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Writing Press Releases

The Surefire Way to Write News Releases that Get Published
by Paul J Krupin


I just returned from speaking at the National Public Relations Society
meetings in Omaha.  I found out by the way that most big PR firms don't
have a real clue about using the Internet and E-Mail to get news coverage.

Most of the people who come to me initially write detailed book reviews or
commercial news and web site announcements, not short articles intended to attract editors attention and get published. I often have to tell them to
start over or shift gears.

A lot has to do with the content and quality of the book, product service or
web site, but let's just assume that you've written the be all and end all
in your field.  This is the ultimate sensation.  The only thing anyone will
ever need or want.  You're all charged up and rearing to go.  Now what...

A Publicity Plan!


First, establish your goals for the release.  Write them down.  Memorize
them.  Sleep on it.  Wake up and think about them some more.

Remember you have to integrate your marketing with your PR and keep it all
within your budget.

Let's assume your goal is getting the word out about your product.  Could be
an initial announcement, or part of a year long monthly campaign to a well
targeted media list.  You've got your schedule and this month your task is
at hand.  You want to get an article published in as many places as
possible, to feed sales, acquire name recognition, drive web traffic, all
the above, or whatever.  These are common goals. You can be more specific, and this will narrow your options and tighten the true alternatives you wish to seriously consider.  Think strategically.  Narrow the goals and keep it as simple as can be.

What ever your specific publicity goals, you need to be mindful of the types
of news releases that get published.  Last April, I  completed a qualitative
quarterly review of our custom news distribution and the relative success people have been having in getting published as a result of
sending fax and e-mail news releases.  While this is by no means definitive,
it is nonetheless useful.

[The complete report is posted at the following web site: ]

We've seen one page releases sent to targeted media lists result in
successful publicity for book authors, publishing companies, product firms,
and government agencies. Here's what appears to be working the best:

* human interest angles -- particularly with heartwarming anecdotal stories

* interpersonal relationships on difficult or controversial issues -- focus
on love, sex, money, communications between men and women, parents and
children, companies, and employees, government and individuals,

* tips articles - advice and tactics excerpted from books, ten
commandments, ten tips, etc.

* unusual events -- unique personal accomplishments, unusual creative ideas

* humor and wisdom, fun and tragedy

* really new and unique products or books -- Internet innovations and

* politically and socially important editorial tie - in articles

* holiday and event tie in articles

At least in my humble opinion, for those of you writing news releases or
seeking publicity, your chances of success are likely to be increased if you
follow one of these formats:

Localizing news releases maximizes the publication of your release in weekly
and daily newspapers.   The easiest publicity to get is the announcement of
a local event with a distinct local human interest angle.

National publicity is harder, especially in mainstream publications.  You
compete against everyone in the nation, and you have to distinguish why your
release is worth publishing over others.

You can make your job easier and be more successful by breaking your
national media lists into geographically distinct areas and localizing the

You can create custom media lists on the Internet at the Internet to Media
Fax site at:

Even once you've identified you target media, settled on a type of news
release, it all comes down to writing the actual release.  Assuming you are
aiming at print (radio/tv releases are a different animal) -- here's my
advice.  Bottom line -- find out what works specifically in the media you
want to be in.

The Identify, Imitate and Innovate Technique

Go to a news stand, and pick up the latest issues of every relevant magazine
or publication you can find.  The ones you want to be in.  Spend at least
$50.  Then dissect each magazine for book articles.  Use yellow stickies, or
cut these out and make a scrapbook.   Study the publications closely and see how they write book articles and reviews. Make a list of the headlines.
Study the style, length, focus, content, word choice.

Then start writing by imitating the articles you see.  Remember most of the
small articles (which are the easiest to get published) are one page -- 200

Then Innovate it.  Re-write it fifteen times.  Make it Short and Snappy.
Vary the character of your news release to the media you are aiming at.

You've written the end all of all books in the field.  This is the ultimate
sensation.  The only book anyone will ever need.  Now tell people why in 200 words.  Read it out loud as if you were live on the air -- see if it sounds

By the way, good short articles in newspapers and magazines are often read on radio stations and on talk shows every day, especially on morning radio talk shows.  This has happened to me.  Listen closely when it happens.

There's lots of free information about writing news releases available on
the net, and more every day.   Here is a short excerpt of some of the links
at my Imediafax site under the title of  "On-Line Helpful Articles on
Writing Press" Releases.

These are not necessarily in any order of preference or priority.  One of
the best articles here is by our own Shel Horowitz.

Enjoy  -- but be careful  -- it'll kill several hours if you indulge
yourself in all these articles and web sites.
How to Contact The Los Angeles Times
Guidelines for Press Releases for the Los Angeles Times
Common Press Release Mistakes
Guidelines for Press Releases for the Los Angeles Times
Pet Peeves of the Press by Jack Olmsted, Editor-Investigative Digital
Journalist, of Future Media Organization
Lessons for PR Do-It-Yourselfers
Tips for Getting Mileage from your News Releases By Gwen Carden
The Care and Feeding of The Press by Esther Schindler, for the Internet
Press Guild
How to make most of e-mail releases By Eric Ward
Press Release Tips for PR People by Andrew Kantor, Senior Editor, Internet
Press Releases ARE Free Publicity By Anne Palumbo
The Well-Tempered Press Release by Daniel P. Dern
The Media in Cyberspace III: A NATIONAL SURVEY by Steven S. Ross and Don Middleberg
A Publicity Primer by Kirk Hallahan
How to Send Press Releases to the Desktop Journal News
World Wide Web Guide to Publicity by Colin Carr
14 Tips for Sending Effective Press Releases by John Hewitt
How to Get the Press on Your Side by Shel Horowitz.
PR Tips -- Are you plugged into the press? from Profile Public Relation,
Great Britain
How to Attract Journalists to Your Web Site by Craig Settles
MEET THE MEDIA A Guide to Successful Interviews -- University of California
at Irvine Communications Office
GETTING YOUR MESSAGE ACROSS Media Tips for Parent Groups from New York
State Citizens' Coalition for Children
Lessons for PR Do-It-Yourselfers -- PR Web -- PR Coach
Learn How You Can Write A Killer Press Release The Way
Media People Want Them Written  by Dr. Paul Hartunian
Getting the Word Out with PR  by Kim M. Bayne, wolfBayne Communications
Tips on writing a news release for the gay media   By Rex Rivers,
Electronic Gay Community Magazine
Writing a Press Release The Pensacola News Journal
Writing the News Release-a Brief Guide  by Merry Bruns
Copy Editing For Magazines  By Mindy McAdams
World Wide Web Virtual Library: Journalism  -- John Makulowich, Editor
Ten Commandments for Sending E-Mail to the Media

Paul Krupin also runs several media list and news distribution services -
mainly for the US media - which can be found at: Internet to Media Fax Service The US All Media E-Mail Directory Direct Contact News Wire   The All Media Jumpstation US Congressional Fax Service

Paul can be contacted by email at:

This article appeared in "Writerfind News" ,  an ezine for professional writers and publishers which focuses on the internet. Subscribe at 

�, 1999, 2000.