How to write effective news releases


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A brief primer on how to write effective news releases and manage media relations.

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  • How to write effective news releases

    1. 1. Media Relations 101 How to write effective news releases Trish Freshwater, APR May 20, 2009
    2. 2. What is News? <ul><ul><li>Timeliness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prominence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Proximity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Novelty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Progress </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conflict </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disaster </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consequence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Human Interest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Citizenship </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Types of News Releases <ul><li>Announcements </li></ul><ul><li>Spot Announcements </li></ul><ul><li>Reaction Releases </li></ul><ul><li>Bad News </li></ul><ul><li>Local News/Hometowner </li></ul>
    4. 4. News Release vs. Media Alert News Release Media Alert Comprehensive, detailed Brief, garners attention Uses full prose Often contains bullet statements Could be reproduced as an article Often serves as an invitation Inverted pyramid writing style Provides just the basics
    5. 5. Formatting a Media Alert <ul><li>Natural History Museum example </li></ul><ul><li>Starbucks example </li></ul>
    6. 6. Formatting a News Release
    7. 7. More News Release Examples <ul><li>Apple Announces iPod Shuffle </li></ul><ul><li>MUSC Children’s Hospital volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>Historic Charleston Foundation </li></ul>
    8. 8. Content – Information to Include <ul><li>Contact information for the media </li></ul><ul><li>Release date/dateline </li></ul><ul><li>Catchy headline </li></ul><ul><li>Who, What, When, Where, Why (and How) </li></ul><ul><li>Boilerplate </li></ul>
    9. 9. Writing the Lead <ul><li>Needs to get attention </li></ul><ul><li>Say the most important information first </li></ul><ul><li>Good idea to incorporate organization name </li></ul><ul><li>Could use statistic, interesting fact, famous quote, question, humor – something to “hook” reader </li></ul><ul><li>There are many types of leads </li></ul>
    10. 10. Filling in the Details <ul><li>Inverted pyramid style </li></ul><ul><li>Use quotes </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t forget important statistics/facts </li></ul><ul><li>Answer all questions a reader might have </li></ul><ul><li>For more information, please call … </li></ul>
    11. 11. Distribution to the Media <ul><li>Choose the right medium </li></ul><ul><li>Choose the right reporter </li></ul><ul><li>Never send a release to “editor” or “assignments editor” </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail is often preferred, but check first </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid attachments if possible </li></ul>
    12. 12. Essential Tips for Success <ul><li>Make sure the information is newsworthy. </li></ul><ul><li>Start with a brief description of the news, then distinguish who announced it, and not the other way around. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask yourself, “Why should anyone care?” and &quot;How will others relate to this and will they be able to connect?&quot; </li></ul>
    13. 13. Essential Tips, cont. <ul><li>Make sure the first 10 words of your release are effective, as they are the most important. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid excessive use of adjectives and fancy language. </li></ul><ul><li>Deal with the facts. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide as much contact information as possible: individual to contact, address, phone, fax, e-mail, Web site address. </li></ul>
    14. 14. Essential Tips, cont. <ul><li>Don’t jump the gun. Make sure you have enough substance to issue a release. </li></ul><ul><li>Make it as easy as possible for media representatives to do their jobs. </li></ul><ul><li>Learn and use AP Style – </li></ul><ul><li>Set realistic expectations. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Common Writing Mistakes <ul><li>Grammar, spelling errors </li></ul><ul><li>Writing in the first person </li></ul><ul><li>Missing contact information </li></ul><ul><li>Too much/too little content </li></ul><ul><li>Linking only to your main Web site </li></ul><ul><li>Using Gobbledygook words or jargon </li></ul><ul><li>Embedding multimedia in your press releases </li></ul>
    16. 16. Common Distribution Mistakes <ul><li>Failure to use BCC </li></ul><ul><li>Sending releases first thing on Monday morning </li></ul><ul><li>Failure to target releases to specific news outlets and sending to everyone </li></ul><ul><li>Sending releases to multiple editors at same news outlet </li></ul><ul><li>Following up too soon </li></ul><ul><li>Not paying attention to media deadlines </li></ul><ul><li>Being inaccessible or hesitant to provide additional information </li></ul>
    17. 17. Online Resources <ul><li>PRW </li></ul><ul><li>Publicity Insider </li></ul><ul><li>PR Web Direct </li></ul><ul><li>SCIWay </li></ul>
    18. 18. Questions? Trish Freshwater, APR [email_address]