Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to talk about some oldie, but goodie elements of article writing that are still important for writers. It’s easy to dismiss some tried and true techniques because of all the fancy, technological whiz-bangs available to writers, but when technology fails – and it will from time to time – it’s good to have something to pull out of your coonskin cap.
This is the final of four posts on how to write a press release. Each post will focus on a different aspect of press release writing. This post focuses on follow-up.
Once you’ve written the release and sent it to the appropriate outlets, you’re done, right?
You need to follow who did and didn’t pick up the release and why. If it’s a simple promotion or hiring of anything but a top executive at a large company, the release might not see the light of day in all but media that run all announcements and maybe some local press. Though your client might think it’s important, in today’s battle for eyeballs (and for space, particularly in print), it’s just not that important to most of the audience.
This is the third of four posts on how to write a press release. Each post will focus on a different aspect of press release writing. This post focuses on distribution.
First, a quick invitation to our writers from other countries to offer ideas on press release distribution in other countries. Though I have a couple of international clients, there are only two, so I’m sure that others can offer some additional ideas for distribution in the U.K., Europe, Asia, Canada and other markets.
No, distribution isn’t technically “writing,” but if you’ve written it and no one sees it, does it make an impact? No. Maybe the client will be satisfied that the release has been written, but unless it gets some notice, the client is unlike to stay with you long.
Now not all releases will grab the attention of the press, as mentioned in the first of these posts. At times, the release is little more than fodder that is unlikely to get any attention beyond your client, but needs to be written anyway because your client thinks it’s important.
by Phil Britt
This is the second of four posts on how to write a press release. Each post will focus on a different aspect of press release writing. This post focuses on the basic elements of a release.
Once you’ve determined the purpose and the audience for the press release, the next step is to collect the materials you need, and then write it. You might have everything at your fingertips, or usually can get it with a phone call or two.
A press release should follow the same general principles as one learns in Journalism 101. Include who, what, when, where and how. But it’s the last one, how [you write it] will be the major determining factor on whether the release will be “picked up” by the press.
If the release is about a new product or service, you’ll want to include some of the specs and a good photo. But, as the old sales aphorism says, sell the sizzle, not the steak. For example, it’s better to say a technology will enable a consumer to download two hours of video in five minutes than to just mention the download speed in gigabytes per second. You’ll probably include both somewhere in the release. But put the sizzle higher. Include it in the head or subhead. It’s more likely to grab the audience’s attention, meaning the release is more likely to be used or a larger article is more likely to be written than if you stay with simply the specs.
by Phil Britt
This is the first of four posts on how to write a press release. Each post will focus on a different aspect of press release writing.
Perhaps the most important element of a press release is the purpose.
Is it to elicit a call from an editor? Is it hoped to run as is in a print publication or on a Web site? Is it meant to draw attention to a product, research or a person? Or does it have another purpose?