Getting your story into the media offers access to an audience far bigger than your usual social media network, and the key is writing a killer press release. Here's how to do it.
First, remember, the aim of your press (or media) release is to get your story into the media. A good story will help, of course, but follow the tips below and you'll heighten your chances.
- Do the work for them. Write your press release as though it's going straight into the paper. If the deadline is closing in sometimes an already-written piece makes for the perfect filler.
- The all-important headline. As with 1) ensure that your headline grabs the attention immediately. It has to incite a reader (even if it's a journalist) to want to read on. It's perfectly cool to add a sub header
- Date. State for immediate release or a future date for printing.
- Consider the publication you’re writing for. If not a general medium it’s wise to focus on the relevance of your subject to the show or magazine you’re sending the release to.
- Magical first paragraph. If you're trying to sell anything you have to be able to get straight to the point. Do the bulk of your release's work in the opening paragraph. By the time they've read it they need to know what your story is, why they should care and what they're going to get in the rest of the release.
- Stats are strong. Back up your release with facts. The more interesting the better. If there's some quirky in there, you're winning
- Quote. Whether there's one or two protagonists in your release, make sure you quote them (or yourself, if you're in the middle of this). It offers a human side to the general copy.
- Keep it short. Journalists are busy, and if they're not they're lazy! Your release should stay on one page, if you need more than that to explain then you need some work on your marketing.
- Highlight key words or sentences in your press release if you want them to stand out
- Without saying so directly, suggest that your event is going to be an amazing photo opportunity (pictures speak louder than words)
- If a paper can't come to you, they're more likely to still print if you can provide professional images.(In the End Notes - see below) link to an online folder of downloadable press-ready image(s) [If you're attaching an image downsize it, otherwise it'll just block up memory on the recipient's email server and might ensure the release doesn't hit their inbox].
- End Notes. Finish with contact details for further questions, at least one external link so the journalist can find out more info.
- Check it. Badly spelled press releases will find their way quickly to the bin. Be respectful to the person you're sending it to (this goes for anything: emails, letters etc) especially if they're a journalist.
Simple Press Release Example
THIS IS YOUR AWESOME HEADLINE
AND THE SUB HEADER IS WHERE YOU ADD SOME JUICE
DATE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (OR NOT TO BE RELEASED UNTIL XX)
The opening paragraph is where you reel them in. What's the story? Who is involved? Why? Where? This is why you should print this or call me for an interview. Include a sentence so strong that you can see it pulled out and highlighted.
Secondary paragraph. Your opening has excited the journalist, now it's time to succinctly layer on the padding. Add an anecdote that everyone can relate to. An example of how other people have become excited about this project.
Time for a quote. And the protagonist said, "I couldn't think of a better story to write about in a press release, it's the best thing I've ever done and it makes me feel awesome."
The reason you should print this story is because it's backed up by at least three strong statistics. This is the biggest event of its kind. THIS MANY people are getting involved. And THIS NUMBER shows just how good you are at what you do.
Final flourish. This is where you put a reminder of the exact details. The time and place where the event is happening. And don't forget to invite people to come along, or to visit your website.
END NOTES //
Contact details: You/ your press officer and how to contact them
External link: Pop your website here
Downloadable images: Link to Dropbox, Google Drive or other online folder with already-sized images
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