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Re: [prbytes] Writing a Press Release

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  • Sandra
    Hello, Dhaval. thanks for your message. I am a brazilian journalist and I have plan to move to US until the end of the year and I want to get my master´s
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 3, 2002
      Hello, Dhaval.

      thanks for your message. I am a brazilian journalist and I have plan to move
      to US until the end of the year and I want to get my master´s degree in PR.
      So your message was very helpful, because I can see if there are diferences
      between the american press releases and the brazilians.

      Thanks again

      Sandra Doss
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Dhaval Kapasi <dhavalkapasi@...>
      To: <prbytes@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2002 10:33 PM
      Subject: [prbytes] Writing a Press Release


      > Writing a Release
      > Writing a Press Release
      > Press coverage and media attention can be more effective than any
      other type of advertising, and a well-written and well-received press
      release can garner great rewards for your company. Press releases, also
      referred to as news releases, are a staple of any public relations effort.
      Writing them is simply another way of writing news stories; therefore, the
      same tenants that govern the rules and standards of journalism must be
      employed.
      >
      > It is hugely important that your release is written to not only get
      an editor's attention, but also to communicate as many facts as possible in
      an exciting and interesting way. Editors read press releases quickly and
      with a well-trained eye. Should they not find what they are looking for
      within the first paragraph of your release, they are more likely to discard
      it altogether.
      >
      > The more effectively and coherently a release is written, the better
      its chances of getting picked up by a journalist or an editor and turned
      into a full story. After all, newsworthy events do not happen every day, and
      your company deserves to receive the best coverage possible. A well-written
      and well-structured press release can help your company do just that.
      >
      > The steps below will help you become an expert at creating a
      professional-looking press release.
      >
      > Step 1: Establish that it's a Newsworthy Event
      >
      > The most important element of the release is the vitally important
      fact that it is announcing something about your company. What, then, is a
      newsworthy event? A newsworthy event can encompass one or more of the
      following types of situation:
      >
      >
      > a.. New Product (announced, available, shipped, etc.)
      > b.. A major new customer or significant partnership or alliance
      > c.. Corporate, or "C" Level, activities or changes (hirings,
      promotions, reassignments, leavings, retirements)
      > d.. Significant changes in company structures (large hirings,
      layoffs or re-organizations)
      >
      > e.. Facility changes
      >
      > f.. Updates in technologies
      >
      > g.. Earnings statements or guidance
      >
      > h.. Exceptionally good or unusual news, such as a company winning
      an award
      >
      > i.. Other newsworthy events
      > As it is not unheard of for certain editors to receive over 1
      thousand releases per day, make certain the event you're publicizing is
      truly something that will grab any reader's attention. Your press release is
      not substantially different from any other news article. Before you even
      begin to set paper to pen, ask yourself carefully, "Is this something that I
      would want to read about?" Chances are if you don't want to read about it,
      then neither will anyone else.
      >
      > Step 2. Identify the Main Elements: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and
      How
      >
      > Now that you have determined the newsworthy topic of your release,
      before you begin to write word one, write down the five words listed above.
      >
      > Often referred to in the PR industry as "The 5 W's and the H," these
      elements will serve as the cornerstone of your press release. From these
      elements, you can build your headline and the body of your release. While
      this information needs to appear throughout the release, many editors will
      want to be able to answer these questions just from the information that
      appears in the headline and the opening paragraph of the release.
      >
      > Step 3. Know Your Audience
      >
      > Think about which editors and writers will be interested in your
      release. Avoid using too much technical industry jargon --any confusion of
      these terms will only serve to alienate a reader that isn't familiar with
      them.
      >
      > You can increase your chances of getting picked up by focusing on
      media that covers your type of news. Focus on editors and writers that
      specialize in your industry.
      >
      > Step 4. "Grab" the Reader with the Headline
      >
      > Another oft-used journalistic term, the opening headline and
      paragraph should be written to literally 'grab' the reader's attention. The
      headline is what will make your release stand out. As you are writing it,
      picture in your mind exactly how you would want the headline to appear in a
      newspaper. The headline needs to be written so that it is equally as
