How to create a powerful press release

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What do you think makes an effective press release so that your story gets picked up by your local press?

Over 70% of local press coverage is taken directly form press releases so it’s really important you get it right. It really pays to prepare a powerful press release that makes journalists’ lives easier.

GENERAL

  • Be honest: don’t over-egg who you are.
  • Don’t overstate. ie new and it’s not brand new.
  • Grab the journalists’ attention: put the main point of the story in the introduction.
  • Do the work for them – Strong intro, quote and photo.
  • Get the word count right. 125 words minimum for Google. 350 is normal length of a page lead (between 250-350).
  • Be informal. Tell the story as if you’re talking to someone.
  • Avoid jargon and clichés.
  • Keep sentences short.

THE FORMAT/press release

Title/Subject line: Make it catchy; but remember it’s journalist’s job to develop the
headline (often for search/space reasons and their requirements keep changing).

Introduction: About 28 words max, main point of story, tell it like a story.

2nd & 3rd Paragraph: Expansion on introductory paragraph.

4th Paragraph or later: Strong quote, human, emotional.

• After that: More detailed, less important information.

End with call to action: Link back to your website.

Notes to editors: Detailing what you do.

Contact information: Make clear if it’s for the journalist’s benefit or for publication.

Photographs: Ideally six for a web gallery and have a prize landscape Twitter one.

Photograph caption: Including people’s names (left to right) if it’s a small group.

Good luck!

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How to get a journalist to love you

th9KKXI7FMPublic Affairs Tip: People love you if you make their life easier.

 

Sure some of you have been here before: twiddling your thumbs trying to think up a good plan to get some journalists on-side. Indulge me, let me give you the bad news first: there’s no quick fix. Patience and perseverance rule. The good news: there’s some things you can do to help journalists like you a little better. Here’s six to help get you started.

 

1/ Quickly respond to their queries. Enough said.

2/ Make their lives easier. Journalists thrive on up-to-date, concise and accurate facts and statistics; and newsworthy stories that sell. Like most of us they’re not super-human and can’t keep up-to-date on every issue. So they tend to depend on a handful of people or organisations that they can turn to and trust when they’re on a sticky wicket. Why not become one of their friends? Recognise the value of the statistics and stories that you collect; and why not think about pinning down and narrowcasting your expertise to a tight, target audience. What issues do you really know a lot about and which journalists would be interested?

3/ Send out useful, engaging press releases and e-mails. Journalists are swamped with them.

4/ Have a sharp press officer on the end of a line. Being over-reliant on websites and social media to get out facts, thoughts and opinions on the politics of the moment can be a tad risky.

5/ Have human stories at the ready. If you happen to be an alert charity or campaigning group you’ll have a good up-to-date “case study” database housing contact details of all those lovely people who have promised to support you by sharing their story with the media.

Last but not least:

6/ A picture launches a thousand journalists. Snap a great shot and get it out there. Fast.

Some useful stuff if you’ve found this interesting

AskCharity a free service designed to help journalists and charities work together.

Volunteer Genie on how to sell a story to a journalist.

Love to hear from you.

 

4 tips on how to make your press release statistics sing

Producing press releases is part of the public affairs professional’s job. Here’s four tips on how to make the stats in your press releases sing.

1. Paint a picture with your numbers and statistics. If those 7000 people were holding hands how far would that stretch? How many caravans would they fill?

2. Help people put the figure in some kind of perspective. So you’re spending that amount of money, but what’s so and so spending on what – compare and contrast.
3. Try human angles with a twist. You have a new CEO who’s done this, this and this and has a talent for . . . singing David Bowie . . .
4. Put your key statistics at the end of the press release in an easily accessible, readable form.
Please do share. I’d be glad to hear any of your ideas on this. Why not follow me on twitter @businesses4good. Always here if you need a bit of help on 07966 369579.