News Releases Should Be Bright and Brief
That crackling and clicking sound you hear in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake and across the nation is the sound of paper being crumpled and the delete button being hit by busy reporters and editors quickly clearing their enormous workloads of long, unclear news releases.
Every business or public relations agency that writes a press release longer than one page will soon find they've stepped in it. How will they know? Their competition keeps getting the media coverage, and they keep making the excuses.
There are many formats to press releases -- TV, radio, blog, web site, consumer, and more -- but this PR tip will cover press releases to newspapers.
The most important thing to understand about your news release has nothing to do with your news release. It has to do with understanding who you're sending it to -- the reporter or editor.
A busy, overworked reporter on a daily deadline has no time to sift through your two-page news release, especially when your main point is buried on page two.
Your boss may really like the press release because it talks about all the wonderful things the company is doing or is about to do. Your client may really like it because you've included every detail under the sun that they think is important. But the person in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, or Chesapeake who decides what's a story and what isn't, does not have the time or inclination to read your brag sheet.
Understand a reporter's world and you'll understand how to write your press releases.
Good news releases:
- Respect a reporter's time. You exert the effort so they don't have to.
- Have a headline that quickly and clearly tells your story.
- Get to the point in a single page or less. Take the rest of the information and create a background or tip sheet. When the reporter asks for more information, it's already prepared.
- Pique a reporter's interest; don't tell the entire story. The reporter will write the story. They don't need a public relations agency doing it for them.
- Shouldn't be about turning 25 years old, holding a fundraiser, launching a new product, or opening a new location. If you want to announce that, buy an ad. Reporters will not find this newsworthy. Do some digging, ask some questions and find something unique in that 25-year history, or about your upcoming yearly event. Your angle could be about a huge obstacle overcome, the evolution of a product, a twist of fate -- something emotive, amazing, interesting. There's always an intriguing story behind the story if you take the time to dig for it and craft it into a pitch. It should take the reporter less than 15 seconds to say, yes, my readers will find that interesting, important, or entertaining.
- Are written from the reporter's shoes, not the boss'.
- Contain contact information at the beginning and the ending so a reporter can quickly make a phone call or send an email to the public relations professional who sent it.
- Never have a company logo on it. Reporters are not in business to promote your business. They report newsworthy items. Making your news release look like an advertisement is a quick way to miss out on some outstanding media coverage.
How long were your last five news releases? Did each generate media coverage in Virginia Beach, Norfolk or Chesapeake?
About Rourk Public Relations
The Rourk Public Relations agency is expert at media relations, branding, marketing, government relations, political consulting, SEO, web marketing, and web design. It contributes effective PR and Marketing work to a wide range of clients in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Hampton, Newport News, Hampton Roads, and throughout Virginia.
For a no-cost phone consultation, feel free to call David Rourk at (757) 478-0150.