First the bad news. Journalists receive hundreds of emails and countless press releases every day and spend seconds reading a press release before passing judgement.
Now the good news. There are some simple and effective tips you can use to make your story stand out from the crowd.
So today’s article highlights the importance of making sure your story stands out from the crowd to give it the very best chance of receiving the maximum possible media coverage.
The second instalment of ‘Stand out from the crowd’ will appear this Thursday, so stay tuned!
Take a few seconds and click on to the BBC news website and take a look at the headlines. How many words do most contain? Six or possibly seven, sometimes even less.
Granted, these are written by some of the best journalists in the world but the point is that a headline should be punchy and grab the attention of the reader, without leaving them guessing what the story is all about.
Your headline should do the same. First impressions count and this is your opportunity to make an editor or reporter want to read more.
Journalists are trained that an introduction should be 30 words MAXIMUM.
The purpose of an introduction is to explain the story, to briefly spell out what it’s all about.
While it might not be possible to summarise everything, ie, what, where, when, why and how, it should at the very least summarise the main points.
Also remember that if you can make the job of an editor as easy as possible for them, ie by preparing a well-constructed and succinct introduction which they don’t have to decipher, then they are more likely to look favourably on your contribution.
Body of the text
With the introduction out of the way, attention turns next to constructing the body of the text.
While there’s no hard-and-fast rule, if it is possible try and restrict the word count to about 250 or 300 words.
Using quotes gives it a human face, and even better, third party quotes give extra endorsement. Supporting facts provide evidence, so include where possible.
Stories are normally chopped from the bottom up, so make sure all the important information is towards the top of the release.
It’s who you know
Spend a few minutes researching the right contacts to send your press release to. A quick call to a newspaper or publication to identify the appropriate person could pay dividends so your story doesn’t get lost.
Finally, try and avoid sending it to a generic email address such as news@newspaper……
Next instalment on ‘Stand out from the crowd’ this Thursday.
For more information about a free one-hour PR audit for your business, or more guidance on how to ‘Stand out from the crowd’, please email firstname.lastname@example.org