Expert Answers to Biz Questions
Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.
The Biz Question
How do I create a press release that will please both offline and online editors? Are there any examples of press releases online?
Answer from our Guest Expert Laura Wiegert of Creative Consultants
You're a savvy marketer for recognizing the power of both on- and off-line news releases. Although they share many similarities, they also have some major differences. This means you cannot create one release that pleases both types of editors. But you can start with the offline release, then edit it into a piece that's workable online as well.
The Basic News Release -- A La Carte
Whether writing for online or offline editors, consider some of these basic guidelines before whipping up your news release:
Whichever audience you're writing for, the basics of good writing and news release etiquette always apply. Write concisely, write well, and write only what they need to know. If editors want more detail or further information, they'll get it from you.
Somebody Order an Online Release?
A snail mail news release gives you flexibility to include graphics, photos, charts, fact sheets and other details that make up a press kit. However, an online release is another story, since brevity is appreciated. Keep your e-mail news release as brief and to-the-point as possible. A good rule of thumb is approximately 5 to 6 short paragraphs. If you have more info (or graphics) to include, point editors to your web site. Also include information on how to get a release copy by snail mail.
If you're wanting to venture online, here are some other common sense and courtesy tidbits. I recommend following them since online editors, who see hundreds of news releases a week, can be very picky and sometimes short on patience.
The good news is if you don't feel up to this adventure on your own, you have some options. Several companies on the web act as service bureaus and can send out your news release online for you (for a fee, of course). They also have great information and samples of some online releases. Check out these sites if you're interested:
Create a Unique Treat
Remember, online and offline editors are inundated with news releases and solicitations. So when writing your release, strive for a unique angle that will make you stand out above the rest. Grab their attention. Ask yourself if the story is newsworthy, and if it's not, then don't send it. Time is a precious commodity to these people. Keep to the point. And they appreciate good writing, so hone your skills.
Who knows? If you consistently put together well-written, concise, newsworthy, and error-free releases, editors may look forward to them! It could be a delicacy among the other duds they receive! Good luck!
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