This isn’t a second article on how to create a news release – also known as a “press release,” or “press release” as is commonly referred to. There are plenty of excellent “how to” articles on how to write efficient releases.
Instead after reviewing and writing hundreds of news releases over the many years, I’d like to offer the following tips for those who is considering using this simple but crucial communications tool to get the attention of the news media.
Is All There is?
A lot of business owners think that doing news releases as a part of an internal public relations department, however the news release is to public relations the same thing as flour to cakes. It’s important, but it’s not the sole ingredient. Do not rely on news announcements alone to boost your business’s image. In order to achieve this you’ll need an effective, long-term strategy.
There are instances when company representatives, worried about being held accountable for a mistake – include so many ambiguous statements to the language of an announcement release that the impact of the announcement is diminished or appears to be a legal document. The rule of thumb is that if you’re not comfortable making an announcement without adding the necessary explanations for each direct statement, you’re not ready to issue a news release.
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Journalists receive hundreds of news releases each day and, unless you’re employed by an organization like the White House or some other large organization where millions of people want be aware of what you’re doing Your news release need to be written in such a manner to draw attention, or else it’s going to the recycling bin. Don’t count on editors to sift through it to figure out the message you’re trying to convey and then tidy the mess; they do not have the time. Keep it simple, clear and engaging.
News Means News
There are some companies that issue news announcements at the drop of an ointment – Joe received an award, Mary’s name was changed and the company was named one of the top 50 manufacturers of widgets by Widget Makers of America, and the list goes on. A constant stream of this kind of “exciting news” is tossed onto the desks of editors and reporters until, eventually the company’s announcements are discarded completely. Whyis that? Because writers don’t understand the meaning of “news” is and get that bad image with journalists. This isn’t a great practice, and usually is due to a lack of perception. If you’re interested in knowing what people think of as news, read the news, watch the news, as well as pay attention for the latest news.
Know where to send it
The decision of where to mail your news release is crucial as well. Be aware of the kind of news being covered by different media outlets. Are there new executives in your organization? Are you announcing a brand new item or service? The two news stories could be sent to totally different news organizations or editors depending on the person you’re with and what you’re selling. Make sure you do your research prior to submitting and you’ll be more successful in communicating your message.
Stay in Contact
Making a list of journalists is only the beginning. It is important keep it updated regularly to ensure you have the correct editorial contacts. I’ve seen some rather dirty media lists over the years, and it’s one of the primary reasons announcements or events don’t get reported on. Remember that people change their minds at news agencies. They could leave for new possibilities, or simply quit a certain “beat.” Don’t rely on them to relay your details. Be aware of who to reach out to with your information.