In today's overworked and understaffed newsrooms a well-written press release stands a good chance of being published. But don't rely on this. Reporters and editors stick proudly to their editorial principles and will only use a press release if it is worthy of publication.
To ensure your press release hits the newsstand and not the bin here's the Mackman Group's top ten guide for success:
This is the hook so make it work
Journalists are very busy people and don't have time to trawl through copy to find the story
Write this as you want it to appear in the news story and use double-space. Most journalists will want to put their own slant on a story. The key is to make it as easy as possible for them to cut and paste onto the page so make it ready for press.
Quotes give a story life and action. Look at the majority of news stories – the quote from the key person usually appears by the third paragraph.
Use short, sharp, concise sentences without jargon.
And make sure your copy answers the news story mantra of: who, what, when, where, why and how.
However important you think your press release is, never spill onto a second page. Journalists don't have time to read an 800-word story.
If they write in a tabloid style stick to sentences of 10 to 14 words. If broadsheet, then use longer sentences. If they don't cap-up job titles – you don't either. This will save a journalist time and increases the chances of publication.
Send the press release to a named reporter or editor, don't use a scatter-gun approach or the odds are the press release will get lost in the crowd.
This is crucial. Whether it’s to verify facts or gather more information for an extended feature, make sure you include: your contact details, the company you are representing, and if relevant, websites for further reading on the subject.
And finally: Send it in the morning. Most news lists are put together early so your press release will stand a better chance of making the list if it arrives in time. Adding a captioned, high-resolution picture is also a good idea as it can get a smaller story better coverage on the page.
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