DOs and DON'Ts for press releases
No-one can expect media coverage without doing a little hard work! By identifying stories and making press announcements about major news within your industry or your organisation, you can raise the profile of your organisation.
can differentiate your business from the competition - all helping support
sales and improve the bottom line.There may well be occasions when you
will want to make your own announcements. You can increase your chances
of getting press coverage (and avoid major blunders) by following these
You should ALWAYS..
your press release on headed paper with the standard company logo
at the top and the words Media Information (or similar) printed clearly
the date on the press release.
a contact name at the end of the release of someone who will be available
for further comment and who knows about the story. This will allow
journalists to follow up and personalise their stories.
your company's standard 'boilerplate'. A boilerplate is a
description of the company and its activities. It should be used consistently
on all material sent to the press. Normally it is one or two paragraphs
the release to the most appropriate journalists only. Basically you
are selling the story and so targeting is important. Sending press
releases to journalists who have no interest in the subject will only
reduce your chances of getting their attention next time round.
the release short and punchy. The first paragraph should include only
two or three sentences each of a maximum of 15-20 words each. The
first paragraph should summarise the whole story with further details
coming later on the page. Try to keepreleases to one page of main
text if possible, or two at the most.
to check that you haven't forgotten anything from the story. The simple
checklist is : Who, What, Where, When and How. Ask yourself these
questions to make sure nothing has been left out.
out meaningless releases that have no news value. If you do then more
important stories run the risk of being overlooked because the journalist
automatically spikes your releases.
up journalists to ask if they will be using your release. This will
only serve to antagonise him or her and reduce your chances of getting
it personally if a journalist doesn't cover your story. Neither should
you let a journalist upset you by his manner if he phones for further
comment. Journalists are often cynical (it comes of hearing hype from
our competition) and usually working to a deadline. Over time by giving
him/her valuable information you will win respect and their attitude
'off the record' - this simply does not exist. Journalists are always
competing with each other to get a scoop,so the only safe way to talk
to journalists is to assume that everything may appear in print.
inappropriate language. There are two things to remember here - don't
use jargon and don't use strong language. Jargon gets in the way and
may not be well understood. Strong language looks terrible in print!
to get written approval from any third party who may be mentioned
in your release - customers, suppliers, etc. The consequences of failing
to get approval can be unpleasant.
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