Where’s My Paparazzi? Writing the Press Release

Ah… those glowing gems of media wonder, the often hated, but yet beloved press releases. Pen the right words to get the grand prize: a media interview. Being recognized in a positive light by the local media is an efficient way to share information about your business to a broad audience of people. A good press release mixed with some fantastic social skills is key to your being recognized and interviewed by the local media, podcasters and beyond. A press release is typically a newsworthy article-type correspondence which is emailed or faxed to area media: radio and television stations, newspapers, business journals, and such. Also, IdeaMarketers.com and EzineArticles.com provide outlets for your genius, expert self.

Writing a press release has a simple formula. The first step is to ensure your information is true and newsworthy. With some thought and collaboration, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding something newsworthy about your business. Are you having a special open house? Did someone in your company get a promotion or receive an award? Can you offer specialized advice for the general public?

Write the most important and/or intriguing information in the first paragraph. This is your opportunity to hook your reader so he or she continues reading. This doesn’t need to become complicated. In fact, stay away from elaborate words and phrases and stick to simple, straight-forward writing. Write using the inverted pyramid style. Now, here comes the tricky part. While you are writing this concise, informative, journalistic article, make it personal and interesting. You can do this by adding quotes and clarifying how this information impacts the reader and community.

Attribute the information to specific sources. You want to do this to insure the reader finds the information not only pertinent and interesting with mass appeal, but also verifiable. So, your reader has found your writing to be crystal clear, important to his target demographic, and interesting. Now, ask yourself, does he know how to contact me for more information or to schedule an interview? Contact information is crucial. Let’s talk about where to put it. The format of your release is of extreme importance. You will want to follow the standard specifications so as to make the reporter’s job as effortless as possible. To simplify this process, please see the example below.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Miki Markovich

(555) 555-5555

Your email address

Being Shy is an Asset

New Marketing and Public Relations Techniques Ensure Success and Job Satisfaction

(Eugene, OR, February 15, 2011) – For years, there has been a consensus that being shy is detrimental in the business world, specifically in the area of marketing and public relations. However, people across the nation are discovering there are common sense techniques that enhance existing skills to increase both success and job satisfaction.

“I feel very good about myself. I have increased productivity and job satisfaction. By writing personal notes, I leave people feeling special and have saved time and energy by cutting down on uncomfortable, in-person meetings with people I’ve never met. Not only am I happy, but my boss is also thrilled because our company has increased profitability,” said Miki Markovich, Director of ABC Co.


The press release above is shortened to be a format template. The three number symbols at the bottom indicate the end of an article in journalism. It’s important to use the correct format as to make the reporter’s job as easy as possible.

Typically, a press release is one to three pages long. You want to be short and concise. The goal is to generate enough media interest to warrant an interview. A good way to familiarize yourself with the content and format is to pull up examples on-line of those successful press releases used in your industry.

In order to get your information read by the proper person, you must know whom to address. You can find this information through various modes of research. In the newspaper, there is usually a section that lists section editors or beats. For television, radio, or even newspaper, this information can often be found on their websites. If none of these avenues result in the needed information, you can call the offices directly and ask for the name of the editor you seek, whether that is the business, technology, education, or news. Once this information is verified, write this information in a marketing contact book for future reference.

The next step is to prepare you’re a short greeting to post at the top of the email or a fax cover sheet. If faxing, have your cover sheet or the first page of your press release on letterhead stationary. If this isn’t possible, have your logo and contact information on the coversheet. This can be done inexpensively by placing your business card at the top, right corner of a sheet of paper or for the more tech savvy out there, simply utilize your logo and design your letterhead on your computer. Make a copy and there you go, instant letterhead. Complete the sections listing who the fax is to, who it is from, how many pages, and the reason for sending the fax. I try to include a genuine compliment such as “I heard your interview with the mayor on the radio Monday. Fabulous job. Your questions were insightful.”

However, if I don’t have any compliments to give, I just write, “I look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week,” and draw a smiley face. If these efforts aren’t directly rewarded with an invitation for an interview, don’t hesitate to follow up with a phone call. Research when it is convenient for the reporter or editor. Keep in mind that we don’t like additional work under high-pressure deadlines and neither do they. Rather than interrupting, calling after business hours is always an option. If you do choose to call during normal working hours, without knowing the reporter’s most convenient time, simply ask when you get him or her on the phone, “Is this a good time to visit?”

