Top 7 Tips For Writing News Releases That Get NoticedBy Claire Cunningham
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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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Use journalist style.
Editors are looking for the facts, not fluff. Be sure to include the essentials: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
About the author
Claire Cunningham, president of Clairvoyant Communications, Inc., has 20+ years’ experience developing and implementing successful marketing and communications programs. Sign up for Claire’s monthly e-newsletter, Communiqué, at http://www.clairvoyantcommunications.com Claire can be reached at 763-479-3499 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Article Submitted On: May 12, 2005