This information is found in PUBLIC RELATION WRITING AND MEDIA TECHNIQUES, 6th edition, by Dennis L. Wilcox
The Backbone of Publicity Programs:
- The basic news release, press release, is the backbone of almost every publicity plan.
- Various studies have found that between 55 and 97 percent of all news releases send to media outlets are never used.
- There is massive competition for the attention of reporters and editors.
- For your release to stand a chance, you must do three things
- Follow a standardized format
- Provide information that will be of interest to your audience
- Material must be timely
The Value of News Releases:
- The primary reason to write a news release is to help achieve organizational objectives.
- They are cost effective.
- News releases appear in the news columns of newspapers, and studies consistently show that people consider information in a news story to be much more believable than an advertisement.
Planning a News Release:
- Basic Questions:
- What is the subject of the message? What is the specific focus of this release?
- Who is this message designed to reach?
- What is in it for this particular audience? What are the potential benefits and rewards?
- What goal is the organization pursuing? What is the organization’s purpose? Is it to increase sales of a product? Position the company as a leader in the field? Show company concern for the environment?
- What do you want to achieve with the news release? Is the objective to inform, to change attitudes and behavior, or to increase attendance at a local event?
- What key message should this news release highlight? How can they be tailored to the format of a specific publication and its readers?
Types of News Releases:
- Spot Announcements
- Reaction Releases
- Bad News
- Local News
Parts of a Traditional News Release:
- The Lead
- Body of the Text
Writing the E-mail News Release:
- Different from normal news releases in that they are shorter in length and single-spaced.
- Use bullets to convey key points
- Write only two or three short sentences in each of the five paragraphs
- Above the headline, or at the bottom of the release, be sure to provide contact information
- Never send a release as an attachment
Preparing the Multimedia News Release:
- SMR (smart media release) make it possible to embed a news release with high resolution photos/graphics, video, and audio components.
- Include links to pages where multiple instances of your key words/phrases reinforce your message.
- Place terms in key positions like headlines and first paragraphs.
- Distribute a release through a service that carries hyperlinks to downstream sites such as Yahoo! Finance, AOL News, and Netscape.
- Go link crazy. Too many links will confuse journalists and draw focus away from key message.
- Use low-resolution images. Opt for high-resolution multimedia that can be easily used by layout pros.
- Use all tools, all the times. Focus first on the message. Use the bells and whistles to complement the campaign.