“News” is anything that other people are interested in. Being newsworthy means letting editors and reporters know you’re doing something of interest to other people. Having an event, telling a story, creating or participating in an occurrence, supporting, opposing, or even merely observing a trend – could all be newsworthy events.
Editors and reporters have the tremendous challenge of coming up with new stories day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. By sending them newsworthy events, you could possibly become their ally.
Press Releases are an easy way for you to get traffic to your website or business exposure at no cost to you (in most cases). A press Release should be sent out to the media, when you have something noteworthy to report for the media or publisher that you are targeting. If not – you should try and build a credible “story” around your announcement.
For example –Â if you work for a software company, and have developed a Baseball score tracking and displaying software… you could potentially target sports magazines, newspapers or radio stations that provide a daily sports news snippets and updates. The best way to get noticed, is to target the editor of the Sports column for each publisher. This may be hard work for you – but it will get you good results. All you need to do is, to find out who the editor of the sports column is and what is the fax number of the publisher. Then, simply write your press release and fax or email it – “attention” to the sports editorâ€™s name. There may be many local daily and weekly newspapers covering your patch. Find out who and where they are, and include them ALL on your press release distribution list if you think they’re relevant.
If you donâ€™t know anyone at your local newspaper, just ask for the news-desk or news editor as a starting point. After that, provided that what you have to say sounds interesting, you’ll be put through to a reporter to take full details over the phone, fax or email.
Some events that may warrant for a Press Release:
- Organizing an event that is open to the public
- Performing an important service to the community
- Achieving significant recognition in your field
- Releasing a book, record, opening an exhibit etc.
- Writing legislation, testifying at hearings etc.
- Inventing something new, manufacturing and offering a new product
- Teaching or lecturing at a professional conference
- Winning a sweepstakes, contest or lottery.
Don’t expect the media to drop everything and report your story just so you can get some free publicity. Remember their goals are to report news and serve the community, and you must blend with their agenda. Many editors will shy away from blatantly promotional releases.
Writing a Press release
A press release can be broken down into the following elements:
1. Header –
Attention: Name of Editor / person targetted (optional)
For Immediate Release, Date
Please Hold Until, Date
2. Title –
This title should describe the content of your press release. Make sure that you are clear and the reader will immediately understand what your press release will be about. Donâ€™t be funny or try to sell stuff, or use words and phrases like “this is the best”, “you must see this” etc. Be simple, and authoritative.
eg. New score tracking software for Football lovers released
3. Body –
This is the main content of your release. Start with a small opening paragraph of about 4 to 5 sentences, and draw the reader in with some interesting points and facts. The best way is to catch their attention with your piece of news, but don’t waste their time.
In the second paragraph you can start describing your service or product in more detail and start appealing to people who would be interested. You may also include quotes by you, like ” This software will totally eliminate the need to visit websites to get live scores in the future,” says Mr James Dean, CEO of Widgets..com – the company that has developed this software.
If you have an interesting story which you can build around your press release, it would be a big plus for you. Editors are always looking for stories and content, and will more likely read your press release if you have an interesting story to report.
Do not try and sell your product or service. Donâ€™t try hard selling tactics or your release will end up in the waste basket very quickly. Remember, you just need your story to appeal to one person / reporter to get your story reported. Keep you press release short and try not repeating the same points over and over again – or it will become boring.
Your closing paragraph should summarize whatever you’ve said and you could state how the reader can get a hold of your product.
You must end your press release with three #’s like – ### This indicates the end of the press release main body.
4. Contact Information –
After ### you may leave a couple f lines and then include contact information of the person who should be contacted incase the publisher would like to get more information about your service. You must include the following:
- Full name of contact person
- Designation of contact person
- Email Address of contact person
- Phone Number of Contact Person
- Fax number of Contact Person
5. Basic Company Information –
And lastly, you must write a paragraph or two about your company. Just a few words on what your company does, and any other interesting information about your company. Keep this limited to about 5 to 6 sentences.
If your story is going to be printed, it’s generally best not to ask for the version of the story before it is printed. This is not paid for material. It’s best to take the chance and hope that the reporter has the ability to get it right – that’s what they are trained for. You should be prepared to talk to a reporter if you get a call or an email from him. You should be prepared to expect a photographer from the press to come take a photograph if required. Reporters are looking for a news story which is new and interesting, while photographers want to illustrate the news with a good picture.
If your story is reported, you must make it a point to call the reporter and thank them. This is part of relationship-building, and you will now have a new “contact”.
Two Example Press Releases
|PleaseÂ Hold Until -Â May 22nd 2005
SoftNet launches unique desktop software for all Cricket lovers.SoftNet has launched a unique software called the CricketBarâ„¢ , which is ideal for all cricket lovers who donâ€™t have access to live television coverage at home or at office.The CricketBarâ„¢ is an application that anybody can download and install on their desktops for free. It docks itself at the top or bottom of the users screen as a small window bar and relays live One Day International scores and commentary.Currently there are a large number of cricketing websites that perform this feat. The originality and a big plus of the CricketBarâ„¢ software , is that users donâ€™t have to be stuck at any one particular cricketing website to get scores. Users continue to surf or work on any other application â€“ while the CricketBarâ„¢ relays live match scores. It occupies a small area of your screen â€“ something which Websites just cant do â€“ as keeping your browser window open is required to see updated scores. Getting the score from a website means that you cant surf elsewhere simultaneously. You could of course, keep switching between several windows, but that is very uncomfortable and undesirable. Once installed the CricketBarâ„¢ sits at the bottom or top of your screen and relays live scores â€“ ball by ball, while you continue to surf or perform other tasks on your computer.
