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It’s said that all publicity is good publicity, but that assumes there is someone out there who has even noticed what you’ve said and done. With so many different media channels all fighting for our attention, it is now harder than ever to get your voice heard. Here are some ways to make sure your story is told in the way you want it.
1 Have some newsworthy to say
This is far easier said than done. The first thing to remember is that what you as a business think is important, is rarely the same as a journalist. You have to look at your business through their eyes, and most importantly their readers or users. What are you doing that is going to be interesting to them? What that is will probably vary for every media outlet you want to get coverage in. So the first thing to do is to work out how you are going to tell your story that is relevant to them. Look at the type of stories and regular features and columns that any given publication typically covers and target your press release to fit in with them.
2 Who, what, how, why, when
Hit them between the eyes. You have to tell your story in the same way you get your national or business news. It’s all about the facts. Journalists are taught their opening sentence or paragraph has to let the reader know WHAT the story is, WHY it’s worth reading, HOW it’s going to happen, to WHO and WHEN. Include all those facts in your opening few lines and providing it is relevant to that media channel then you are more than half way home.
3 Keep it short
Journalists, like you, are busy people. They are on tight deadlines and are looking for stories that can help them hit them. Simple as that. So get your facts across as quickly and as succinctly as possible. Include quotes from the key people involved. If the story involves numbers then make sure you give them as accurately as possible.
4 Use the right language
A press release is not your opportunity to show how educated and well read you are. It’s about getting vital information across in the most down to earth language possible. Even online journalists have limited space and are taught to communicate with the least number of words possible. So don’t use business or marketing speak. Leave that for the boardroom. Don’t use jargon, for chances are the journalist won’t know what you mean or might get it wrong.
5 Be right, be accurate
It is one thing a journalist reporting or interpreting a press release inaccurately, it is quite another providing them with the wrong information in the first place. But it is easily done. From people’s names to job titles, the size of the deal, the money invested, how a company is really run. All can cause confusion, rack up inaccuracies and end up being more trouble than it’s worth.
6 Getting past the first hurdle
Most press releases fall at the first hurdle because they remain unopened. The days of wading through printed press releases are over. You are relying on standing out on someone’s email or social media feed. Just to be opened. Arguably the most important words you use are what goes in the subject bar of the email. Don’t just write Press Release or Announcement. They will be deleted straight away. Imagine you are writing the headline for the biggest, tackiest tabloid newspaper around. Tell your story in that subject bar in seven words or fewer and you are off and running.
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