Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Six Steps to Writing a Good Press Release

By Charles Kagethe (c) Copyright 2004

How To Get FREE Publicity Whenever You Want !
What you are about to read is a step by step guide to getting FREE publicity. Simply, this is advertising that costs nothing, yet can bring in regular and substantial orders for your products and services. Regardless of the business you're in, you always want publicity for your products and services. After all it is "free advertising" essential to the growth of your business. However for maximum effect your publicity campaign must be well thought out and pre-planned.This article shows you a step by step approach to getting FREE advertising through your publicity campaigns.

Step 1 Targeting
You must determine beforehand where you intend to conduct your publicity campaign.Which of the following are you targeting :
Printed Mass Circulation Media
Internet Publications
Trade Shows
Other (e.g. Industry publications)

Step 2 Cover Note
Write a Cover Note to the main decision makers. The cover note should be short, no more than 100 - 150 words. Explain why your article is news and why it will appeal to readers. For example – If you offer people business opportunities, you could write a brief explanation of what your business opportunity is about. (Tell the editor what this opportunity is about.) This business opportunity is aimed at people trying to achieve financial freedom. It is also useful for those already in business, who want to build multiple income streams. (Tell the editor who it is aimed at)This will be of real value and interest to your readers. (Tell the editor his readers will find it of benefit)Please review and if you need any more information contactme at....(Ask the editor for action)If you intend to send the publicity material by snail mail, print the cover note on good quality, pastel colored paper. Blue or Ivory works well.Make sure your cover note is addressed to a named decision maker.In general for newspapers this will be the City or News editor, for Radio and TV it will be the News Director and for all publications the Managing Director.

Step 3 Presentation and layout of the Publicity Release.
The Publicity Release is a short article no longer than 500 words. The layout of the article is critical. Make sure you have about one inch in margin at the top and bottom of the page. Allow one and a half inches margin around the left and right edges of the page. In the top margin write in capitals PRESS RELEASE and DATE. Set the date a day or two forward of your posting date if you intend to send the publicity release by post. This ensures the date is current when your release is opened. If you are sending the release out by e-mail, set the date to the date you send the mail out. Skip a line or two and then write in capitals FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Finally in the bottom margin write in capitals FOR MORE INFORMATION followed by your name and contact details.

Step 4 Writing the Press Release.
The Press Release uses the same techniques of copy writing as you would use in writing a sales letter or an advert. Always write as you would to an individual. Make the article personal and connected to the reader. Don't forget that the first reader you have to get past is the editor or news director. Therefore keep the idea of new and news at the front of your mind as you write. Quickly and clearly show why your article is new or news. What sets it apart from other stories running in the publication ? Describe how it helps the readers in a different, unique, cheaper, quicker or any other way.Above all bring out why your story is of benefit to the editor's readers. If he cannot identify the benefits you bring, he will not use your story !

Step 5 What you need to know about news editors and directors.
The first is they are very busy people. They literally have thousands of things to do and they have to make many and quick decisions often on limited information.The second is they know why you are writing to them. They know you are looking for free publicity.What does this mean for you ?Firstly, your Press Release must quickly and clearly point out the benefits of your product. There is no room for fluff or padding. Get to the point quickly.Secondly, do not write about yourself, your opinions, or views, in the article. If the editor decides to use your copy, he will contact you for a biography. Stick to the facts about the news item. Thirdly, never round on an editor demanding why your Release was not used, or used in a different format. This will get your name marked and future submissions from you will be binned un-opened. Treat editors with respect, after all they are giving you access for FREE to huge circulations, and they will treat you with equal respect. If you take the time to learn what the editor and his readers want, and if you provide it in a readily useable format, then you will get your Publicity Releases published more often than not.

Step 6 Timing the Press Release.
For some products and services, particularly seasonal ones you need to ensure your releases are sent at the appropriate time. For instance if you offer garden and landscaping services and products, you might want to time the Press Release for Spring. You might also be in a business where you create products for your market at short notice. Here you might tailor your releases and products to general events in the news spotlight. For instance when employment slowdown in the economy is a "livewire" news item you might send out a Release on your Resume Writing service. One final kind of timing to keep in mind is publication or broadcast deadline. Make sure you find out when the deadlines are and work towards getting your Release in before that cut off. Creating well written, properly laid out Press Releases is the best possible way of getting FREE publicity and advertising on a massive scale. What would it mean if you could double or triple the visitors and customers to your web site ? Write your first press release this month and once you are a published author, see how your business fortunes change for the better

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