What you will learn: How to put together the perfect press release.
Welcome to the Get Media Smart podcast. Never struggle to get attention again.
I’m your host, Cheryl Tan
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Hi, everyone! I’m Cheryl Tan. Welcome to the Get Media Smart podcast. Episode #12.
You have made it to Day 12 of the 2-week Become a Media Magnet Challenge. What do you think of this challenge so far? You have come a long way. Today, we’re talking about putting together the perfect press release.
By the way, you can still join us by signing up for this free email challenge at CherylTanMedia.com/podcast and for two full weeks, you will get action items straight to your inbox – action items that will help you attract attention for you and your business.
I will outline the challenges in the first 14 episodes of this podcast. They are short, to the point, and you can always join us in our Facebook community to talk about your results.
Onto Challenge #12. Today, we are creating the perfect press release.
Let me say first, I am not a huge fan of press releases as a way to reach a reporter. It’s mostly because they are often mis-used. Too many people create a press release, mass send them to every single employee of a news station and wonder why they don’t get a return call. But I do believe it’s important to go through the steps of crafting one when you have a story to pitch – simply because it helps you organize your information in a clear and concise way. And for big events, press releases can definitely work.
When putting together a press release, simplicity, brevity, and providing clear information are so very important. Just the other day, I was talking with an assignment editor at a TV station and he told me to repeat this many times to business owners.
A press release, also known as a news release or a media release is simply a document you send to news organizations–television stations, newspapers, radio stations, magazines–to let them know about a newsworthy event they can include in their broadcasts or publications.
First things first, think about your headline. You want something that will grab the attention of the person who is reading it. The person who receives the press releases is extremely busy, and has a long list of other press releases screaming for attention, so when you create your headline, think about what kind of event or update will make an impact on his or her audience. We talked about this specifically in Episode #3 of the Get Media Smart podcast. I talked about the things you need to think about in creating your story pitch. If hundreds of business owners are pulling together for a fundraiser for the homeless, for example, say so in the headline. No need to bury the lead.
The first paragraph is probably the most important paragraph, after the headline. It may be the only part that gets read. Your inclination may be to talk about your company right off the top. Save that for paragraph 3 or 4. Stick to the event details and why it’s important for the community in paragraph one.
And answer these questions, quickly, in that first paragraph.
Who (is putting the event together)?
What (is going on)?
When (is it taking place)?
Where (is it happening)?
Why (does it matter)?
The paragraphs that follow can include past results from your event or details about your company, but try to keep the entire thing at one page. And copy the release into the body of the email, as opposed to attaching it in a file. It is much easier to read the information in an email versus opening the email and scanning it.
Visual elements are so important, even if you’re pitching a story to a radio station or a newspaper. They might do promotion for the story on social media, in which case a picture is important. Naturally, TV stations are highly focused on good video opportunities. What can you offer the reporter in terms of interviews, photos, good video, or web links?
In your news release, make sure you include your name, email and phone number BOTH at the top and at the bottom.
Lastly, keep the sales pitch at home. Your inclination may be to tell them about the best-selling solution in your stable. If a reporter or producer feels a sales pitch is coming at them, they’ll send you to the sales department. Or they’ll just delete your email.
As you create your distribution list, make sure you spell names correctly. And I always caution my clients against sending mass emails. Just this week, I received five mass emails for businesses that didn’t meet any of the qualifications for stories that I cover.
What has been your success rate with a press release? Share your story in our group, “Get Media Smart.”
You can find a link to the Facebook group, show notes, transcripts, and a link to the Become a Media Magnet challenge at CherylTanMedia.com/podcast. What do you think of this show? Please leave me a review in iTunes and if it’s the right fit, I’d love it if you subscribed to the “Get Media Smart” podcast at the same time.
I thank you for choosing to spend some time with me. I hope these challenges and lessons are useful. Sometimes, though, you don’t get a response. What do you do then? We’re talking about the art of the Follow-up. That’s for Challenge #13 tomorrow. Talk to you then.