Know who to
send it to, not just where.
Find out who the editor or reporter is for the section you want your
release to appear in. Include their name on the release, not just the envelope.
- Only send
the release to one person per news outlet.
Any problems that develop, from duplicate coverage and effort, will
be blamed on you.
- Don't just
If you want your release covered, (And you know you do.) Call the
person before sending the release, and call a couple days later to
make sure they received it.
- Timing is everything.
Don't fax a release out the day before an event and expect it to
receive coverage. Give the maximum possible amount of time for the
news outlet to decide how they want to cover the story. If you feel
the event is so far in the distance that they might forget about it,
then simply send another release as the time for the item draws nearer.
- Know your deadlines.
Magazines, even weekly ones, are often planned months in advance.
Seasonal events, such as Christmas and Easter, are great examples of
this. For calender items, know when the news outlet's deadline for
the section is.
- Keep it
short and informative.
Reporters and editors are notoriously busy. Most press releases
should be kept to one page. Two is acceptable. If they want more
information, they'll ask.
- Write it in
a news style.
That means putting the prime information (Who, where, what, and when)
into the lead (first paragraph). It also means keeping the sales
pitch subtle. No exclamation points!!! Many papers will directly
reprint a press release, as long as it is written in a professional
news style. Use short words and sentences. Make sure what you're
saying is very clear.
- It is still
better to mail than fax.
Almost all papers have fax machines, and a few of them prefer to
recieve their press releases via fax, but the vast majority still
prefer mail and even the ones who like fax will still run mail
pieces. Only fax in an emergency (Read Crisis). If a client has
somehow been implicated in a devastating event (Such as the
Jack-in-the-Box meat disaster) then the need to get important
information to the press outweighs the nicety of mail.
- Always include,
at the top corner of every page, a two or three word description of
the story, the name and phone number of key contact people (No more
than two), The page number (if there is more than one page) and the
release date (Usually "For Immediate Release" otherwise
"Please hold until ?/?/?")
- If you have
send them or include the words "Photos available upon
request" with your information at the top of the page. Only send
high quality photos, however, and only when they add to your story.
8"x10" black and white glossies are best. Place photos on
top of cardboard when mailing. Don't tape or paper clip. (It can ruin
- Buy an AP stylebook
and learn how to properly abbreviate words numbers, and the proper
way to refer to most formal names.
- End a press
release with either ### or -30- typed
across the center of the page a couple lines below the end of your
text. If a release is continued on another page, type -more- at the
bottom of the page in the center.
standard 8 1/2"x11" paper
typed on one side only. Never break a paragraph across two pages.
Leave plenty of margins for editors to write notes in. 1 1/2"
all around should be fine.
Don't fold your
release like a letter
, fold it so that the headline and date will be the first thing the
editor or reporter sees upon opening the envelope.