You’re doing what? Why? Huh?
All too often I ask myself those questions when reading a press release. As a contributing writer for several local newspapers, I receive dozen of press releases each month, and far too many of them end up in the trash.
It’s not enough to send out your information – you need to present it in a clear, concise manner.
Before you start writing your press release, here’s what a press release is not:
A press release is not a fact-filled news article. In fact, press releases should not be written as any type of news article or feature. (www.womeninbusiness.com)
It’s also not a showcase for your graphic designer. If I can’t find the information buried in the design, it goes in the trash.
What is it then?
A press release is a written communication reporting specific, but brief information about an event, circumstance, or other happening typically tied to a business or organization.
Think of it as a business letter: 1-2 pages neatly written and formatted for someone to read quickly. I’ve had the most success with press releases that present three key pieces of information:
- Event information
- Organization information
- Contact information
Here’s what to include in each of these sections:
Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? Answer these, but keep it simple.
Are you raising money for the Smith family’s medical bills because the dad was in a car accident and the mom lost her job and their triplets are three months away from graduating from private school? Stick to the basics: To raise necessary funds for the Smith family’s medical expenses. If the newspaper or TV station wants to know more, they’ll call you.
If your local chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writer’s group is hosting the event, this is where you put a short paragraph saying what the group is and what they do (this is a great place to include a mission statement).
Sticking with the Smith family example, this is where you would explain who the family members are and why you want to help them.
There’s nothing worse than getting a press release with a link to a Facebook page or website, but no information regarding who to contact. If you want people to attend, promote, or sponsor your event, you need to make it easy for them to reach you. Include a phone number and email address so people have options.
Press releases can be valuable marketing tools, but only when written well. Don’t waste your time composing something that no one will read – include the right info in an easy-to-read format and people will respond.
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