      alluring as it is informative.
      >
      > The opening paragraph needs to contain the most vital information.
      For example, if your release is serving as a product announcement, the very
      first paragraph should include the price, availability/shipping date, and
      beta site or customer reference for comment (if available.)
      >
      > If the press release is announcing an important company event, the
      opening paragraph should include the location, date, any fees that are
      associated with the event, and any features of the event that make it unique
      and important, such as a roster of speakers. Again, follow the course of the
      5 W's -- anyone reading the first paragraph and the headline of your release
      should be able to identify these easily.
      >
      > Step 5. Organize Your Information
      >
      > Make sure that all the information that you present is organized
      from most important to least important. While, as previously discussed, the
      most important information should appear in the opening paragraph, make sure
      that the information presented in the following paragraphs is still
      pertinent to your topic and your objective.
      >
      > Step 6. Be Accurate
      >
      > Stick to the facts and avoid making flowery and subjective
      statements. At all costs, avoid statements of belief unless they can be
      substantiated ("the cheapest," "the most successful," etc.). Superlatives,
      ("best in the industry," "the strongest made," "most widely used") should be
      avoided and used ONLY if they can be proven. The superlative, if true, is
      excellent fodder for the opening paragraph, or even the headline.
      >
      > Step 7. Stick to the Facts
      >
      > Try and be as concise as possible. Remember, in this case, it may
      often be true that less is more. Stay away from HYPE and stick with the
      facts. Unfounded statements will only cast a shadow of doubt on the release
      itself and any information that you as a writer might present in the future.
      Also, avoid creating laundry lists of every single accomplishment that your
      company has ever made and stick to the current news only.
      >
      > Step 8. Include Quotes
      >
      > Support your assertions with quotes from analysts, customers
      (especially if the release is product related) and executives from your
      company. Quotes can help make a release exciting, while also substantiating
      the information that release is conveying. The quotes need to be approved by
      the person that said them, and in some cases also by a lawyer or your legal
      department.
      >
      > Step 9. Include a Background
      >
      > Include all details about the news and any implications it will have
      on your industry or the world as a whole. If possible, try to include some
      industry history in order to give the news some context. Try and explain how
      this event compares to others in the field. Provide as much information as
      anyone would need to understand your news. Show what the benefits are.
      Imagine that someone from the general public is reading your release in the
      newspaper. The more self-contained your release is, the better; the more
      easily a writer can create a story directly from your release, the better
      its chances of getting published.
      >
      > Step 10. Finish with a Corporate Summary
      >
      > Include a short corporate summary at the end. It need not be longer
      than three to six lines, and should also include full company name and
      headquarters location.
      >
      > Step 11. Provide Contact Information
      >
      > A name, phone number, and preferably an email address of an internal
      PR contact or a PR contact at an external agency should be provided. This
      must be a person who is extremely knowledgeable about the topic and readily
      available to answer the phone.
      >
      > Other Tips
      >
      > a.. Proofreading: Spell check the release and have several people
      look it over before you submit it. Typographical and spelling errors will
      cast doubt on you as a reliable source.
      >
      > b.. Tone: When you are done, reread the release and think about
      the goals and objectives you are trying to achieve with the release. Are you
      merely trying to disseminate information or are you trying to increase
      sales? This should be reflected in the tone.
      >
      > And Finally?
      >
      > Don't get discouraged if your release isn't picked up immediately or
      if it takes several releases until you finally get the coverage you want. It
      may take a lot of time and persistence to make the news. Send press releases
      regularly, monthly or even weekly.
      >
      > Do take advantage of it when your press release makes it into a
      publication (including Web sites.) Ask for reprints for your press kit or to
      show your customers. Use quotations from the articles in your company
      literature.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Regards,
      >
      > Dhaval Kapasi (Senior Executive, Anurash Insurance Services Pvt. Ltd.)
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >
      >
    • Ana Garcia
      Hi Dhaval, Thanks for your message its very interesting. It s a cool guideline for some of us who are dedicated to PR. Greetings from Barcelona, Spain. Ana ...
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 3, 2002
        Hi Dhaval,

