press release


Attract Journalists with this Press Release Template

When I was a reporter, I received a lot of press releases. To be honest, I didn’t read many. More on why here, but for the purpose of this blog post, I’m going to teach you how to write a press release and even share a sample press release. [Tweet theme=”tweet-box-shadow”]Journalists have no interest in giving you a free #commercial. They need to tell a #story.[/Tweet] Before you even get started, remember journalists have no interest in giving you a free commercial. They need to tell a story, that means your press release
  1. Must be interesting and relevant to capture their attention and the attention of their audience
  2. Has to be different and include aspects that are new to the journalist and his or her audience

Press Release Template

1. Headline

When it comes to getting your press release read, this is a deal maker or a deal breaker. I compare it to the importance of an email subject line in a busy inbox. Keep your headline short, sweet, and interesting to focus people’s attention on your top line message and stand out.

2. Get to the point

Journalists are busy, so you need to tell them right away why they should care about your news. The first paragraph of your press release should cover the who, what, when, where, why, and how.

3. Add some color with a quote

You should add a quote or two for two reasons:
  1. It adds details to your story that can bring in the emotional element to the facts in the first paragraph.
  2. Some journalists will copy and paste the press release, so you want to be thorough and include everything a journalist needs to tell the story.

5. Provide Additional Newsworthy Information

As you finish, remember you’ve already outlined the most important information. Now, it’s time to offer unique, newsworthy details. You can also tease to the future if your press release warrants it.

6. The Boilerplate

This is the short “about me” section of the press release at the bottom. I like to keep it to two or three sentences. [Tweet theme=”tweet-box-shadow”]While I’m not a big fan of #pressreleases, sometimes a #journalist will ask for one after an initial pitch.[/Tweet] While I’m not a big fan of press releases, sometimes a journalist will ask for one after an initial pitch. Also, if you use a press release distribution service, it can help your SEO.

Sample Press Release

how-to-write-a-press-release sample-press-release-format
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6 Reasons I Hate Press Releases

Yes, I own a public relations firm… and I hate press releases. Sounds crazy, right? Well, I spent almost a decade deleting them, so there’s that. When I was looking to leave the TV business and start working at a public relations firm, so many wouldn’t hire me because I didn’t have any PR agency experience. I would say, “No, I don’t, but I do have experience deleting just about everything you’ve ever sent me. Would you like to know why?” Honestly, not one of them wanted to know why… but they still continued to send me terrible press releases in an attempt to earn their clients publicity. So, here are 6 reasons I hate press releases: bad-press-releases

No one was putting themselves in my shoes.

I’m the reporter. I’m the one you want to cover the story, so put yourself in my shoes. Is it what I usually cover? No. Does it pertain to the area I cover? No. So you’re sending it to me why? Because it’s what you should do?

It wasn’t newsworthy.

Most press releases I received basically screamed, “Please, give my client a free commercial! There is nothing really newsworthy here, but I need to get this on TV!” Unless the news day is so, so, so very slow… local TV news doesn’t do free commercials. Instead, educate me. Entertain me. At least attempt to make it newsworthy! There’s gotta be a story in there somewhere. In addition, why should I do your story when I’m one of dozens, if not hundreds getting this exact same press release?

They are just too long.

Do you know how many press releases news outlets and journalists get in a single day?! It’s a lot. You’d be shocked! If you don’t keep it short and sweet and get to the point, all your time and energy writing that press release was wasted.

It said “Press Release” in the subject line.

That = automatic deletion. Seriously, you could have the solution to all of the worlds problems in that press release. With that subject line, no one will read it.

It said “Breaking News” in the subject line…

and was about an art show… the same day a mass shooting occurred. This not only gets you deleted, but shamed and embarrassed in the newsroom and in online industry groups. I’ve seen it. As a journalist, I laughed. As someone in the PR industry, please stop. You are embarrassing me.

It didn’t give me what I needed, when I needed it.

If I’m in TV, what would I do with high resolution pictures or quotes? Nothing. I need an interview… and not a Skype interview. An in person interview… and that person better be available from the second you send me that press release. If I ever responded to a press release, this was a follow up problem. In TV, we do things the day of. Unless it’s a special report, the story is started and finished within hours, so don’t send me something to cover, then tell me to wait because you aren’t ready. You just lost your chance. With that said, I don’t think all press releases are pointless. I bet everyone jumps at the chance to read one from Apple. I would. They put out some pretty good stuff. I still write press releases for clients. I definitely think they have a time and a place, but I do not believe press releases should be a go-to thing each and every time you want to reach out to the media. Many PR pros do. In my opinion, #1-#6 is how not to write a press release. free-media For more on how I can help you grow your business, whether it be through a strategic press release or pitch, please e-mail me at… or you can check this out! Sign up for my online course to learn how you can by doing PR yourself. Click here to master your PR.
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