The goal of a news release is to ask the news media to report on something of interest to the author. Achieving that goal is not as easy as it may seem.
Here are a few tips that will increase the chances of success.
Start by understanding a little about where the news release will go and who will read it.
Respect Their Time
Most news releases are emailed to individual reporters or editors. While the names and emails are made public by all media, getting the attention of an editor or reporter can be another matter. They are busy people. They are besieged every day by scores of other news releases.
Anyone responsible for preparing news releases needs to be aware that the majority of news releases arriving in newsrooms contain nothing of interest to reporters or editors.
Is It News?
So above all, before sending a news release, be absolutely certain it contains information that has a reasonable chance of becoming a news story. It’s easy to learn. Become analytical while watching and listening to newscasts and reading newspapers. Take special note of the local interest stories they carry.
Always start the news release with a brief subject heading. For example: “XYZ Company to Double Employees”. Provide enough information to stimulate interest and encourage the reporter or editor to read further.
The first paragraph should provide a brief summary of what the subject line promised. The media use leads intended to grab the attention of their audiences. Take a lesson from them, but keep it brief.
XYZ Company to Double Employees
Hometown, BZ, January 1, 2010 – XYZ Company announced today it will double the number of production line employees in order to meet increased demand its new generation of widgets.
The rest of the news release should contain key facts and relevant figures about the subject. Including a quote from someone in authority can be useful, and helpful to a reporter on deadline.
Always provide a phone number for the person quoted, and a name and phone number for a main contact. Avoid embellishing the facts with adjectives, and never use colorful or ebullient adjectives. If at all possible, keep the news release to one page.
Don’t try to write the news story for the reporter or editor. The job of the news release is to present a case for a story, not write it. Each of the media has its own style – TV is different than radio, just as daily newspapers have a different style than weeklies, and they are different from magazines.