        Thanks for your message its very interesting. It's a cool guideline for some
        of us who are dedicated to PR.

        Greetings from Barcelona, Spain.

        Ana


        >From: "Dhaval Kapasi" <dhavalkapasi@...>
        >Reply-To: prbytes@yahoogroups.com
        >To: <prbytes@yahoogroups.com>
        >Subject: [prbytes] Writing a Press Release
        >Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2002 13:33:25 -0800
        >
        >Writing a Release
        > Writing a Press Release
        > Press coverage and media attention can be more effective than any
        >other type of advertising, and a well-written and well-received press
        >release can garner great rewards for your company. Press releases, also
        >referred to as news releases, are a staple of any public relations effort.
        >Writing them is simply another way of writing news stories; therefore, the
        >same tenants that govern the rules and standards of journalism must be
        >employed.
        >
        > It is hugely important that your release is written to not only get
        >an editor's attention, but also to communicate as many facts as possible in
        >an exciting and interesting way. Editors read press releases quickly and
        >with a well-trained eye. Should they not find what they are looking for
        >within the first paragraph of your release, they are more likely to discard
        >it altogether.
        >
        > The more effectively and coherently a release is written, the better
        >its chances of getting picked up by a journalist or an editor and turned
        >into a full story. After all, newsworthy events do not happen every day,
        >and your company deserves to receive the best coverage possible. A
        >well-written and well-structured press release can help your company do
        >just that.
        >
        > The steps below will help you become an expert at creating a
        >professional-looking press release.
        >
        > Step 1: Establish that it's a Newsworthy Event
        >
        > The most important element of the release is the vitally important
        >fact that it is announcing something about your company. What, then, is a
        >newsworthy event? A newsworthy event can encompass one or more of the
        >following types of situation:
        >
        >
        > a.. New Product (announced, available, shipped, etc.)
        > b.. A major new customer or significant partnership or alliance
        > c.. Corporate, or "C" Level, activities or changes (hirings,
        >promotions, reassignments, leavings, retirements)
        > d.. Significant changes in company structures (large hirings,
        >layoffs or re-organizations)
        >
        > e.. Facility changes
        >
        > f.. Updates in technologies
        >
        > g.. Earnings statements or guidance
        >
        > h.. Exceptionally good or unusual news, such as a company winning
        >an award
        >
        > i.. Other newsworthy events
        > As it is not unheard of for certain editors to receive over 1
        >thousand releases per day, make certain the event you're publicizing is
        >truly something that will grab any reader's attention. Your press release
        >is not substantially different from any other news article. Before you even
        >begin to set paper to pen, ask yourself carefully, "Is this something that
        >I would want to read about?" Chances are if you don't want to read about
        >it, then neither will anyone else.
        >
        > Step 2. Identify the Main Elements: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and
        >How
        >
        > Now that you have determined the newsworthy topic of your release,
        >before you begin to write word one, write down the five words listed above.
        >
        > Often referred to in the PR industry as "The 5 W's and the H," these
        >elements will serve as the cornerstone of your press release. From these
        >elements, you can build your headline and the body of your release. While
        >this information needs to appear throughout the release, many editors will
        >want to be able to answer these questions just from the information that
        >appears in the headline and the opening paragraph of the release.
        >
        > Step 3. Know Your Audience
        >
        > Think about which editors and writers will be interested in your
        >release. Avoid using too much technical industry jargon --any confusion of
        >these terms will only serve to alienate a reader that isn't familiar with
        >them.
        >
        > You can increase your chances of getting picked up by focusing on
        >media that covers your type of news. Focus on editors and writers that
        >specialize in your industry.
        >
        > Step 4. "Grab" the Reader with the Headline
        >
        > Another oft-used journalistic term, the opening headline and
        >paragraph should be written to literally 'grab' the reader's attention. The
        >headline is what will make your release stand out. As you are writing it,
        >picture in your mind exactly how you would want the headline to appear in a
        >newspaper. The headline needs to be written so that it is equally as
        >alluring as it is informative.
        >
        > The opening paragraph needs to contain the most vital information.
        >For example, if your release is serving as a product announcement, the very
        >first paragraph should include the price, availability/shipping date, and
        >beta site or customer reference for comment (if available.)
        >
        > If the press release is announcing an important company event, the
        >opening paragraph should include the location, date, any fees that are
        >associated with the event, and any features of the event that make it
        >unique and important, such as a roster of speakers. Again, follow the
        >course of the 5 W's -- anyone reading the first paragraph and the headline
        >of your release should be able to identify these easily.
        >
        > Step 5. Organize Your Information
        >
        > Make sure that all the information that you present is organized
        >from most important to least important. While, as previously discussed, the
        >most important information should appear in the opening paragraph, make
        >sure that the information presented in the following paragraphs is still
        >pertinent to your topic and your objective.
        >
        > Step 6. Be Accurate
        >
        > Stick to the facts and avoid making flowery and subjective
        >statements. At all costs, avoid statements of belief unless they can be
        >substantiated ("the cheapest," "the most successful," etc.). Superlatives,
        >("best in the industry," "the strongest made," "most widely used") should
        >be avoided and used ONLY if they can be proven. The superlative, if true,
        >is excellent fodder for the opening paragraph, or even the headline.
        >
        > Step 7. Stick to the Facts
        >
        > Try and be as concise as possible. Remember, in this case, it may
        >often be true that less is more. Stay away from HYPE and stick with the
        >facts. Unfounded statements will only cast a shadow of doubt on the release
        >itself and any information that you as a writer might present in the
        >future. Also, avoid creating laundry lists of every single accomplishment
        >that your company has ever made and stick to the current news only.
        >
        > Step 8. Include Quotes
        >
        > Support your assertions with quotes from analysts, customers
        >(especially if the release is product related) and executives from your
        >company. Quotes can help make a release exciting, while also substantiating
        >the information that release is conveying. The quotes need to be approved
        >by the person that said them, and in some cases also by a lawyer or your
        >legal department.
        >
        > Step 9. Include a Background
        >
        > Include all details about the news and any implications it will have
        >on your industry or the world as a whole. If possible, try to include some
        >industry history in order to give the news some context. Try and explain
        >how this event compares to others in the field. Provide as much information
        >as anyone would need to understand your news. Show what the benefits are.
        >Imagine that someone from the general public is reading your release in the
        >newspaper. The more self-contained your release is, the better; the more
        >easily a writer can create a story directly from your release, the better
        >its chances of getting published.
        >
        > Step 10. Finish with a Corporate Summary
        >
        > Include a short corporate summary at the end. It need not be longer
        >than three to six lines, and should also include full company name and
        >headquarters location.
        >
        > Step 11. Provide Contact Information
        >
        > A name, phone number, and preferably an email address of an internal
        >PR contact or a PR contact at an external agency should be provided. This
        >must be a person who is extremely knowledgeable about the topic and readily
        >available to answer the phone.
        >
        > Other Tips
        >
        > a.. Proofreading: Spell check the release and have several people
        >look it over before you submit it. Typographical and spelling errors will
        >cast doubt on you as a reliable source.
        >
        > b.. Tone: When you are done, reread the release and think about
        >the goals and objectives you are trying to achieve with the release. Are
        >you merely trying to disseminate information or are you trying to increase
        >sales? This should be reflected in the tone.
        >
        > And Finally?
        >
        > Don't get discouraged if your release isn't picked up immediately or
        >if it takes several releases until you finally get the coverage you want.
        >It may take a lot of time and persistence to make the news. Send press
        >releases regularly, monthly or even weekly.
        >
        > Do take advantage of it when your press release makes it into a
        >publication (including Web sites.) Ask for reprints for your press kit or
        >to show your customers. Use quotations from the articles in your company
        >literature.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >Regards,
        >
        >Dhaval Kapasi (Senior Executive, Anurash Insurance Services Pvt. Ltd.)
        >
        >
        >
        >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >




