The Princess and the Press:
How to write a news release that will make you the belle of the
Everyone who has struggled to get media attention for their organization
can find themselves lost in a romantic daydream. A dashing prince
(or princess) with a press card wedged in their crown, swoops down
on your organization and catapults it into the national spotlight
following a fabulous TV appearance, feature article or guest spot.
Your vital cause, your innovative products, are on everyone's lips,
and you live happily ever after, a sparkling media darling.
In reality of course, the road to media attention has more to do
with a skillful pen than a magic wand. How can you zero in on what
is newsworthy about your organization and communicate that to those
who have the nation's ears (and eyes)? A news release is a key tool,
and writing an effective one is easier than you think.
The most important part of writing a news release is the same thing
that matters in any kind of writing - write for your audience, not
yourself. Of course this is even more key when you are trying to
precipitate action on the part of your reader. Even though this
seems like common sense, it's amazing how often press releases sound
exactly like advertisements. The press are neither your customers
nor your Board of Directors - they don't care about the features
of your product or the amount of hard work you've done to make the
world a better place - they want a story.
The first line and paragraph of your news release need to say it
all. Pack the key attention-getting information into the headline
and first paragraph. There's a good chance the rest won't even get
read. When you do go into detail, make sure it answers the journalist's
or editor's needs. Where's the story? Why do their readers want
Here's a compelling story, spun in two different ways.
For Immediate Release:
Impact resistant polymer compound available for townhomes
A new innovation in housing materials made its debut yesterday.
After extensive testing, 3PIGS Inc. is proud to announce that BRICKS,
its space age construction material, is now available. Developed
through advances in bonding polymerase technology, BRICKS
are an affordable, weather resistant alternative to traditional
straw and wood materials.
Tuesday May 1, 9:00 am
"I can't believe I'm here today!" exclaims survivor
of wolf attack.
3PIGS Inc. scientific developer A. Little Pig was in the midst of
testing the company's new building material, BRICKS when the
test suddenly became much more serious - he was attacked by a wolf.
Amazingly, not only did Pig survive, but the test house was undamaged.
"Traditionally houses have crumbled under the impact of wolf
attacks" says Pig. "the development of BRICKS means
we can achieve a level of wolf-proofing that would have been impossible
ten years ago"
There are a few other basics to keep in mind that will ensure you
have a coach and not a pumpkin on your hands. Include complete,
accurate contact information, with an individual's name. Make sure
the person listed is articulate and available. If you mention a
Web site in your release, make sure it has full details about your
product or event before you send the release - not after.
The Internet is filled with accessible information on putting together
news releases with that extra touch of fairy dust. Check out www.infoscavenger.com,
or the five part workshop, including an interactive template, at
www.canadaone.com/promote/pressrelease.html. For help in distributing
your news releases, see Sources
News Release Distribution.
Your relationship with the press might not be a fairy tale, but
it definitely doesn't have to be horror story.
This article originally appeared in The
Sources HotLink, published by Sources
and available online at www.hotlink.ca.
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