How to Write News Releases that Get Noticed

What do you do with junk mail? Are you like me? I toss this stuff without opening it ? unless I see some benefit. Publication editors do the same. They toss news releases that don't demonstrate a benefit to their audience.

What's the difference between a release that gets used and one that hits the editor's circular file? Here are seven easy tips for writing releases that get picked up rather than thrown out.

1. Make sure it's newsworthy. What's newsworthy, you ask. To be newsworthy your topic needs to be timely, of interest to the publication's audience, benefit-oriented, and substantive (that is, not self-serving, hype or fluff.)

2. Write a powerful headline. The headline is what will pull in the editor or leave her/him cold. Keep it short and descriptive, but make it interesting.

3. Use journalist style. Editors are looking for the facts, not fluff. Be sure to include the essentials: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.

4. Keep it brief. Editors are pressed for time and inundated with releases. Keep yours to one page, 300-800 words. The headline and first two paragraphs are the most important parts of your release.

5. Avoid jargon. Even if you're sending a release on a technical topic to a technical journal, resist the temptation to use acronyms. Spell it out! Use common language. It will make your releases more readable and accessible.

6. Proof it. The accuracy of your release ? including spelling and grammar ? reflects on your company. If you aren't good at proofreading your own stuff, enlist someone else to do it.

7. Include a photo. Okay. This isn't a writing tip, but it's good advice anyway. Publications are looking for good quality visuals, so including a photo, illustration, chart or graph (with a caption, please) increases your chance of getting picked up.

Follow these tips to improve your news release writing. But remember that the keys to a successful news release program are a good list of publications and a regular mailing schedule of newsworthy items. Persistence WILL pay off.

©Copyright 2005 Clairvoyant Communications, Inc.

About the author

Claire Cunningham, president of Clairvoyant Communications, Inc., has 25 years' experience developing and implementing successful marketing and communications programs. Sign up for Claire's monthly e-newsletter, Communiqué, at http://www.clairvoyantcommunications.com

C laire can be reached at 763-479-3499 ([email protected])

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