Step 1: When to Send a Press Release
Summary: this tool will teach you how to write and distribute a press release. Go directly to Step 4 to write your own release.
We would not be surprised if you are keen to get started and actually write a news release for your company. Excitement aside, you can save yourself time and money if you assess the viability of your release before you start.
First, consider when it is appropriate to issue a news release. A news release can be used when you open a new office; win an award; introduce a new product or service; sponsor an event; or any other such happening.
The purpose of the news release is to connect with the media. In fact, the news release is the expected first communication with a media outlet. Perhaps you are looking for a story, interview, or a TV appearance -- the news release is the right place to start. However, even if your company meets the above criteria there is no guarantee that the media will use your release.
Questions to Consider Before You Get Started
Before getting started, consider the following questions.
Don't worry about writing down answers to these questions, as those that relate to writing the release will be addressed again later in this workshop. Instead, use these questions as a general guide when deciding whether or not it is appropriate to issue a news release.
What results do we hope to produce from our news release?
Perhaps your company hopes to generate media interest in a new product, or to promote an event that you are sponsoring. Outlining your goals from the start will help you assess their viability, and will give you direction when it comes time to prepare to write the release.
What audience will my news release speak to?
Business people usually have their company at the front of their mind when considering the news release. However journalists will have the interests of their audience at the top of their considerations. To be effective, consider this question from the journalist's perspective.
Is there anything unusual or noteworthy about the release our company will issue?
Your news release will be more effective if it has a good angle.
In a stack of dozens of news releases, is there something about my news release that would catch the attention of the media?
Journalists must wade through dozens of news releases on a daily basis. You can help your release to stand out by ensuring that it is well written and presented. However you will also want to make sure that the content of your release is worth notice.
How will our company distribute the release (wires, mail, fax, email, etc.)?
You will invest a lot of time into crafting a good news release, and it is important to make sure the you have the distribution network to support it.
It is up to you to consider your answers and assess whether or not a news release would enable you to achieve your goals. After reading this you may find that you are not yet prepared to do a news release, in which case we would suggest that you return and go through this workshop at a later date when it is appropriate. (Remember to bookmark this page so you can find it later.)
Click on a link to go directly to that section of the workshop.