by Jerry Scrivo, Vice President and COO.
A press release is a great way for your client to get some free advertising and publicity in the local newspapers. As a consultant it is your job to recognize when it is appropriate for you to write a press release for your client and what you should write about. Below are the guidelines you need to follow when writing a press release.
When do you write a press release?
When a new business opens
When a business celebrates an anniversary
When a new product is being debuted
When a new employee joins a business
When an employee needs to be recognized for outstanding work
Any other significant dates or events
How to write a press release
When writing a press release you want to speak to the potential customers that will be reading the article. In the first paragraph you want to introduce the company, owners and employees and give a brief description of the history of the company. The second paragraph should mention any specific dates, times, phone numbers and an address if there is a celebration that is open to the public. Having an open house is suggested when a new businesses is opening or having an anniversary. It is a great way to get new customers attracted that might not originally be interested in the business. Also when having an open house a business should provide incentives to get non customers interested. This could include having a raffle, food, games for kids, or a special speaker, which also should be mentioned in the article. The second paragraph also needs to give specific detail of what the business has to offer and its competitive advantage over the competition. If the article is to honor an employee or owner then the second paragraph should give specific information about the employee and some of their accomplishments they have had over their career. In order to obtain this information you need to spend time interviewing the person you are writing the article about. The third paragraph should be a short summary of the article and a closing. A press release should not be any longer than two and a half paragraphs because space in newspapers is limited.
After you write a press release
After you write a press release and your client has approved it you want to determine what newspapers to put the press release in. It is ok to choose three or four papers to send the press release to because not all papers will run the article or run them at the same time. Smaller local papers usually do not have a problem publishing articles that are already written; although you want to make sure you let your client know that it is possible that the article you wrote might be modified by the editor before it goes into the paper. Larger papers might take interest in the press release but will send a journalist out to write their own press release.
Taking a digital picture of the business owners or employees is a great addition to a press release. Attaching one or two pictures along with the press release to an email that you send to the newspaper and mentioning that you included a picture in the email is a good idea. Like the press release, a newspaper might send their own photographers out to take pictures.
Getting a press release published
Newspapers are more inclined to publish a press release for a business that advertises in their newspaper, so make sure you know if there is a paper that your client advertises in. Also developing relationships with the editors of newspapers is very beneficial because when you send in a press release it is good to have a contact person. This helps to get your press release noticed and increases your chances of getting it in the newspaper. You also want to keep a log of newspaper phone numbers, names and email addresses on hand so that you quickly contact newspapers and keep your contact information organized. First you want to call the contact person at each paper that you are sending the press release too. Give them a brief description of what the press release is about and if there is a date the press release needs to be published by. Second you want to send the press release and any pictures you have by email to the editor or contact person you spoke with at the newspaper. Third you want to call the paper back in two or three days to confirm that they received your email and when they are going to publish the article. Fourth you want to let your client know which papers have agreed to run the article and on which date.
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