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Follow same style when you write a release. Write a strong leading paragraph with most critical information. Your first paragraph should answer main questions: who, what, where, when, why and how. This ensures that if editor decides to use just first few paragraphs, all information you want to convey gets printed.
Watch your Words Keep your release clutter-free. Use short, crisp sentences. Break up large chunks of text into short paragraphs. Research shows that paragraphs of 5-6 easily digestible lines help reader understand subject, even if it is complex.
Avoid buzzwords, jargons, technical language and acronyms. Be Balanced. Junk hyperbole. Fancy fonts and vivid colors are out. Editors prefer standard fonts like Arial (10 points) or Times New Roman (12 points).
Finally, do a word count. A good release says what it wants in less than 500 words.
Spice it up. Just a Little Include at least one hard-hitting quote in your press release. It's your best shot at getting into newspaper column space. Reporters would rather include a smart, concise quote in their story than give a lengthy explanation or summary.
Quotes are an opportunity to emphasize your key points, so quoting your CEO or top executive is a good idea. Supporting quotes from analysts and customers add credibility to announcement and key reporter in to fact that there are people available that they might be able to interview for a story.
Make yourself available Reporters like to dig for more information. They are always trying to find a "different slant". They may not want to print a standard press release. They are more likely to contact you for a personal quote or unpublished information. So, make it easy for them to contact you. In your release, include line, "For further information and clarifications, contact So-and-so." Give your contact information: phone, fax, email, and office address. And then, be available. And have some extra information to share.
Create a Press Kit The press kit includes a background piece, press releases, photos of your executives or your products, more story ideas, reprints of previous articles about your business, a list of customer references and anything else that media might find newsy or just be a simple fact sheet on you and your company. The media may not use everything you give them. But they will keep it for future reference. And it's a great way to build a relationship with press.
If you have got this far, you must have grasped secret by now. The trick to a compelling press release is very simple. Learn to think like a reporter. Put yourself in her shoes. Anticipate her needs. Then, write a release that answers her questions. Before she can ask them. Simple, isn't it?
Go grab headlines!
Sonali Raval is a corporate communications professional based in Ahmedabad, India. An Economist and MBA by training, she is a freelance writer by choice. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; URL: www.writeratwork.com