Are you surprised that reporters don’t jump up and down in excitement when you send them a news release?
Don’t be. Most reporters receive thousands of news releases each year. Companies and people all over the country are trying to do the same thing you are – get the word out about their products or services – so your news release really needs to be special to get a reporter’s attention.
Writing a news release that gets noticed begins with the basics.
First, reporters want a good story. Make sure yours is newsworthy. What you find fascinating may bore the average person, so thinking like a reporter is a must. Reporters and their readers want to know what makes your product or service unique. To learn more about how to determine whether a story is newsworthy, read Axia Public Relations' article, “Elements of News.”
Second, do your research. Make sure the reporter you’re pitching actually covers stories like yours. A financial reporter isn’t going to be interested in your story about new menu items, and a food writer isn’t likely to be interested in your IPO – even if you’re in the restaurant business.
Third, catch the eye of the reporter with a strong headline and an even stronger opening sentence. Within the opening paragraph you should answer all the basic questions: who, what, where, why, when and how. Using action words to set the story in motion helps engage the reader.
Fourth, keep to your release objective and avoid fluff. How do you keep from writing fluff in your release? The best way is to remember that the facts are your friends and to stay away from overused words and phrases such as “breakthrough” and “state of the art.”
Fifth, timing is everything. Does your story relate to a recent news event or reflect a growing trend? Pitching your potential story at the right time can be the difference between getting a reporter’s attention and getting your pitch pitched.
Sixth, be brief. Remember, writing a good story means not dragging it out too long. Short and to-the-point works better.
Finally, don’t forget to follow up with the reporter. Adding harassment to the equation, however, will cause them to lose interest. Be available and be patient. If the story is great, all will be well.
Follow these basic steps and you will differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack and see more of your news releases lead to published stories, which will help spread the word about your great products or services.
Sylvia Gomez | Axia Public Relations