Published on July 30, 2008
News Releases Chapter 5
Clutter Reporters and editors are inundated with press releases Most are never used
Standing Out Keep it clean Keep it relevant Keep it timely
Planning the Release What is the “news” value? Who is it designed to reach? What is the “messaging/talking point” that your client wants to get across? What is the objective of the release?
AP Style Press releases should follow the AP style standard This is the same standard used by journalists
Format Traditional news releases have: Letterhead Contacts Headline Dateline Lead Paragraph Body of text (optional) Boilerplate info
Letterhead The first page is usually on company letterhead Includes logo If you don’t have letterhead, use a larger font to visually communicate the source behind the release
Letterhead Put the words “News Release” or something similar near the top Optional: “For Immediate Release”
Contacts The contact info for the company and PR person should be after the letterhead Contact: Brett Atwood Global PR 509/335-0113 firstname.lastname@example.org
Headline Usually brief and in bold Larger font than text of release Usually 14- or 16-point type Optional: Subhead with more details Subhead is not bolded
Dateline Appears at the start of the lead paragraph Includes place and date Examples: New York, NY – (Sept. 7, 2006) – The text of the story begins here. Etc. Etc. Etc. WASHINGTON, July 17 – This product is the best thing ever! Etc. Etc. Etc.
Types of News Releases Hard News Release No-nonsense summary lead Summarizes the “news” value Feature News Release Less time-sensitive Might have a more creative lead
Example: Hard News Lead SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- March 22, 2000 -- As part of their continuing efforts to develop innovative and integrated marketing solutions, Pepsi-Cola Company (NYSE: PEP) and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), today announced a joint online and offline promotional program, Pepsi Stuff.com.
Example: Feature Lead Brussels/Berlin, 10 April 2003 – Sony’s AIBO, the world’s favourite four-legged entertainment robot, is about to become a wow! on the dance floor thanks to “AIBO Dancer”, an exciting new software application. Based on Sony’s Memory Stick technology, it enables AIBO to dance in time to pop music.
Body of Text Most important info is high in the release Quote from a credible executive in second or third paragraph Background material is usually in the second or third paragraph
Tips for Success Keep the headline under 70 characters (8-10 words) Keep the opening paragraph short (25 words or less) Overall length is usually no more than 400 words Get a high-level, credible exec for your quote (if appropriate)
Social Media Press Releases Many press releases are now hosted/distributed online Optimize your release for social media sharing and keyword indexing SEO = Search Engine Optimization SMO = Social Media Optimization
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