Self promotion can be a major part of your success in business. Don’t be afraid to go after publicity in the media — it can be far more extensive and influential than a paid for advertisement. Here’s my 10-step plan to writing a good media release.
- Get the layout right:You need the following:
- A headline sentence in bold
- An opening paragraph in bold
- Text that supports your headline and opening paragraph
- Contact details
- Create a great headline:The headline should sum up the media release contents in a concise manner – just as a newspaper headline does. Keep it to one short sentence.
- Write a snappy opening sentence. Your opening sentence can be just as important as the headline in attracting interest from a journalist who may scan this alone and determine whether or not the entire story is of interest. Remember also, these words are also indexed by search engines so if you’re putting your release online, add some key words.
- Support your headline and opener with quality text:The remaining text supports your story and must answer the questions of who, what, when, where, how and why. Write the text in the format used by your target media outlet. For example if you’re targeting a local paper, write it as a newspaper article – the sure sign of a great media release is to read it word for word in the paper.
- It can be referred to later: A journalist may decide to look at your story at another time for a variety of reasons. This could be because they’ve just done a similar story, or they have too many stories already waiting to run. I’ve been contacted by a journalist up to 9 months after sending a press release, which proves they hang on to good press releases for a long time!
- Use quotations: Quote yourself high-up in the release – in the second or third sentence. Keep quotes short, sharp and newsworthy (often referred to by the media as a ‘grab’ which summarises the main point of the story).
- Include an expert if possible: If you can find a third party to support your position it will give you and your release instant credibility and move it away from being a promotional piece into the realm of serious news story.
- Provide full contact details: Include your name, landline, mobile phone number, email address and web address
- Try to keep it to one page: More than 1.5 pages and a journalist just won’t read it.
- Offer images and make yourself available for an interview: Often, a journalist will want to do an interview rather than lifting quotes directly from a media release. A media outlet may be happy to use your images, or they may want to take photographs themselves, so make yourself available
- Send it out!: Develop a list of targeted media outlets, and don’t overlook online PR release sites such as www.free-press-release.com and www.prweb.com
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Sue Papadoulis is an inspirational entrepreneur, media coach, engaging speaker and best-selling author who empowers and motivates others to take their game to the next level by using the power of free publicity. Sue is Australia’s leading specialist in helping entrepreneurs generate free publicity. To access her special report “The Five Biggest Secrets to Getting Free Publicity in the Media” plus her secret list of the top online press release distribution sites, visit www.publicityforprofit.com.au