By M. Dennis Taylor
Special To The Paper
WEST PALM BEACH, FL – November 2012 – Whether you are promoting a business, practice, product, idea or almost anything else, publicity can be the most cost-effective way to get the word out.
By definition, “Publicity”
Provided you’re not already in the midst of a public relations debacle, you can assert some control by using an effective news release. Correctly prepared, one of these can help you receive the positive attention you are looking for.
Make your news release newsworthy.
Determine something newsworthy about your business, etc. Your objective is to convey your message to the editor of the publication in hopes that he or she will immediately assign a reporter and photographer to come out and do a story on you. This rarely happens.
A more realistic objective is that you seek to get a telephone interview from a junior assistant intern reporter who needs a few quotes to add to the press release you submitted. To facilitate this, make sure you include the contact information for you or a spokesperson. Unlike the postman, that intern won’t ring twice. Remember, the contact to reach you and the contact number you want the readers to use may be different. Put your contact information at the bottom, after the news release (with its contact information)
What actually happens to a well-crafted news release is that it gets picked up and run pretty much as submitted. This is especially true if you are going to use a syndication service to distribute your news release. That’s why you need to write it in a recognized format. Write “For Immediate Release” at the top. If the release is not immediate, say it’s a future day, like October 12, 2013, type “For Release October 12, 2013.”
Answer the questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How.
Whether you are writing the release completely by yourself or having a professional help you out, good preparation will help a lot. Make an outline – and follow that outline. It must address the famous 5 Ws and an H. Answer the questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. For example, let’s say your restaurant is having a wine tasting and you want to promote it.
Your questions will be as follows. Who is the story about? My restaurant. What is the story about? The wine tasting. Where will this take place? The address of the restaurant, with simple directions, if needed. When will the event occur? January 20. Why? (This could be either “why” the reader should be interested or “why” the “event” is being staged.) The answer for our example is that it’s a great opportunity to taste the new wines that you will begin stocking for the new year. In this case we were able to answer both “whys.” The final question is: How will this occur? The final point may describe reserve tickets.
Remember to keep it short, focused and on point. Use short sentences and only about three or four sentences per paragraph of your release. Make certain there are no grammatical or typographical errors. These will lead your release directly to the trash can.
Specifically, keep your release easy to edit. If the editor had the time to spend reworking your release, he or she would just write something themselves.
Write your release in the inverted pyramid style, with the most important information first and the less important information later, so the publication can edit by cutting from the bottom, with the exception of the final paragraph which contains the contact information for the readers.
A photograph will help your news release get noticed.
A photograph will move your release up in the pile and increase its chances of getting used. Make sure you have written permission to use the photograph, from the photographer and the person(s) in the photograph. The image should be uncluttered and correctly exposed. Give it a cut line, a caption as readers will call it, and include the credit line stating the photographer’
Send your crisp copy to the publication and get your clipping scissors ready.
10 Tips To Get Your News Release Noticed:
1. Make it sound newsworthy.
2. Keep it short, about a page.
3. Cover the information for 5 Ws and an H.
4. Use the inverted pyramid style.
5. Make it easy to edit.
6. Include contact information for readers.
7. Label it “For Release…”
8. Make sure it is mistake free.
9. List contact information for the reporter.
10. Include a photograph.
M. Dennis Taylor is a native of South Florida with over 35 years in the writing business (Copywriter, PR Writer, Reporter), his words have appeared in local, regional and national magazines and daily newspapers. You can reach M. Dennis Taylor at WordTaylor11 at gmail.com.