Friday, January 30, 2009

Create A Press Release

Author: Jean Melconian

A press release is a great way to get free publicity for your site. In order to obtain editorial coverage for your business you must find a particular idea that is unique to your business and it should be newsworthy.. A press release is a document (usually between 500 to 1,000 words) about your company designed to make a newsworthy announcement to the media. A press release is a key tool for public relations professionals. This type of document has a highly defined style and format, and in a nut shell answers the basic questions of those who might be interested in the particular subject- who, what, where, when, and why. Using traditional PR efforts to reach both online and other media outlets in order to obtain free editorial coverage is a powerful way to reach potential customers. Press releases can be distributed to the media (such as newspapers, magazines, radio news outlets, television news outlets, and online publications) via U.S. Mail, fax or e-mail. Once you have a press release announcing your business (or some other news worthy event relating to your business), your goal is to get it in the hands of the editors. To help you compile your own customized media list, consider visiting the Web sites sponsored by Editor & Publisher (http://www.medianinfo.com), Media Online Yellow Pages (www.webcom.com), or the National Press Club (npc.press.org). Broadcast Interview Source (www.yearbooknews.com,) publishes a variety of phone numbers, addresses, fax numbers and e-mail addresses of writers, reporters, producers, editors, and radio elevision hosts. The Gebbie Press's All In One Directory (www.gebbieinc.com) lists contacts of 23,000 people from TV and radio stations, newspapers, African American and Hispanic Media, news syndicates, networks, and AP/UPI bureaus. Other media directories published by: Bacon's Media Directories (www.baconsinfo.com) Burelle's Media Directories (www.burrelles.com). In an article by John Hewitt (www.azstarnet.com) , before sending out any press release make sure you: 1.Know who to send it to, not just where. Find out who the editor or reporter is for the section you want your release to appear in. 2. Only send the release to one person per news outlet. Any problems that develop from duplicate coverage and effort will be blamed on you. 3.Don't just send press releases- call the editor or writer directly. If you want your release covered, call the person before sending the release, and a couple of days later to make sure they received it. Just don't become a pest. 4.Know your deadlines. Magazines, even weekly ones, are often planned months in advance. Seasonal events, such as Christmas and Easter, are a great example of this For calendar items, know the news outlet's deadline for the section. 5. Keep it short and informative. Reporters and editors are notoriously busy. Most press releases should be kept to one page. Two is acceptable. If they want more information, they'll ask. 6.Write in a news style. That means putting the prime information (who, where, what and when) into the lead (first paragraph). It also means keeping the sales pitch subtle. No exclamation points!!! Many papers will directly reprint a press release, as long as it is written in a professional news style. Use short words and sentences. Make sure what you're saying is very clear. 7.Always include, at the top corner of every page, a two- or three-word description of the story, the name and phone number of key contact people (no more than two), the page number ( if there us more than one page) and the release date (usually ""For Immediate Release""; otherwise "" Please hold until xx/xx/xx""). 8.End a press release with ### typed across the center margin a couple lines below the end of your text. If a release is continued on another page, type- ""-more-"" at the bottom of the page in the center. 9.Use standard 8 ½"" x 11"" paper typed on one side only. Never break a paragraph across two pages. Leave plenty of margins for editors to write notes-an inch and a half all around should be fine. 10.Bright Idea; Whenever you distribute a press release, also post the release somewhere on your Web site, under the heading ""Corporate Information,"" ""Company Background,"" or ""Press Releases.""

About the author: Jean Melconian is the owner of WebTrans International, Inc., International trade resources and logistics are available at: http://www.webcargo.net.

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