        _________________________________________________________________
        Con MSN Hotmail súmese al servicio de correo electrónico más grande del
        mundo. http://www.hotmail.com/ES
      • Satish Vijaykumar
        hi dhaval, thanks rgds satish ... From: Dhaval Kapasi [mailto:dhavalkapasi@yahoo.com] Sent: Friday, January 04, 2002 3:03 AM To: prbytes@yahoogroups.com
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 3, 2002
          hi dhaval,
          thanks
          rgds
          satish
          -----Original Message-----
          From: Dhaval Kapasi [mailto:dhavalkapasi@...]
          Sent: Friday, January 04, 2002 3:03 AM
          To: prbytes@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [prbytes] Writing a Press Release


          Writing a Release
          Writing a Press Release
          Press coverage and media attention can be more effective than any
          other type of advertising, and a well-written and well-received press
          release can garner great rewards for your company. Press releases, also
          referred to as news releases, are a staple of any public relations effort.
          Writing them is simply another way of writing news stories; therefore, the
          same tenants that govern the rules and standards of journalism must be
          employed.

          It is hugely important that your release is written to not only get
          an editor's attention, but also to communicate as many facts as possible in
          an exciting and interesting way. Editors read press releases quickly and
          with a well-trained eye. Should they not find what they are looking for
          within the first paragraph of your release, they are more likely to discard
          it altogether.

          The more effectively and coherently a release is written, the better
          its chances of getting picked up by a journalist or an editor and turned
          into a full story. After all, newsworthy events do not happen every day, and
          your company deserves to receive the best coverage possible. A well-written
          and well-structured press release can help your company do just that.

          The steps below will help you become an expert at creating a
          professional-looking press release.

          Step 1: Establish that it's a Newsworthy Event

          The most important element of the release is the vitally important
          fact that it is announcing something about your company. What, then, is a
          newsworthy event? A newsworthy event can encompass one or more of the
          following types of situation:


          a.. New Product (announced, available, shipped, etc.)
          b.. A major new customer or significant partnership or alliance
          c.. Corporate, or "C" Level, activities or changes (hirings,
          promotions, reassignments, leavings, retirements)
          d.. Significant changes in company structures (large hirings,
          layoffs or re-organizations)

          e.. Facility changes

          f.. Updates in technologies

          g.. Earnings statements or guidance

          h.. Exceptionally good or unusual news, such as a company winning
          an award

          i.. Other newsworthy events
          As it is not unheard of for certain editors to receive over 1
          thousand releases per day, make certain the event you're publicizing is
          truly something that will grab any reader's attention. Your press release is
          not substantially different from any other news article. Before you even
          begin to set paper to pen, ask yourself carefully, "Is this something that I
          would want to read about?" Chances are if you don't want to read about it,
          then neither will anyone else.

          Step 2. Identify the Main Elements: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and
          How

          Now that you have determined the newsworthy topic of your release,
          before you begin to write word one, write down the five words listed above.

          Often referred to in the PR industry as "The 5 W's and the H," these
          elements will serve as the cornerstone of your press release. From these
          elements, you can build your headline and the body of your release. While
          this information needs to appear throughout the release, many editors will
          want to be able to answer these questions just from the information that
          appears in the headline and the opening paragraph of the release.

          Step 3. Know Your Audience

          Think about which editors and writers will be interested in your
          release. Avoid using too much technical industry jargon --any confusion of
          these terms will only serve to alienate a reader that isn't familiar with
          them.

          You can increase your chances of getting picked up by focusing on
          media that covers your type of news. Focus on editors and writers that
          specialize in your industry.

          Step 4. "Grab" the Reader with the Headline

          Another oft-used journalistic term, the opening headline and
          paragraph should be written to literally 'grab' the reader's attention. The
          headline is what will make your release stand out. As you are writing it,
          picture in your mind exactly how you would want the headline to appear in a
          newspaper. The headline needs to be written so that it is equally as
          alluring as it is informative.

