Understand what journalists want
Journalists aren’t interested in promoting your company, helping you up sales or drive visitors to your website. They’re looking for a news story that their readers or listeners will find interesting or useful.
Find a newsworthy angle
Look through your local press – identity the type of stories they run. Business stories could be about:
- New products/services
- Training schemes your people have passed
- Awards you’ve won
- New recruits
- Company growth/relocation
- New markets you’ve uncovered
- Weird trends you’ve spotted
- Results of a survey you’ve done
- Celebrity endorsements
- Charity work.
Offer yourself as an expert
Let the press and radio know you’re available to comment on news in your area of expertise or provide a regular advice slot.
Writing the press release
- Journalists respond to well-written and informative press releases
- Avoid hyperbole. Be objective. Your story should be able to stand on its own merits without words such as amazing, fantastic or great
- No buzzwords or jargon
- Write in the third person, “XYZ company did this”, not “we did this”. The exception is quotes from a company representative, expert or interested party. These should not be a repetition or explanation of the facts. Quotes add opinion and comment on the article. They add emphasis
- Keep it short and punchy – one to two pages
- Remember to put your contact details on
- Goes without saying – make sure there are no typos.
Who, Where, Why, What, When and How
- If you answer all of these questions in your press release the journalist should have everything he needs to know about the story.
Don’t bury the news
- Think news first, background second. Put all the important information in the first paragraph. Don’t bury the news angle and make journalists work to find it. Imagine you’re telling a friend what’s happened – what is the first thing you would tell them?
And finally – photos
- Supplied photos should be 300dpi – print quality – and in focus. If the picture is blurred or too dark the paper’s designers can’t improve them.
- Avoid firing squad line-ups, boring handshakes or huge groups of people – you won’t be able to see everyone
- Interesting poses and props will get you noticed
- A great photo could get a weak story published.