The news release is your only chance to make a good first impression.
Sloppy, inaccurate, pointless releases are the first to hit the newsroom wastebasket or recycle bin. To make sure yours isn’t one of them, avoid these seven deadly sins:
1. Providing insufficient or wrong information. Particularly telephone numbers. Releases must be complete, accurate and specific.
2. Writing too long. They should be no longer than two pages.
3. Sending it too late. Mail or email it at least two weeks before an event, preferably three or four. Send them four to six months ahead for major magazines.
4. Sending a release with no news value. News is what happens that is different. If it isn’t different, it isn’t news. Read the publication, watch the show or listen to the station so you can determine what is news to THEM not you.
5. Blatant commercialism. Avoid hackneyed words and phrases such as spectacular, incredible, the only one of its kind, breakthrough, cutting-edge, unique and state-of-the-art.
6. Omitting a contact name and phone number. At the top of the first, page in the left corner, let editors know who they can call if they have questions. Put your mobile number on the release and be available.
7. Calling after you send a release. Questions like “Did you get my news release?” or “Do you know when it will be printed?” will brand you as a pest. Don’t follow up with a phone call to see if the media got your release, unless you are absolutely sure that someone will check for you. Most reporters and editors don’t have time.
Media Resources: Reporter Connections