How To Write Influential Press Release

The writing and distribution of a press release is the key of the public relations techniques.

A press release is a news story that places your web site in the best light possible, learning exposure for you as an expert or your web site in a mixture of media. Because of this, it is very important that a press release be organized and well written so that it is well received.

There are three factors should be considered when you write a press release: Short, Sweet and To the Point

It may announce a new product, new web site, newly re-designed web site, software, courses, or service. The goal is better website exposure.

A press release can have one or any number of objectives:
* Growing website traffic,
* Iron-clad credibility,
* Sprouting of links to their website,
* Floods of more opt-ins.

No matter what the objective, a press release garners publicity, which means appealing attention and interest – for your web site, products and services.

Press release writing should be a simple and straightforward method for communicating a message to your selected audience to grab and hold their attention.

The first thing to consider is the target audience for the message, your job is to communicate a message to a particular group of people. The audience size will vary based on your needs.
Knowing who these people are will guide you in how the press release should be written and language that you should use.

Write to your audience, and write for your audience. Consider the media they read and tailor your press release to their requirements

Which reports to target and how to effectively reach them?

The 'mass blast' techniques of paid newswires or faxing to huge office-spun lists produce limited results. How many times has your phone run off the hook after distributing a release? How many times has it even rung once?

More thoughtful distribution methods would unduly garner better feedback. Targeting relevant reporters at the major wire services like The Associated Press or Reuters, and a personal follow-up call, is a good way to get more mileage on a single potential placement.

If you build custom media lists in-house, be vigilant in updating relevant contact information. Try not to hand-off such duties to an administrative assistant. It typically takes a critical eye and good knowledge of the client / news to tailor-build an effective list.

Too often, publicists focus solely on the release content rather than maintaining accurate databases. In the process, significant media targets go unreached because the news was sent to theappropriate reporter or one who left the publication.

Press releases should be written in a direct, straightforward manner. Short and brief is good. Long, intensive, excessive is not. One to three short paragraph is probably an ideal length unless you must convey a large amount of information.

Do not overstate your case. Just convey the key, basic information to the media – and extremely to your audience.

Cover all the bases and provide them with essentials, but remember it is not necessary to provide every little detail. You are trying to generate attention and interest for your client. If this means follow up questions from a reporter or editor, so much the better. It will give you a chance to develop more media opportunities for your client.

1. The headline is your first opportunity to grab an editor's attention. It should transmit the core news / message so that the editor immediately knows what the story is about.

It should be informative, but not necessarily sensationalized. Depending upon the nature of the news, some headlines attract more notice than others.

2. The most important part of any press release is the lead paragraph. Remember, a press release is a journalistic document. Your primary target audience is the press. Therefore, make sure you stringently adhere to basic journalistic tenets as you compose the story. The lead should answer the basic questions of Journalism:

1. Who did?
2. Is doing or will do what to whom?
3. Where and when did they do it?
4. How did they do it?
5. Why did they do it?

3-Write a simple, opening sentence answering these questions and your press release is correctly written.

The body copy of the release should bolster and explain the points made in the lead.

Since a press release represents a corporate or an individual's image everything counts – especially the details.

Do not assume anything except that your audience knows nothing. You must explain everything to them and make it as simple as possible for them to understand your message.

If you use acronyms, make sure to first completely spell out the word or phrase, followed by the acronym in parentheses. Then, you can freely use the acronym through the reminder of the release.

If the body copy of the release runs long, it is a good idea to break it up with subheads. These short, bold-faced phrases are a good way to introduce specific areas of information within the narrative while providing it with a logical progress of ideas.

Make sure you include contact information of a company representative and / or PR representative, name, company, phone number, e-mail address, either at the top of the first page or at the end of the release so that readers can get any additional Information they may need.

Begin the body of the release with a dateline that includes the city, state and country of origin (if necessary), followed by the actual date of the announcement. The dateline is important because it indicates the official, effective date of the news being announced.

Make sure press release pages are numbered. Include the line-centered word 'more' at the bottom of each page so that the editor knows the story is maintained. Let the editors know that they've reached the end of the release by including the word 'END' or the number -30- or ### (pound / number signs).

If your press release requires any sort of disclaimer or mandated 'forward thinking' statement, make sure that you include it at the end of the release. Sometimes these legal necessities are set off in a different, or italicized, type face. Sometimes they are printed in a smaller type size.

When is the right time to distribute your news?

That depends upon the nature of your announcement and the kind of coverage and exposure you hope to achieve. If there is a seasonal aspect to the news, you must consider the time of year for the release to be distributed. An announcement about new Christmas tree products would probably be ill-served if it were made in early April.

Reference the editorial calendars of your target publications to see if you can schedule your announcement to coincide with particularly relevant coverage in these key media. This way you can achieve the greatest coverage. Other things to consider are the abundance of industry trade shows, and other events, where you can obtain additional media attention.

Selection of the day of the week for the release is important. Mondays are extremely busy days for press releases. With all that activity, an announcement could get lost in the crowd. Fridays lead into the weekend when media coverage is slow and at its nadir. Even if press picks up the announcement, there is a good chance very few people will see it because of the 'slow news day' aspects of the weekend.

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