Congratulations. You have the interview. Now what do you do? Go and survive. Details should come in the next posting. Smiles to you and best wishes.

Writing a Press Release

The word Press Release seems to scare most people to death. On top of that not many people take the time to even think of writing their own Press Release. We hope this brief article will help clear up some of the mysteries surrounding this simple form of marketing.

The first thing you have to remember is that a Press Release is a news item. It needs to inform people, NOT sell them something. For example, you are reading this report because you want to learn something that will benefit you. You are not reading it just so you can buy something else. If money is the deriving force in your business you would not go too far. Your main goals should be in pleasing customers, providing them with a high quality product and more than their moneys worth. The trick is to do all this while still making money. People do not care what mountains you had to climb, what seas you had to cross or what tribe of people you had to learn the ways of just to find a secret formula. Instead they want to know what the secret formula is.

The sales circulars you print and mail sell your product. A Press Release informs others about your product. Instead of your main objective being to sell the product and have the customer send in an order immediately, a Press Release informs the customer exactly how your product will benefit their lives. This must be conveyed in the form of a newsworthy Press Release. If you have a sales circular to sell a product, you can easily turn it into a Press Release without much difficulty. It is just a new marketing angle of presenting your product to the public.

The following is an example of a typical Press Release for our publishing services: So many people are entering the mail order market these days, but so many of them are getting ripped off by a bunch of hype. People are promised untold riches in a short period of time. The hype ads play with their emotions by making them believe it is so easy to make money through the mail. It is sad.

However, a new book has just been released to help solve these problems for the average person. For the first time in history a real directory has been compiled listing the actual name and addresses of 179 honest and trustworthy mail order folks. People can write directly to these people and receive free information to get them started in their own business now.

It is unbelievable. Without trying to sell you anything else, you can get this book for only $4.95 a price anyone can afford. Meet the real mail order dealers who are about their products and want to help you get started doing what they are doing.

Only available from Graphic Publishing, PO Box 488, Bluff City TN 37618.As you can see, this is a short but sweet Press Release however, you should be able to see the newsworthiness in it. Its main focus is on the fact that most people get ripped off when they start their first mail order business. The solution to this problem is a new directory that is available for the first time in history. The sell is slowly led into because the reader will naturally want to get their hands on this one. It does not ask for money it only tells the reader how to get a copy if they want one.

Here is a great test for a real press release. Since your final sales pitch is included in the last paragraph read the Press Release aloud. Would it still be worth reading without your sales pitch? If so, it is probably a Press Release.

Press Releases come in many forms due to the product you are writing about. However, the basic rule of thumb still applies. If you have never wrote one before it may be a little difficult. Do not despair. Grab the latest daily newspaper and read some of their informational articles. Notice how each article is written and pattern yours after the same format. After you do a few of them – you will be able to get the picture.

When your Press Release is written to your satisfaction, the proper way to submit it to a publisher is: Be sure and type it on a typewriter or computer. Standard format is doubling spaced and not longer than two 8 1/2×11 pages. Be sure and put your name, address and page number at the top of each page.

Write the note for immediate release at the top. If you are only sending the press release to one publication tell them it is a first run.


Online Press Releases Create Loads of Free Publicity for Your Home Business

Online press releases are one of the fastest and easiest ways to get your home business in front of your target market.

Many times when people think of the term “press release,” what comes to mind is a major life-changing news story published by a large corporation or government agency. According to the World English Dictionary, however, a press release is simply “an official announcement or account of a news item circulated to the press.”

What does that mean for the home business entrepreneur?

You have a powerful tool for generating publicity and getting noticed — right at your fingertips.

Why Online Press Releases?

In the past, news was released in print, on television and on radio. In recent years, however, the internet has completely changed the way individuals and organizations get the word out.

The average consumer now expects to get their news immediately, especially online, so when you publish a press release about your home business on the web, it’s possible to see a major influx of traffic to your business within hours and minutes instead of the weeks and days it used to take.

Here’s why it works.

Many of the press release sites are considered important authority sites by the search engines, so if you optimize your report properly as explained in this article, your news item will appear higher in the search results for the terms your prospective customer cares about.

Moreover, the fact that they are identified as authority sites means the links from the press release sites to your website are given more weight. So from the search engine perspective, you are more of an authority and your website rank increases, making it easier for your intended audience to find you online.

Additionally, due to the relevance associated with press release sites, your perceived authority in the minds of your readers multiplies. You then have an avenue by which you can educate the consumer about your home business, build rapport and truly form a connection.