          The opening paragraph needs to contain the most vital information.
          For example, if your release is serving as a product announcement, the very
          first paragraph should include the price, availability/shipping date, and
          beta site or customer reference for comment (if available.)

          If the press release is announcing an important company event, the
          opening paragraph should include the location, date, any fees that are
          associated with the event, and any features of the event that make it unique
          and important, such as a roster of speakers. Again, follow the course of the
          5 W's -- anyone reading the first paragraph and the headline of your release
          should be able to identify these easily.

          Step 5. Organize Your Information

          Make sure that all the information that you present is organized
          from most important to least important. While, as previously discussed, the
          most important information should appear in the opening paragraph, make sure
          that the information presented in the following paragraphs is still
          pertinent to your topic and your objective.

          Step 6. Be Accurate

          Stick to the facts and avoid making flowery and subjective
          statements. At all costs, avoid statements of belief unless they can be
          substantiated ("the cheapest," "the most successful," etc.). Superlatives,
          ("best in the industry," "the strongest made," "most widely used") should be
          avoided and used ONLY if they can be proven. The superlative, if true, is
          excellent fodder for the opening paragraph, or even the headline.

          Step 7. Stick to the Facts

          Try and be as concise as possible. Remember, in this case, it may
          often be true that less is more. Stay away from HYPE and stick with the
          facts. Unfounded statements will only cast a shadow of doubt on the release
          itself and any information that you as a writer might present in the future.
          Also, avoid creating laundry lists of every single accomplishment that your
          company has ever made and stick to the current news only.

          Step 8. Include Quotes

          Support your assertions with quotes from analysts, customers
          (especially if the release is product related) and executives from your
          company. Quotes can help make a release exciting, while also substantiating
          the information that release is conveying. The quotes need to be approved by
          the person that said them, and in some cases also by a lawyer or your legal
          department.

          Step 9. Include a Background

          Include all details about the news and any implications it will have
          on your industry or the world as a whole. If possible, try to include some
          industry history in order to give the news some context. Try and explain how
          this event compares to others in the field. Provide as much information as
          anyone would need to understand your news. Show what the benefits are.
          Imagine that someone from the general public is reading your release in the
          newspaper. The more self-contained your release is, the better; the more
          easily a writer can create a story directly from your release, the better
          its chances of getting published.

          Step 10. Finish with a Corporate Summary

          Include a short corporate summary at the end. It need not be longer
          than three to six lines, and should also include full company name and
          headquarters location.

          Step 11. Provide Contact Information

          A name, phone number, and preferably an email address of an internal
          PR contact or a PR contact at an external agency should be provided. This
          must be a person who is extremely knowledgeable about the topic and readily
          available to answer the phone.

          Other Tips

          a.. Proofreading: Spell check the release and have several people
          look it over before you submit it. Typographical and spelling errors will
          cast doubt on you as a reliable source.

          b.. Tone: When you are done, reread the release and think about
          the goals and objectives you are trying to achieve with the release. Are you
          merely trying to disseminate information or are you trying to increase
          sales? This should be reflected in the tone.

          And Finally?

          Don't get discouraged if your release isn't picked up immediately or
          if it takes several releases until you finally get the coverage you want. It
          may take a lot of time and persistence to make the news. Send press releases
          regularly, monthly or even weekly.

          Do take advantage of it when your press release makes it into a
          publication (including Web sites.) Ask for reprints for your press kit or to
          show your customers. Use quotations from the articles in your company
          literature.





          Regards,

          Dhaval Kapasi (Senior Executive, Anurash Insurance Services Pvt. Ltd.)



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Bruce Tober
          Although this is good, very good, perhaps a hack s perspective on a ... From my perspective 99.99% of all product announcements are nothing but fluff. They
          Message 4 of 7 , Jan 3, 2002
            Although this is good, very good, perhaps a hack's perspective on a
            couple of items can further clarify and improve things:

            >newsworthy event? A newsworthy event can encompass one or more of the
            >following types of situation:
            >
            >
            > a.. New Product (announced, available, shipped, etc.)

            From my perspective 99.99% of all product announcements are nothing but
            fluff. They almost all start of with a line similar to "XYZ Company, a
            (or sometimes THE) world leader in ABC technology...." Those immediately
            get tossed in the bit bucket.

            However, if you have a product launch for a unique product or a product
            which demonstrably beats the competition to a pulp. Say so, right in the
            first sentence and in terms that don't exaggerate, but simply tell me
            the truth.

            The rule of thumb in news is to start a story with a lead graf which
            answers the five w's (what, when, why, where, who) and one h (how). Try
            something like "A tape recorder, the size of a thumbnail, which can
            record up to five hours on a single tape, goes to market today in NY.
            Invented and manufactured by XYZ company of Timpani, Florida, the new
            unit will make it possible to tape conversations without anyone other
            than yourself knowing you're doing so."

