Crafting a Powerful Press Release

If you really want to grab an editor's attention, these 8 tips will help ensure your news is really worthy.

So you wrote what you thought was a great press release. But youhaven't seen any results and are wondering why. Here's aquestion for you. Was your news truly worthy of the media'sattention? If you're not sure--and you plan to keeptrying--here are eight ways to make sure your business news getscovered.

1. Get the angle right. Take time to find an angle--ahook--and use it to grab the media's attention. If your newsonly supports a local angle, don't send the press release tonational media. If your press release is about Asian food,don't send it to a publication focused on Mexican cuisineunless you've got a hook that relates the two.

2. Be the first. If you're the first of your kind--oryour product is the first of its kind--you've got built-innewsworthiness. That's exactly what Visionaire Products, aChicago-based manufacturing company, had when the company createdthe PeterPotty, a flushable toddler urinal. The company was the first todeliver this toilet training tool made exclusively for boys. As aresult, the Peter Potty was featured in The Wall StreetJournal and The New York Times and on HGTV.

3. Be truly new. If you claim your product or service isnew, be ready to prove it. Do your research and provide facts,figures and other evidence to validate your claim of newness.Reporters are trained to sniff out hype, so make sure you reallyare new or you'll blow your credibility with the media.

4. Be different. Be unique and stand out from the crowdof other businesses like yours. Indicate how you're differentfrom everyone else doing the same thing. Do you operate in a uniqueway or offer a distinctive service? As with being the first andbeing new, be sure to do your research and offer evidence thatsupports your claim of uniqueness. Maybe your housecleaning servicealso offers to do your client's laundry. Or maybe your clothingstore offers babysitting for busy moms as they shop. Whatever itis, point it out.

5. Be beneficial. When it comes to product or servicebenefits, your release should tell the media two things: 1) how theproduct or service will benefit its audience and 2) how coveringyour story will benefit them. Discuss the benefits of yourproduct or service in detail. Tell how you meet a growing need.Provide supporting facts and statistics, and share stories ofsuccess.

6. Be timely. Above anything else, make sure your news istimely. Can you link your news to what's going on in the worldnow? Does your news relate to a hot topic, emerging trend orcurrent event? Remember, old news is no news, so don't sendoutdated press releases. If you're trying to get more mileagefrom an old press release, find a way to make it fresh by making ittimely. A wedding planner who put out a press release with tips forspring weddings might want to send it out again in the fall withtips for creating a fall-themed reception.

7. Create a tie-in. Connect your news to the news of theday. Holidays, seasons, special events and special occasions makefor easy to create tie-ins. Travel agents, for instance, can submitpress releases on honeymoon hotspots and trends when the springwedding season begins to heat up. Florists are great at this,creating campaigns around all the major holidays, includingValentine's Day, Mother's Day, graduation andThanksgiving.

8. Be informative. Provide news that gives audiencesvaluable information. Include statistics and quotes from reliablesources and experts. Offering tips is a great way to beinformative. For example, an accountant can offer advice on savingbusiness receipts for tax time. Or an auto shop can offer achecklist of maintenance tips to get your car ready for summertrips.

Ayana Glaze is an Atlanta-based freelance copywriterand consultant who offers tips on writing and marketing in hermonthly newsletter, The Copywriter's Closet. She alsocoaches PR do-it-yourselfers at

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