PERFECTING PRESS RELEASES

February 1998

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PERFECTING PRESS RELEASES

Quick tips from the pros for getting the word out: Get to the point, avoid flowery language, proofread and proofread again, always send pictures with your release.

 

You want your very special events, promotions, anniversaries and store openings to make the papers. A well-wrought press release is the first step. We've culled suggestions from top public relations professionals to help you get your message out to the buying public.

  • Get to the point in the first sentence. Don't make the editor search through paragraphs to find your news.
  • Put yourself in the editor's shoes by asking yourself everything you would want to know if you were writing the hoped-for article. (This may seem elementary, but releases often omit vital information. One jeweler's publicity firm sent out a photo of the jeweler standing next to a celebrity at an event in his store - with no explanation of what the event was about, when it took place or why the celebrity was there.)
  • Avoid hyperbole and flowery language. Reporters and editors read so many super-charged descriptions of "fascinating" speeches, "glamorous and glittery" parties and "lovely" wives they reflexively discount and dismiss such over-the-top claims.
  • Provide a contact name and phone number in a prominent place on the release, and be sure that will be able to answer questions quickly. In the world of publishing, information delayed is often coverage denied.
  • Proofread your releases and have someone else read them carefully as well. Misspellings and other errors make you look careless and, like exaggerated claims, call into question your credibility (or intelligence). One jewelry industry press release from years ago referred to Princess Diana as "The Princess of Whales." Another confused Olympic figure skater Elvis Stojko with rock star Elvis Costello. And another referred to a super-thin timepiece as "the world's slimiest mechanical watch." (The company meant "slimmest.")
  • If it's an event you want to see in print, send out releases before and after it takes place. The first should tell the news media exactly what will take place, when and why it is newsworthy. Its purpose is to induce the media to cover the event in person, preferably with a photographer. The second release, giving a detailed account of the event, must go out immediately afterward. Its purpose is to obtain coverage in case the media didn't send a reporter, or if it did, to reinforce information you don't want him or her to overlook. (It also ensures the reporter has the spellings of names and people's business titles.)
  • Send pictures with your release. "Photos available upon request" can't help an editor with a deadline three hours away. And no photos often mean no coverage. After all, people don't want to just read about the local celebrities that came to your party - they want to see them.




Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


 

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