            > b.. A major new customer or significant partnership or alliance

            Please make sure to send all press releases to appropriate publications
            and hacks. Press releases like this are of little or no use to anyone
            other than business publications in your specific industry. No one
            (other than those types of publications) gives a fig if XYZ Co has
            partnered with ABC Inc. Unless it's something so unexpected, so rare, so
            mind-boggling as to beggar belief. For example, "Bill Gates today
            announced that Microsoft is dumping the Windows operating system in
            favour of the Linux OS. He announced a partnership with Linus Torvald to
            develop the most user friendly Linux of all time and said he would abide
            by the Linux standard of delivering the OS for free and as open
            source.."

            > c.. Corporate, or "C" Level, activities or changes (hirings,
            >promotions, reassignments, leavings, retirements)
            > d.. Significant changes in company structures (large hirings,
            >layoffs or re-organizations)
            >
            > e.. Facility changes
            >

            These three fall into the same category as b and with the same provisos.

            > f.. Updates in technologies

            But do, as in a. make sure it's newsworthy and told without
            exaggeration.

            > g.. Earnings statements or guidance

            Same as b

            > h.. Exceptionally good or unusual news, such as a company winning
            >an award

            Same as a, but more like b.

            > As it is not unheard of for certain editors to receive over 1
            >thousand releases per day, make certain the event you're publicizing is
            >truly something that will grab any reader's attention.

            And make sure it's written in a style which will do so, as outlined in
            a. above. The headline can also make a difference in getting it noticed
            and read. Make sure it tells the story without exaggeration and possibly
            with humour. Make it eye-catching.

            >Your press release is
            >not substantially different from any other news article. Before you even
            >begin to set paper to pen, ask yourself carefully, "Is this something that I
            >would want to read about?"

            And therein lies the problem. All too many PRs or their clients think
            any time they take a breath it's newsworthy. The PRs have got to get a
            grip and do what they're paid (and sometimes too highly paid) to do, and
            that's present the client's story in the best possible light. They don't
            do that when they announce that "Joe Bloggs, president of XYZ Corp, the
            world's leading manufacturer of microchips, today flew to Chicago for a
            two-week holiday."

            >Chances are if you don't want to read about it,
            >then neither will anyone else.

            And even if your client wants to read about it, you've got to convince
            her that no one else will. Otherwise you're doing a dis-service.

            > Often referred to in the PR industry

            (and in journalism)

            >as "The 5 W's and the H," these
            >elements will serve as the cornerstone of your press release.

            Especially if answered in the first graf. As many as possible of the six
            should be answered briefly there.

            > Step 7. Stick to the Facts

            This is a KEY. By sticking to the facts and being as brief as possible
            in doing so, you're delighting the editor and giving him and his hack
            something to do. Ie you're giving them the basics upon which they can
            base their interview of your client. If you tell them everything you
            leave them nothing to ask about. It's somewhat analogous to a naked
            person versus a scantily clothed one, the former leaves nothing to the
            imagination and the latter leaves all the best bits to be found out
            later in the face to face.

            > Support your assertions with quotes from analysts, customers
            >(especially if the release is product related) and executives from your
            >company.

            But not from sales bods or marketing bods or PR bods. Most of us don't
            want a lot of marketing fluff and hyperbole, we want facts, trends,
            ideas, analysis and opinion.

            > Step 11. Provide Contact Information
            >
            > A name, phone number, and preferably an email address of an internal
            >PR contact or a PR contact at an external agency should be provided. This

            No, No, No, No, No. Make sure everyone quoted in the release has their
            contact details listed. Make sure that anyone who can be interviewed has
            their contact details listed. Most of us don't want to have to waste our
            time going through some flack to arrange an interview and especially not
            if all we have is two or three brief questions of clarification. We have
            deadlines to meet and having to go through flacks is all too often a
            waste of valuable time. I know you feel it's your duty to stand between
            me and your client and to show your client you're doing your job by
            intermediating between us and arranging the interview "Gee boss, look, I
            got someone from the times wanting to interview you". Right, you may
            have got us to want to interview her, but if she's at all savvy she'll
            know that that's the case even if I ring her directly, because 99.99% of
            the time I'm going to start off by saying "Ms Jones, I'm calling about
            the press release and need to ask you just a few questions. Would now be
            good or shall I ring back this afternoon?"

            > And Finally?
            >
            > Don't get discouraged if your release isn't picked up immediately or
            >if it takes several releases until you finally get the coverage you want. It
            >may take a lot of time and persistence to make the news. Send press releases
            >regularly, monthly or even weekly.

            And don't ring the editor to see if he's planning to run it or has run
            it. That's what clipping services are for. We're busy. We don't want two
            dozen flacks ringing up five times a week to check if their precious
            press release is going to be used.

            Hope this helps.

