Getting Your Press Release Published
Now that you have your list of media contacts and you understand the press release format, you are ready to compose your press release and get it published. However it's not always that easy - you may be competing for space with a lot of other stories and every little thing you do can affect how your story is judged.
If you haven't done so already, read how to write a news story. Then follow the guidelines below to give yourself the best possible chance of being published.
Pick Your Targets
Make sure you submit your press release to the right publications through the correct channels. Don't send your story to publications which have no interest in the topic. Find the most appropriate publications, do your homework and find out the correct way to submit a story.
It's very important in this game to get these things right. You need everything to go smoothly, to the right people in a timely fashion. Think hard about whether you are annoying anyone!
Make the Story Newsworthy
Your story must fit the publishers' criteria of newsworthy. Although this seems obvious, many people optimistically contact the local newspaper every time they think something is news, rather than evaluating the story objectively from the newspapers' point of view. This does your case no good - it will reduce your credibility and chances of being taken seriously when you have a genuine story to offer.
If you are struggling to find a newsworthy angle, look for some central event or happening which you can build a story around. If you want to tell the world how well your business is doing, try to focus on a particular sales target or some other milestone you have reached. Naturally, a special achievement such as winning an award would be an ideal candidate for a press release.
Remember to emphasise the things that are interesting to the publishers' audience, not just the things you want to tell them. For more information see What makes a story newsworthy?
Make the Journalists' Job Easy
Journalists like press releases for the simple fact that they make the journalist's job easier. There is a symbiotic relationship between publicists and journalists and if you're clever you can cultivate this relationship. If you can provide stories which are basically ready to publish, you are doing the journalists a huge favour and they are likely to be receptive.
Any aspect of your press release which requires the journalist to do extra work, such as fixing mistakes or doing additional research, lessens the story's appeal to the journalist.
Use Correct Spelling, Grammar and Case
Be pedantic about spelling, grammar and style. Mistakes will be severely frowned upon. If you can't even run a spell checker, how can you be trusted to provide reliable information in your story? The odd spelling or grammar mistake may not kill your chances, but at the very least you are making the journalist work to fix your errors.
Use the correct mix of upper and lower case. Never, ever compose a press release in ALL UPPER CASE.
News Before Introductions
Begin the story with the news headline and main facts. Then, within the first few sentences, introduce the source or main contributors to this particular news item.
Make your impact in the first sentence. Don't try to build up to the punch line - make it very clear and simple from the outset.
Think of the Audience
Imagine yourself as a typical reader or viewer watching this story. How is the story relevant to this person? What exactly makes this person interested in the story?
That's the end of this tutorial. If you have any questions please ask in our Media Forums.