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Definition: A public relations announcement issued to the news media and other targeted publications for the purpose of letting the public know of company developments .
Think of a press release as your ticket to publicity--one that can get your company coverage in publications or on TV and radio stations. Editors and reporters get hundreds of press releases a day. So how can you make yours stand out?
First, be sure you have a reason for sending a press release. A grand opening, a new product or a special event are all good reasons.
Second, make sure your press release is targeted for the publication or broadcast you're sending it to. The editor of Road & Track is not going to be interested in the baby pacifier you invented. It sounds obvious, but many entrepreneurs make the mistake of sending press releases without considering a publication's audience.
To ensure readability, your press release should follow the standard format: typed, double-spaced, on white letterhead with a contact person's name, title, company, address and phone number in the upper right-hand corner. Below this information, put a brief, eye-catching headline in bold type. A dateline--for example, "Los Angeles, California, April 10, 2006"--follows, leading into the first sentence of the release.
Limit your press release to one or two pages at most. It should be just long enough to cover the six basic elements: who, what, when, where, why and how. The answers to these six questions should be mentioned in order of their importance to the story.
Don't embellish or hype the information. Remember, you are not writing the article; you are merely presenting the information and showing why it's relevant to that publication in hopes they'll write about it. Pay close attention to grammar and spelling. Competition is intense, and a press release full of typos is more likely to get tossed aside.
ome business owners use gimmicks to get their press releases noticed. In most cases, this is a waste of money. If you release is well-written and relevant, you don't need a singing telegram to get your message across.
If you have the money to invest, you may want to send out a press kit, a folder containing a cover letter, press release, your business card and photos. You can also include any other information that will convince reporters your business is newsworthy: reprints of articles other publications have written about your business, product reviews or background information on the company and its principals. If you send out a press kit, make sure it's sharp and professional-looking and that all graphic elements tie in with your company's logo and image.