            --
            | Bruce Tober, <tbt@...>, |
            | Where Hacks and Flacks get together for mutual benefit |
            | Website <http://www.hacksnflacks.com> |
            | Birmingham, UK, EU +44-780-374-8255 (Mobile) |
          • Dhaval Kapasi
            Writing a Release Writing a Press Release Press coverage and media attention can be more effective than any other type of advertising, and a well-written and
            Message 5 of 7 , Jan 3, 2002
              Writing a Release
              Writing a Press Release
              Press coverage and media attention can be more effective than any other type of advertising, and a well-written and well-received press release can garner great rewards for your company. Press releases, also referred to as news releases, are a staple of any public relations effort. Writing them is simply another way of writing news stories; therefore, the same tenants that govern the rules and standards of journalism must be employed.

              It is hugely important that your release is written to not only get an editor's attention, but also to communicate as many facts as possible in an exciting and interesting way. Editors read press releases quickly and with a well-trained eye. Should they not find what they are looking for within the first paragraph of your release, they are more likely to discard it altogether.

              The more effectively and coherently a release is written, the better its chances of getting picked up by a journalist or an editor and turned into a full story. After all, newsworthy events do not happen every day, and your company deserves to receive the best coverage possible. A well-written and well-structured press release can help your company do just that.

              The steps below will help you become an expert at creating a professional-looking press release.

              Step 1: Establish that it's a Newsworthy Event

              The most important element of the release is the vitally important fact that it is announcing something about your company. What, then, is a newsworthy event? A newsworthy event can encompass one or more of the following types of situation:


              a.. New Product (announced, available, shipped, etc.)
              b.. A major new customer or significant partnership or alliance
              c.. Corporate, or "C" Level, activities or changes (hirings, promotions, reassignments, leavings, retirements)
              d.. Significant changes in company structures (large hirings, layoffs or re-organizations)

              e.. Facility changes

              f.. Updates in technologies

              g.. Earnings statements or guidance

              h.. Exceptionally good or unusual news, such as a company winning an award

              i.. Other newsworthy events
              As it is not unheard of for certain editors to receive over 1 thousand releases per day, make certain the event you're publicizing is truly something that will grab any reader's attention. Your press release is not substantially different from any other news article. Before you even begin to set paper to pen, ask yourself carefully, "Is this something that I would want to read about?" Chances are if you don't want to read about it, then neither will anyone else.

              Step 2. Identify the Main Elements: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How

              Now that you have determined the newsworthy topic of your release, before you begin to write word one, write down the five words listed above.

              Often referred to in the PR industry as "The 5 W's and the H," these elements will serve as the cornerstone of your press release. From these elements, you can build your headline and the body of your release. While this information needs to appear throughout the release, many editors will want to be able to answer these questions just from the information that appears in the headline and the opening paragraph of the release.

              Step 3. Know Your Audience

              Think about which editors and writers will be interested in your release. Avoid using too much technical industry jargon --any confusion of these terms will only serve to alienate a reader that isn't familiar with them.

              You can increase your chances of getting picked up by focusing on media that covers your type of news. Focus on editors and writers that specialize in your industry.

              Step 4. "Grab" the Reader with the Headline

              Another oft-used journalistic term, the opening headline and paragraph should be written to literally 'grab' the reader's attention. The headline is what will make your release stand out. As you are writing it, picture in your mind exactly how you would want the headline to appear in a newspaper. The headline needs to be written so that it is equally as alluring as it is informative.

              The opening paragraph needs to contain the most vital information. For example, if your release is serving as a product announcement, the very first paragraph should include the price, availability/shipping date, and beta site or customer reference for comment (if available.)

              If the press release is announcing an important company event, the opening paragraph should include the location, date, any fees that are associated with the event, and any features of the event that make it unique and important, such as a roster of speakers. Again, follow the course of the 5 W's -- anyone reading the first paragraph and the headline of your release should be able to identify these easily.

              Step 5. Organize Your Information

              Make sure that all the information that you present is organized from most important to least important. While, as previously discussed, the most important information should appear in the opening paragraph, make sure that the information presented in the following paragraphs is still pertinent to your topic and your objective.

              Step 6. Be Accurate

              Stick to the facts and avoid making flowery and subjective statements. At all costs, avoid statements of belief unless they can be substantiated ("the cheapest," "the most successful," etc.). Superlatives, ("best in the industry," "the strongest made," "most widely used") should be avoided and used ONLY if they can be proven. The superlative, if true, is excellent fodder for the opening paragraph, or even the headline.

              Step 7. Stick to the Facts

              Try and be as concise as possible. Remember, in this case, it may often be true that less is more. Stay away from HYPE and stick with the facts. Unfounded statements will only cast a shadow of doubt on the release itself and any information that you as a writer might present in the future. Also, avoid creating laundry lists of every single accomplishment that your company has ever made and stick to the current news only.

              Step 8. Include Quotes

              Support your assertions with quotes from analysts, customers (especially if the release is product related) and executives from your company. Quotes can help make a release exciting, while also substantiating the information that release is conveying. The quotes need to be approved by the person that said them, and in some cases also by a lawyer or your legal department.

