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Writing A Press Release

The press release is the most common communication tool used in PR efforts.

The press release is the most common communication tool used in PR efforts. It is an informational letter describing a newsworthy fact about your company. Written correctly, the press release can be very effective in promoting your business. Also, unlike advertising, which can be very expensive, magazines and newspapers do not charge for editorial coverage. That means you pay only for the cost of postage (and photography, if you choose to include a photograph).

Of course, editors receive many press releases, and there is no guarantee that yours will be printed. Therefore, you must try to make your release stand out from the crowd. How? Be professional. Remember these tips when issuing a press release:

1. Keep your target audience in mind. The worst thing you can do is to inundate all publications on your mailing list with the same press release. Research the publications first. Make sure you tailor your release to their respective markets.

2. Start with the most important information. Publications rarely run press releases word for word. Editors usually cut from the bottom up, so make certain you've included all the necessary facts in the opening paragraphs. (See "Checklist For Success" in the March 1997 issue of Business Start-Ups.)

3. Keep it factual. The fastest way to diminish your credibility is to put gushing, biased copy in your press release. Editors want the facts, not your opinion.

4. Make sure it's news. Editors want to create publications that are interesting to their audiences. Find the angle. Is your company new, unique or unusual? Tell them how running your release can benefit their readers.

5. Photos help. Editors love photos. Supply a caption, identifying any individuals pictured, and type it on a separate sheet of paper. (Never write on the back of a photograph.)

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