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3 Important Parts of an Attention Grabbing Press Release

Jun 30, 2008
Most people seem to believe they can write a press release, mail or email it to a radio or television station, and sit back and wait for the avalanche of phone calls. But as time passes and no producers are beating down the door, they make a few phone calls only to discover that no one even read the release.

The following are components of radio and TV press releases that will make your show idea come to life for producers and hosts, and also position you ahead of the pack.

1. Headline! Headline? HEADLINE!!!

Arguably the most important aspect of your press release, headlines are so vital that entire books and seminars are dedicated to the art of constructing the most effective ones. Now, don't let this scare you. Writing a killer headline is definitely a skill that can be developed; all you need is a clear and concise overview of your topic.

Write down your show idea and look it over. Now look it over again, remembering that it should be an idea for an interview that relates to your book but most definitely not a summary of the book's theme or content.

What is your key message? Is your show idea newsworthy? Are there any well-known people you can tie into your topic? Do you have any impressive statistics that are relevant? Does anything controversial tie directly into your subject? The answers to these questions will help you develop a headline that will capture the attention of producers and hosts.

First and foremost, your headline must instantly communicate the topic of the show. The test is, if you can envision what the conversation will be about just from the headline - you've got it!

Generally, headlines should be no longer than one sentence. As this is a lot of weight to put on a single sentence, sometimes you will need a subhead to support it. The result is that anyone who reads the headline and subhead together will immediately click on the concept of the show.

Here are two examples of the successful headline and subhead combination:

Global Economic Chaos?
Expert Reveals Predictions on Grim Future of US Economy

Are Personal Conflicts Ruining Your Life?
How to Successfully Resolve Squabbles in Everyday Life

2. Topic Summary

This is your chance to present a concise summary of your show topic. It should continue naturally from the headline and expand on it. The headline gets the attention, and the discussion topic gives the reader more.

The discussion topic component of your press release should be two or three sentences, tops. Again, try to tie your topic to current events, big names, big money, or controversy. Don't be worried about repeating yourself in different sections of the press release. After all, you want to get a cohesive point across! Tip: Try writing the headline and topic summary together.

Here is an example of a headline with a topic summary.

Global Economic Chaos?
Expert Reveals Predictions on Grim Future of US Economy

The United States is about to move into a period of major economic chaos and poverty that will wake up people to overthrow the rule of money in society in a ballot-box revolution. Let an internationally renowned expert reveal predictions on the grim future of our economy.

3. Talking Points/Question

These are an absolute must for radio and TV because they are the shaping tools that guide the host through your topic. Often, hosts read directly from press releases during an interview. This not only makes them look knowledgeable; it saves them heaps of time. So why not have them ask you questions you've created, enabling you to get your specific message heard? This makes you look knowledgeable and makes for a great interview!

Yet again, you will need to tie in current events and any controversy that will stir interest. Generally, it is good to give no more than 7 or 10 of these conversation shapers. For instance, here are a few questions that were used in a release for a radio show on "How to Find the Perfect Pet for Your Lifestyle":

* What are the primary reasons people decide to get a pet?

* What criteria should people follow when choosing a pet to make sure it fits into their lifestyle?

* What can families do ahead of time to determine what type of pet is best for them?

* How can families prepare children for the responsibility of caring for a pet?

* What are some of the things people need to consider before adopting a puppy or other young animal?

If you do get invited as a guest, your interviews will generally last anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes for talk radio and 3 to 5 minutes for TV. So, concise is a word you should keep in the forefront of your mind.

Remember: The more you focus your questions on the topic of your book, the more interested listeners will be in it.
About the Author
For 20 years Marsha Friedman has been a leading authority on public relations as CEO of EMSI. Go to http://www.publicitythatworks.com to claim your free "Power of Public Relations" video today!
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