Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Press Releases are not Rocket Science

In my consulting practice, one of the most frustrating tasks is getting sign offs on press releases. Clients lose sleep over this one document and let it sit for months because it’s not “perfect”. Whether you write your own or pay to have them written for you, here are 5 tips to speed up the process while at the same time ensuring you get a quality release out into the world. Read these and then… JUST DO IT!

1.       Make it Timely
The number one piece of advice I can share is that if you have something to announce, do it now, because there’s nothing worse than missed opportunity or yesterday’s news. Getting it out on time is more important than agonizing for 40 years over the exact wording. This isn’t a college application or the great American novel, it is a tool for sharing information.

2.       Make it Simple
The press release is a vehicle for getting information out into the world, not a one of a kind wood carving or couture gown. It does not require flowery language or poetic rhymes. It simply needs to give people information and the best way to do that is to make it organized, logical and succinct. Write simply, as if you were composing a recipe or directions for putting together a folding dog crate. Keep it to one page and your chances of actually having it read skyrocket.
3.       Share Information
Make sure that the release contains all pertinent information: contact person / phone / email / location / date / basic data, etc. Don’t focus so much on the story that you forget to put a link to your website, for example. Make sure all the contact info is at the top, so that an editor who does a quick scan doesn’t get frustrated and toss the whole thing. Remember that the purpose is to get information into the right hands and to make sure they know where to go further details or to have Oprah’s staff call you to set up a TV appearance!
4.       Include a Photo
Reading is a lost art. Busy editors might see hundreds of releases each week – make yours stand out! Are you promoting a book / retail shop / new exercise gadget / politician? You’ll need photos / headshots no matter what, so get them done early and use them everywhere, especially on the release – right under the header. A picture is worth… well, you know.
5.       Nobody’s Perfect

Revise and edit for accuracy and simplicity, and then have another pair of eyes do the same. It may not be perfect, but when it is good enough, go. Get the information all in one place, run it by someone you trust, and then put it into the universe and let the magic happen. 

You may also find this post on my LinkedIn profile