              Step 9. Include a Background

              Include all details about the news and any implications it will have on your industry or the world as a whole. If possible, try to include some industry history in order to give the news some context. Try and explain how this event compares to others in the field. Provide as much information as anyone would need to understand your news. Show what the benefits are. Imagine that someone from the general public is reading your release in the newspaper. The more self-contained your release is, the better; the more easily a writer can create a story directly from your release, the better its chances of getting published.

              Step 10. Finish with a Corporate Summary

              Include a short corporate summary at the end. It need not be longer than three to six lines, and should also include full company name and headquarters location.

              Step 11. Provide Contact Information

              A name, phone number, and preferably an email address of an internal PR contact or a PR contact at an external agency should be provided. This must be a person who is extremely knowledgeable about the topic and readily available to answer the phone.

              Other Tips

              a.. Proofreading: Spell check the release and have several people look it over before you submit it. Typographical and spelling errors will cast doubt on you as a reliable source.

              b.. Tone: When you are done, reread the release and think about the goals and objectives you are trying to achieve with the release. Are you merely trying to disseminate information or are you trying to increase sales? This should be reflected in the tone.

              And Finally?

              Don't get discouraged if your release isn't picked up immediately or if it takes several releases until you finally get the coverage you want. It may take a lot of time and persistence to make the news. Send press releases regularly, monthly or even weekly.

              Do take advantage of it when your press release makes it into a publication (including Web sites.) Ask for reprints for your press kit or to show your customers. Use quotations from the articles in your company literature.





              Regards,

              Dhaval Kapasi (Senior Executive, Anurash Insurance Services Pvt. Ltd.)



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • natalierk
              Dear Dhaval & Bruce (& others), First, thanks to Dhaval for writing a great how-to, and thanks to Bruce for suggesting improvements. I have worked on both
              Message 6 of 7 , Jan 4, 2002
                Dear Dhaval & Bruce (& others),

                First, thanks to Dhaval for writing a great how-to, and thanks to
                Bruce for suggesting improvements.

                I have worked on both sides of the PR fence in the last few years, and
                I have to tell you in my last stint as a journalist/calendar editor I
                was appalled at the quality of press releases. If I may be so bold as
                to make a few more suggestions:

                1) Like Bruce, I must please ask you to address the press release to
                someone specific in the press organization you are trying to reach.
                That's your job as the PR flack: find out the actual NAME of the
                person who might be interested in your piece, especially if it's of
                the business-type event (corporate earnings, change of personnel,
                etc.)

                2) Absolutely in the first sentence or at the very least the first
                paragraph have EVERYTHING you want to share; that is, the 5 W's, 1 H.
                It's a combination of laziness and busy-ness that keeps journalists
                from reading on.

                3) If you can possibly do it, keep it to one page. It's just like in
                the newspaper, most people don't read the "continued on" part. Your
                job as PR flack is to build a relationship, so over time the
                editors/journalists ought to learn what the company you represent is
                all about.

                4) I must respectfully disagree with Bruce's argument that we should
                not follow up press releases with telephone calls. Sure, a pushy call
                is totally out of the question, but leaving a message such as, "I'm
                just calling to confirm that you received the press release regarding
                the black-tie event on X date with Mick Jagger benefitting ABC
                widgets. If you have any questions, you can call me at Y." If you get
                your 5 W's and 1H into the message then you've made contact TWICE. Do
                not expect a call back, and do not make more than one call per press
                release. That's just rude.

                5) For TV, radio, and some dailies, the day before an event or the
                morning of (if it's an evening thing): Send them a press release with
                the exact time of the money shot. It need be no more complicated than
                actually listing, in table form, "2000 Women Expected to March on
                County Governmental Center in Support of Reproductive Rights" then
                list the exact time and place they are expected to pull their stunt.
                Tell them, too, what to expect: candles, chanting, whatever the stunt
                is. The photographers and camera-folk will thank you very much for
                your decency.

                Natalie Rawlings Kraut
                Plantation, FL
              • bigheadkristin
                If you re looking for an inexpensive way to distribute your press releases, I wanted to recommend a new resource that just became available: Contacts on Tap.
                Message 7 of 7 , Jan 30, 2002
                  If you're looking for an inexpensive way to distribute your press
                  releases, I wanted to recommend a new resource that just became
                  available: Contacts on Tap. It's a component of a new PR community
                  called CornerBarPR (http://www.cornerbarpr.com). Basically, for an
                  affordable annual subscription, you get continuously updated listings
                  for the 32 markets covering the 24 most popular beats. Sure beats
                  the price of Bacon's or some of the alternatives...especially for us
                  smaller freelancing folks!

                  For more information, visit this page:
                  http://www.cornerbarpr.com/cot/signup.cfm.

                  While you're there, check out the main site...it's hilarious, fresh,
                  and fun.

                  Best regards,
                  Kristin Gambill
                  iKnowledge Consultants
                  P.O. Box 860156
                  Shawnee Mission, KS 66286-0156
                  Telephone: (913) 422-1463
                  Facsimile: (913) 441-5645

                  http://www.iKnowledgeConsultants.com
                  Where marketing meets the Internet.TM
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