Three steps to a better press release

You want to submit a press release to a print or web publication - but how can you make sure it stands out? I asked a friendly news editor (well, the friendliest news editor I could find) for his advice. And here it is:

  1. Keep your press release short. Magazines and websites get swamped with them. If someone is interested and wants to find out more, they will contact you.

  2. Include an image – if nothing else, it will help the recipient to understand quickly what you are talking about.

  3. Know exactly who you want to target: which individual on which publication. Most publications will have a general email address for press releases but you are much better targeting a specific, appropriate person rather than using this.

Any more words of wisdom out there?

2 comments:

crypticpuzzler said...

As the editor of the community section of a weekly paper in New Jersey (circulation 11K), I get lots of press releases, and have strong feelings about this. Your tips are all good. I'm offering a few more and hope I don't sound impossibly picky. But when I have two dozen
press releases to get through before lunch, I find I really appreciate the people who observe the following:

Do not give your release the subject line "Press Release." Make it informative, and if it's a calendar listing, make the subject line the date and name of the event. When, as happens, I get three or four e-mails in a row, all labeled "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE," I do not feel any sense of urgency.

No all-caps. Ever.

Give your photos names, not numbers.

Provide addresses and phone numbers for venues and contact people, etc. (I am not Directory Assistance.)

Do not describe any person as renowned or legendary or any thing as coveted or prestigious.

Do not send an e-mail and then call to follow up the e-mail and then e-mail to follow up the call. I don't like to be bugged.

Do not send the release as an attachment, with nothing in the body of the e-mail but "Publish this." I won't open the attachment.

Use an AP style book to help you prepare press releases that need a minimum of editing for style (a.m. rather than AM, for example).

And lastly, to the p.r. people who call to ask when we publish, what towns we cover, what the name of my calendar is, what my name is, etc., I would love to say, Would it kill you to buy a paper every now and again? All that information is available to you in every issue.

JD (The Engine Room) said...

Hi, Crypticpuzzler - thanks for your tips. Much appreciated!