But What Would I Write a Press Release About?

As stated above, a press release doesn’t have to be about an earth-shattering event (although big news can garner a lot of attention quickly, as you’ll see below). Here are 10 ideas you can use to gain free publicity using the power of the press:

1. Announce the opening of your business. If you’ve been in business for a while and have never written a press release about it, write a piece announcing your mission statement. Tell the world who you are and what it is you have to offer.

2. Publicize a new product or service you’re launching. Share the benefits your customer can expect, and tell them how to do business with you.

3. Announce your teleseminars and webinars. A press release is a fantastic vehicle for attracting attendees, so always include enough information to ensure you’re drawing the right audience.

4. Reveal a special sale or any special offers you have going on. Tell your prospective customer exactly why they should do everything possible to seek you out.

5. Remember that major news story? Link big news with something happening in your company. As an example, about two weeks before the time of this writing, Prince William announced his engagement to Kate Middleton. The Franklin Mint then announced the production of a limited edition Kate Middleton portrait doll.

6. Start a Meetup group for home business owners in your area and promote it with a press release. You can announce the establishment of the group itself and send a news release before each event. In this way, you grow your membership and increase attendance at the meetings.

7. Publish a news piece when you launch your website and every time you make a major change to it. Be sure to include an incentive for the reader to actually visit your site.

8. Create a press release when you hire support staff. This is an implied statement that your home business is growing rapidly and your prospects need to do business with you now, while they can still work with you personally.

9. Set up a charitable event and tell the world via a press release. One of the best ways to implement this idea is to offer a product for sale and commit 100% of the proceeds to the charity of your choice. This is especially effective if the product for sale is an information product because it minimizes your cost. Don’t have an information product? Set up an interview with a well-known figure in your market (let them know it’s for charity), record the interview, and sell the mp3 download.

10. Start a contest and write a news article to announce it. Include enough information that the reader can clearly understand the rules and benefits. Contests are fantastic tools for building your list of prospects.

So What Goes In a Press Release Anyway?

One of the keys to success with online press releases is to write your news item so that it will be found when people are searching for what it is you offer.

In order to do this, spend several minutes brainstorming and writing down specific words and phrases your ideal prospect is likely to enter into the search box when they’re looking for the solution you provide. Then use a keyword research tool, such as the Google External Keyword Tool, to identify the most popular search terms in your market.

Select 4-5 of the most popular terms. One of these will be your main keyword, and the rest will serve as supporting – or secondary – keywords. These are the words you’ll focus on when writing the press release for your home business.

Now that you know your keywords, let’s look at what to put in the press release.

1. Title. A good press release title is short, starts with your main keyword, and grabs the reader’s attention immediately. Use action words and power words such as results, secret, risky, revealed, and announces. Remember the goal is to motivate the audience to want to read more.

2. Summary. The summary is one or two sentences that describe what your news item is about, and it should include 3-5 secondary keywords. The summary should entice the prospective reader to read the entire article. It’s also a good idea to place a link to your website in the summary of a press release so the reader can immediately visit your site if they so choose.

3. Dateline. The dateline must include the date and a clear, concise declaration of the news. When someone reads the dateline, they should have an immediate understanding of what you’re reporting.

4. Main Body. The body of your press release should be 300-800 words long, written from the third-person, neutral point of view. It must answer the 5 W’s — who, what, where, when, and why. The body text should focus on a single news item and must not be written like an advertisement. Instead, tell the reader what’s happening and why they should care. Be certain to include 1-3 links to your website in the body of your press release. At least one of the links should use your main keyword as the anchor text (the visible, clickable text in the hyperlink) and at least one of the links should use your actual website address as the anchor text. Take the time to be sure one of your keywords is in every paragraph of your press release.

5. About/Boilerplate. Give the reader of your press release a high-level look at your home business. Tell them about any special certifications, awards, and honors you’ve received. Convey your unique selling proposition. Then place a call to action, with a direct link to your website, as the last line.

6. Contact Information. Provide your name, the company name, your telephone number and the website address for your business so the reader and members of the media can easily contact you. Do not use a personal email address.

So I Just Write a Press Release and People Start Calling?


After you write your press release, you do have to submit it to the online distribution services. These services share your news items with multiple websites so your content is published all over the web, thereby increasing your exposure and the likelihood that your target audience will connect with you and learn about your home business.

While there are some paid services, there are also several that allow you to distribute your news items for no cost.

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