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Press releases give media representatives
important information about your story and do so in a creative
way. Whether you are announcing a product or service, a website,
results of some research, or the promotion/hiring of staff, your goal
is entice the editor so that he/she sincerely wants to write your
article. This means that you make the facts interesting and you submit
the press release to an editor who writes about your area of
business. The worst thing you can do is to send a press release
on your business' initial public offering (IPO) to the home and garden
editor. It will go straight into the trash can. Don't send
your release to several (or all) editors at a particular publication
either. This will also lead to very poor response.
The best thing to do is to target interested editors/publications
and to match your distribution method with the preference of the
editors you are targeting. But first you must decide if your news is of
interest locally, nationally, or both. If you know local editors
personally, contact them to ask for advice. Otherwise, you should
do some research yourself. Put a list together of the newspapers,
magazines, news shows where you want to promote your information.
Then contact the publication/show and ask how they would prefer to
receive a press release. For national announcements, you may want
to utilize a service that can help to disseminate your information for
a cost. For this, check out www.ereleases.com, or www.majon.com.
I found that prices range from $199-$500 for sending releases out to
national sources and from $500-$700 for having the service write and
send out your press release. You can save money if you have
the time and perseverance to do the research and writing yourself.
For larger corporate accounts, a good place to investigate is PR Newswire (www.prnewswire.com).
This service provides comprehensive communications services for public
relations and investor relations professionals. This is a good
place to check out just to keep up to date on the news of the day too.
So how should you format your release? A friend of mine who is an editor for a magazine gave me these suggestions:
You will notice that all press releases are a little different, but
that they basically follow a similar format. Place the most
important information in the first paragraph of your release.
This way, if your reader is just scanning for information, they will
read the good stuff first. Like a funnel, the importance of
details decrease as you move further into your release. End your
press release with your complete contact info (name, address, phone,
fax, e-mail, and URL).
It is important that your information is presented in this general
way. If an editor, who sifts through hundreds of thousands of
press releases a week, cannot find the information he/she is looking
for in your release, you may never win a story.
Check out our press release for the re-launch of WomanOwned.com and the format we used as a base here.
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