New releases, also called press releases, are the most important selling tool of publicity. The release must capture the editors attention, be precise and easy to read.
A news release can go to just one newspaper or many publications at once. It can be a community notice about an organization's library sale or an international insight into inflation.
The same standard form is used for every type of news, whether an executive promotion in the trade magazines, or a local event such as an author signing books at a neighborhood bookstore.
If you want your notice to get into a special edition of a publication, be aware of deadlines. Sunday news editions generally have more readers than daily editions. Find out when your release must be received at the editor's desk.
Never mix publicity with advertising. If your newspaper features specific business in special industry supplements, you may be chosen because you advertise. But otherwise, editors frown on any releases that merely imitate advertising and are not newsworthy.
Don't embarrass yourself by sending anything that is not worthy of being printed in the publication as news. Not only will your release be thrown away, but you will destroy any chance you had for subsequent releases with that editor.
Writing the Release
Keep the news release to one page. Type it clearly, double spaced, and never send it with typographical errors. Since the release might be published exactly as it is received, be sure the copy is professional and worthy of the publication.
At the top left, put your name, address, phone number and email address where you can be reached at during business hours. In full capital letters at the right, type ‘FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE’ or for release on or after a certain date.
Use a headline appropriate to the event or topic, and keep it short - just like the newspaper headings. Capitalize the letters and under-line the headline.
Start the copy with a dateline, which is the city and date. Then write the rest within a few paragraphs. Include the important information in the standard who, what, when, where. Use good English, but don't run on with unimportant adjectives or boring information. You can capitalize the first letters of the important events such as Public Auction or the name of your new product.
Include a personal letter to the editor. Be cordial, but keep it short. If your product is convenient to mail, you may send a sample, if the editor is amenable.
Watch the publications and clip the printed publicity yourself. Never ask the publication to send you a copy.
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