If you thought of marketing as making promises, then press releases are the proof in the pudding. They offer an opportunity for you to spread the good news that your organization keeps its promises! But what good is a good news-story that no one reads? Let’s cover a few tips to getting the media to actually publish your good news!
1. Provide all of the information.
Journalists know that there’s no point in publishing something that doesn’t answer the 5 Ws: who, what, where, when and why. So take the guesswork out of the equation! As you write your release, provide the answers to these 5 questions.
2. Use AP style.
Want the press to pick up your story? Speak their language! Make an AP Style Guide your new best friend. Keep in mind important rules like:
- Use a person’s full name on first reference, and refer to them by their last name every time after that.
- When it comes to listing a person’s degrees, keep it consistent. You have two formats to choose from – Bachelor’s Degree in Communication, or Bachelor of Arts in Communication.
- Write out numbers one through nine, but you can use figures for anything more than 10.
3. Keep it simple.
If you can say it in one word, why use 3? Save your flowery and beautiful writing for that novel you’ve always dreamed of writing. Instead of using “the entirety,” just say “all.”
4. Leave off the Oxford comma.
We know! It may hurt your heart… but journalists are no-nonsense people. Nothing extra, and no wasted time! To them, commas only exist to provide clarity. If they can nix even one, they will - and the one they love to hate is that Oxford comma.
5. Be mindful of deadlines.
If you are pitching stories to local newspapers, find out when their deadlines are so that you can be sure to beat it! It may not be possible to promote a Friday event in Thursday’s paper if you send the press release on Tuesday. Work ahead as much as possible!