How to Write Press Releases that Get Published
By Paul Krupin
Do you want to know the secret of writing a news release that will get published? Here it is:
My secret for publicity success, developed from rigorous self assessment, after having sent out over a million faxed news
releases on behalf of over 2,000 clients:
"Tell me a story, give me a local news angle, touch my heart (make me laugh or cry), hit me in my pocketbook, make my stomach
turn over, or grab my gonads."
Do this as many times as possible in a one page news release in 30 seconds or less and you will succeed in getting publicity.
A few years ago I spoke at the National Public Relations Society meetings in Omaha. I found out that most publicists at most big
PR firms don't have a real clue about how to write a news release to get news coverage. They write corporate fluff.
Rarely do you see them create something that makes an editor drop what heís doing and pick up the phone and call. And yet
this is what you want an editor to do.
Few people who write a news release really think about what they want the editor to do after they receive and read a news
Iíve been sending out news releases for people for almost 22 years, and most of the people who come to me initially write
detailed book reviews or commercial news and web site announcements, not short ideas for articles intended to attract editorsí attention and get a dialog going that results in a feature story published.
I often have to tell them to start over or shift gears.
A lot has to do with the content and quality of the book, product service or web site, but let's just assume that you've
written the be-all, end-all of whatever subject in your field. This is the ultimate sensation. The only thing anyone will ever
need or want. You're all charged up and revved up to go. Now what...
A Publicity Plan!
Yes! A Publicity Plan.
First, establish your goals for the release. Write them down. Memorize them. Sleep on it. Wake up and think about them some
Remember you have to integrate your marketing with your PR and keep it all within your budget. So identify what you have
available and write down how much you want to spend -- and on what -- and when -- and with whom.
Let's assume your goal is getting the word out about your product. It could be an initial announcement. It could be part
of a year-long monthly campaign to a well targeted media list (again and again to get name recognition).
Look at your schedule and see that this week your task is at hand.
You want to get an article published in as many places as possible, to feed sales, acquire name recognition, drive web
traffic, all of the above, or whatever. These are common goals.
Now itís time to be more specific. Narrow your options and tighten the true alternatives you wish to seriously consider.
Think strategically. Narrow the goals and keep it as simple as can be.
Whatever your specific publicity goals, you need to be mindful of the types of news releases that can be written:
All these can produce publicity success. But writing each type of release entails arraying different information into a
different format and style of presentation. Each release has a different purpose and asks the editor or producer to take a different action. And doing any of these well in order to succeed is a daunting challenge.
Every year I complete a qualitative review of our custom news distribution and the relative success people have been having in
getting published as a result of sending fax and e-mail news releases. We analyze this data to see what works and what
doesnít work. We ask our clients what got published and where, and how much publicity or success they experienced as a result.
While this is by no means statistically definitive, it is nonetheless useful.
We've seen one page releases sent to targeted media lists result in successful publicity (defined loosely as having resulted in
either wide national publicity, a significant number > 35, top national interviews or bookings, or profit) for book authors,
publishing companies, product firms, and government agencies, whose one-page news releases took one of the following
So no matter what type of news release you write, you will increase your chances of success if it incorporates one or more
of the following.
Here's what appears to be working the best:
human interest angles -- particularly with heartwarming
anecdotal stories that reveal deep emotion or feelings with bright, colorful word pictures, and enriched sensory experience
interpersonal relationships on difficult or controversial issues -- focus on love, sex, money, communications between men
and women, parents and children, companies, and employees, government and
tips articles advice and tactics excerpted from books, ten commandments, ten tips, etc.
unusual events -- unique personal accomplishments, unusual creative ideas
humor and wisdom, fun and tragedy
really new and unique products or books Internet innovations and developments
politically and socially important editorial tie - in articles
holiday and event tie in articles
At least in my humble opinion, for those of you writing news releases or seeking publicity, your chances of success are
likely to be increased if you follow one of these formats.
Even when you do, you will maximize your success if you give the editor a "local news angle". Localizing news releases maximizes
the publication of your release in weekly and daily newspapers. The easiest publicity to get is the announcement of a local
event with a distinct local human interest angle. You donít have to do the editors work for him, but the idea that the news
release can be easily adapted to appeal to local needs must be very clear.
Sometimes getting national publicity is harder, especially in mainstream publications. You need to have a news angle that has
some interest at a national level. You also will compete against everyone else vying for attention in the nation, and you
have to distinguish why your release is worth publishing over others.
You can make your job easier and be more successful by breaking your national media lists into geographically distinct areas and
localizing the release.
You can create custom media lists on the Internet at the Internet to Media
Even once you've identified you target media, settled on a type of news release, it all comes down to writing the actual
release. Assuming you are aiming at print (Radio/TV releases are a different animal) -- here's my advice.
Bottom line -- find out what works specifically in the media you want to be in and use my special simple technique for publicity
and news release success.
The Identify, Imitate and Innovate Technique
Go to a newsstand, and pick up the latest issues of every relevant magazine or publication you can find. The ones you want
to be in. Spend at least . Then dissect each magazine for book articles. Use yellow stickies, or cut these out and make a
scrapbook. Study the publications closely and see how they write book articles and reviews. Make a list of the headlines. Study
the style, length, focus, content, word choice.
Then start writing by imitating the articles you see. Remember most of the small articles (which are the easiest to get
published are one page 200 words.
Then Innovate it. Re-write it fifteen times. Make it Short and Snappy. Vary the character of your news release to the media you
are aiming at.
You've written the end all of all books in the field. Or youíve created the best product in the world. This is the ultimate
sensation. The only book or product anyone will ever need. Get enthused. Now tell people why you are enthused in 150 to 200
Read it out loud as if you were live on the air -- see if it sounds good.
By the way, good short articles in newspapers and magazines are often read on radio stations and on talk shows every day,
especially on morning radio talk shows. This has happened to me. Listen closely when it happens. Remember what the radio
announcer is doing. He's reading a paper or magazine on the air. Wow -- a force multiplier effect. Like being seen on Oprah and
getting asked to do an interview with People magazine (This happened to my client Courtney Garton. You can see the 7/27/98
edition of People magazine). It also happened to my client Ms. Karen Derrico, author of Unforgettable Mutts. She did an
interview on a small radio station in New York City, and was heard by William Safire, who then wrote about the Million Mutt
March on Motherís day in Washington DC in his column in the New York Times.
A news release has to sing to you before you send it to me, if I am to make you the best possible custom targeted media list I
Best way I know to make it right is to follow in the footsteps of the successful before you.
Generating Publicity For Your Business: Knowing Your "Media Market" Is Critical
Very few business owners are meticulous at determining their proper ďmedia marketĒ Ė that is, all those media outlets whose editorial profiles are a match to a product/business profile and would be appropriate for generating media exposure and publicity.
Why PR Is So Important for Emerging Technology Businesses
A well-executed, sustained PR effort helps emerging technology companies reach the broad audience necessary to find the small number of Innovators and Early Adopters.
Make the Media Your Friend
The media (newspaper, radio, television) can be of enormous help to the small and home based business. So, it is very important that you develop a relationship with them.
Paul J. Krupin is one of the leading PR and Media Consultants, and is the author of the best selling ebook "Trash Proof