â€œThis is the biggest advantage of the CricketBarâ„¢ over websites.â€ Says James Dean, CEO of SoftNet. â€œWe havenâ€™t seen anything like it at all. Its taken us about 3 months to develop and weâ€™re very proud of it. Weâ€™re offering this as a free download to all, and we will be covering every ODI match.â€
The CricketBarâ„¢ also has a small ad-window which displays ads of sponsors SoftNet is currently looking out for co-sponsors who would like to get their message out to the vast cricketing community.
The CricketBarâ„¢ can be downloaded for free at www.cricketpal.com
# # #
About SoftNet (I) Pvt Ltd
SoftNet is an Internet Infrastructures company. The SoftNet Surf-Bar division has developed several â€œsurf-barsâ€ for the Internet community. It has expertise in building and deploying them. It has built pIggyâ„¢ (the pay-to-surf bar), JackpotBarâ„¢ (the win prizes and cash bar) and now the CricketBarâ„¢.
SoftNet Pvt Ltd,
Contact: James Dean
EXAMPLE 2 â€“
|For immediate release – October 10, 2002
Rishtaa.com, an online matrimonial service makes first successful match for physically challenged people.
A few months ago (6th July), Rishtaa.com – a subscription based matrimonial website, held a small get-together event for all the physically challenged people at the Spastics Society in Bandra. The event was hosted by Poonam Dhillon, and attended by over 80 physically challenged people who were looking out for a life partner, and were accompanied by their parents / relatives. They were singles from NAB, Spastics Society, Fellowship For the Physically Handicapped and physically challenged members of Rishtaa.comThe event was supported by Give Foundation, an initiative of ICICIcommunities.orgAt the event Rishtaa.com announced the launch of its new portal exclusively for the handicapped â€“ http://challenged .rishtaa.com .The portal is completely free to register and use for anyone with a disability.
An address booklet of all 80 plus singles was circulated after the event to everyone for post event communication. During the event two couples were almost successfully matched, but nothing was concrete. â€œWe just got a call a couple of days back, telling us that a match had been made!â€ says, Sumesh Karancherry, Team Lead at Rishtaa.com. â€œThe lucky couple is Gita Thambe and Latesh Gaikewad. They are getting married on 23rd November this year, at the same venue of the event. We hope we make many more matches in the future, and we invite all people with disabilities to come and register for free, to look for their soul matesâ€
Rishtaa.com is a matrimonial website owned and operated by ValuePay.com India Pvt. Ltd. Rishtaa.com division has 15 full-time employees and a subscription database of over 50,000 registered member profiles, of which over 2500 are paying members. The site challenged.rishtaa.com is completely free to use for handicapped Indians living all over the world.
Contact: Sumesh Karancherry â€“ firstname.lastname@example.org, 9122-2029736 /32 , Fax /28
Press Release writing Checklist
+ Don’t sell.
If you send a release that tries to sell or advertise a product, you can be sure it will end up in the wastebasket.
+ Make it newsworthy.
Is your press release solving a problem or filling your readers’ needs? You should pinpoint what that problem or need is and write your press release from the perspective of the reader’s benefit.
+ A headline that gets to the point.
Your headline should immediately convey what the news is and why it is important. What you put in your headline will determine if the reader will read the rest of your press release.
+ An all important leading paragraph
Your press release should have a strong leading paragraph. Answer who, what, where, when, why, and how. Write this opening paragraph as an abstract or summary for the press release.
+ Detailed explanation from the reader’s perspective.
You must write the details of the news so the reporter / editor can immediately understand why it is of importance to their readers. Background information, quotes of note, comparisons to similar products or services, etc., which illustrate the importance of this news should be included. If you’re announcing a new product, mention shipping date, price, and other points of interest.
+ Short corporate summary.
Include especially any information about products or services which help establish your expertise. Also mention your location, years in business, etc. Remember to Keep it short.
+ Include complete contact information.
Write a release that includes contact name, company name, full address, phone number, email address, and Web site URL. The contact name should be someone who’s available and capable of answering questions.
+ Keep it short.
Maximum length should be one to two pages and no more than 500 words (some experts say no more than 300 words for a press release).
Tips for Sending a Press Release
+ Target your audience. Only contact editors who write about your industry or topic.
+ Find out the best way to contact your audience. Is it by snail mail, email, or fax? Not everyone wants press releases by email.
+ Don’t write email press releases with attachments. Write the release within the body of the message.
+ Don’t follow up. You will annoy most editors by making a second contact to ask if they got your press release.
+ Know the editor’s deadlines. Don’t expect a magazine editor to cover your event scheduled for next week. Find out when you should send your press release for the best timing.
+ Update your Web site with the “news” before sending your release. If it’s a new product, update that section of your site. If it’s not important enough to be added to your own site, why should anyone write about it?
Press Release Submission Services â€“