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  • How to Write a Press Release

    The most basic tool used in generating publicity is the press release. A press release is a news report you write to tell the world about things you, your employees or your shop are doing. Releases are customarily one or two pages long, typed and double-spaced. They are sent to editors at any and all media outlets that might have an interest in sharing your news with their readers or audiences, experts say.

    Because they are written for consumption first by news editors, it is wise to write releases in a journalistic style — meaning, you cut right to the chase with your opening sentence rather than build to a climax at the end, and avoid flowery language and exaggerated claims. (You can present your news in a what-where-when-who-how-and-why bullet-point format.)

    Experts caution that releases must not read like a blatant advertisement for your shop, although submitting them on store letterhead is acceptable. In any case, make sure your name and phone number appear at the top of each release so that editors know how to reach you.

    You can improve the chances of getting your press release published if you include a photograph. The photo must relate in some way to the main point raised in the press release. The photo also must be of good quality. Newspaper editors usually prefer black-and-white pictures, printed on 5-by-7-inch glossy paper; TV editors customarily prefer color slides.

    Press releases can be sent by mail, fax, Internet or hand-delivered, experts say. Most important is that you send releases to the right editors at the right media outlets. If you're not sure who the right editor is, call the news outlet in question.

    Plan to follow up with editors by phone a few days after sending a release. Tell them you're calling to verify receipt, but you also can use the occasion to ascertain their interest in using the release and to offer further information or help arrange interviews, if warranted.



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