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Professional Press Release Tips

Nov 7, 2007
Stop the presses! Or at least put them on hold because you've got something to say and you want the world to hear it. But how do you present your big story to the media without being ignored? A press release is a written or recorded statement to the media for the purpose of proclaiming some newsworthy story, but how should it be formatted and what should it contain? This article will walk you though some of the terminology so you can write effective releases that will, as you may have guessed, stop the presses.

The first important thing to realize about a press release is that you're not submitting a finished story. Finished stories are what journalists do, and the job of a press release is to catch a journalist's attention. A press release is an entirely different thing from a news article. While a news article is a grouping of facts, developed by journalists and published in the news media, a press release (also called a news release) is sent to journalists to entice them into developing an article on the subject you've submitted.

So what does that tell you about your press release? It simply has to sell the idea of a story to a journalist. You have to show your story is newsworthy, something that will interest the journalist's audience. As you may have guessed, your press release can't be a sales letter for your newest product or service disguised as a release. Such a thing might be considered the journalistic equivalent of spam and the media can recognize these veiled sales letters a mile away. You need to show the human interest behind your story, the benefit to the reader, and of course the benefit to the journalist for developing the story into an article.

So now that you've got all that in hand, how do you format your press release? Here is a list of the major elements of a professional press release:

1. Headline: Grabs the attention of journalists and briefly summarizes the news.
2. Dateline: Contains the release date and usually the originating city of the news.
3. Introduction: First paragraph in a press release giving basic answers to the questions: who, what, when, where and why.
4. Body: Further explanation, statistics, background, or other relevant details.
5. Boilerplate: A short "about" section with background on the issuing company, organization, or individual.
6. Media Contact Information: Name, phone number, email address, mailing address, or other contact information for the PR or other media relations contact person.

If you include these elements and make your story sound truly newsworthy, your press release will establish you as a professional and help you gain the respect of the media and get more visitors. Without these important elements, your hard work is likely become nothing more than wastepaper basket fodder.
About the Author
Steve Renner is a well known author and Internet Marketing Expert. Get your FREE Million Dollar Secrets Report at http://www.steverenner.com
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