Having a story is only half the battle (although probably a big ‘half’), the next step is delivering something that an editor will notice. There are a number of things that help to get your press release read and published.

One – a good headline. This needs to be engaging, interesting and generate enough curiosity for the reader to make them want to read more.
Two – a strong first paragraph that sets the scene and keeps the reader interested enough to want to read more. It’s not good practice to put your company name in the first line or headline, it can turn people off as they immediately classify the article as ‘advertising’.
Three – statistics and data that validate your story.
Four – quotes from relevant people, especially experts or known names, but your managing director or a key member of your team will do if they have something interesting or, better still, controversial to say.
Five – a point at the end so your story comes to a clean end rather than petering out weakly.

These are my tips to give you a better chance of your press release being considered for publication.

  • Head the press release up with ‘Press release’ and ‘for immediate release’ (or, if your story cannot be published until a certain date, ‘for release on [date])’
  • Ensure that each page carries your contact information (name and phone number) at the foot of the page so the editor can get hold of you if necessary.
  • Don’t put your contact information (web address, company phone number, email) into the press release itself, put these at the end for information.
  • Don’t try and sell your products or services; that will get your piece ‘spiked’ (deleted in todays terminology).
  • Stick to no more than two pages of A4, preferably one if you can get your story down to something short and focused. If the editor is really interested he or she will ring you for more information.
  • If more than one page, write ‘mf’ (meaning ‘more follows’) at the foot of the first page and ‘ends’ after the final paragraph and before the information for the editor. This ensures that the editor knows there is another page if someone prints it out and the pages get separated.
  • If you are attaching a photo or other visual put a caption in under the editor’s notes. Ensure you identify everyone in photographs by position.
  • If you are hoping to be published in a particular publication it’s a good move to read some previous copies and ensure your item is in keeping with their style.

    Develop your own press list that includes details of local and national publications you want to be in and also professional journals and relevant magazines that might be interested. Invest some time in finding out who the right contacts are and find out what they are looking for and you’ve got a much better chance of getting noticed.

    Be persistent – regular good quality press releases will, eventually, get published.
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