevant release area
- Interesting summary sentence before the body
- 2nd chance to capture audience
Part 5 - Main Body/Content
- Your Target audience: (i) editors/reporters who read the releases and (ii) their ultimate core readers
- Attempt to customize the release style for publication type: local paper (general) vs. trade journal (academic)
- Write a benefits-oriented story that will be of interest to the target audience and keep their interest
- Tell audience why the information should interest them, what problems you solve for the readers
- Answer the 5W's (Who, What, Where, When, Why & How?) in the first paragraph.
- Provide remaining details in subsequent paragraphs in descending order of importance
- Use Small, simple paragraphs (2-3 sentences) for easiest reading
- Add a quotation from you or reader testimonial to break up the release and make for easy reading
- Subliminally inject a very short Organizational Summary (i.e. years in existence) if possible
- Keep the same message
- Use a non-sell approach
- Back up claims with concise and truthful facts and statistics
- Direct the reader to the specific page on your website where more information can be found
- Use active verbs; avoid passive voice
- Avoid excessive adjectives
Part 6 - Formal Ending
- Place ### at the end
Part 7 - Editor's Note after Ending
- Include brief information (i.e. interviews available upon request) exclusively for editors and not for publication
- Consider sending out a larger Press Release Kit with a Letter, Press Release(s), Business Fact Sheet, Biography, Samples, Photos, etc., Organizational Literature, Business Card