When it comes to news, there’s never a shortage.
Newsworthy stories can be found in the community from local businesses, schools, and community groups, nationally and internationally.
Therefore, organizations should consider crafting a press release that is not only newsworthy but well-written to capture the editor’s attention and get it onto the layout board.
Take the following steps to increase the chance of your press release getting published:
1.Make sure your event, service or offering is newsworthy. How does your event or service stand out among others? What makes it special?
2.Craft a catchy headline to draw attention to your release and entice the editor to want to read further. Don’t use a long-drawn-out headline. Capture attention with a few words.
3.Make sure your lead paragraph is not only informative, but interesting. Don’t bore the editor with a lot of details. Be creative. Use a storytelling approach to make the editor read on.
4.When telling your story, don’t leave out important details. Answer the who, what, when, where why and sometimes how questions.
5.Add at least one quote from an event organizer, expert on the service, participant, or recipient. This will save the editor valuable time with calling to get a quote from someone. Remember, editors are under deadlines, so the more print-ready or less work involved, the greater the chances your release will land on a layout page.
6.Proof-read your release prior to submitting it. Make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. If you are writing your release in Microsoft Word, click review. Then, conduct a spelling and grammar check. Click on editor to determine if your sentences are structured properly.
7.Include contact information for both the editor and the public to get more details.
8.Research the copy deadlines, so your press release will be published in time. Try to submit your release a few days ahead of publishing deadlines. Call the media to get the editor’s email address or research it online. After you submit your release, follow it up with a phone call to the editor the next day.
9.When emailing your release, send it as a Word file. This will make it easy to copy and paste the contents of your release onto a layout page.
10.Finally, when emailing your release, send it to one editor at a time. Direct your letter to a specific person. Don’t send the release to several editors and media on one email. This is sure to get the editor to hit the delete button. The editor may think, “We’ll let ABC newspaper print it.” Make that editor feel special, like they’re the only one privy to this timely and informative information. Make it appear as a “Breaking” news story.
If you would like to see samples of print-ready press releases, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Valerie D. Lockhart is the publisher and executive editor of the Detroit Native Sun. She has over 20 years’ experience as a newspaper editor and was the former Associate Editor of the Michigan Chronicle, the state’s oldest African American owned newspaper. She has won several awards in journalism that includes the Lincoln University Unity Awards in Media.