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Dec 2, 2010 10:30 AM, By Don Kreski

How to write an effective press release.


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There are no hard and fast rules for formatting press releases, but be sure to include the sending date, a headline, a few paragraphs of copy, and contact information.

There are no hard and fast rules for formatting press releases, but be sure to include the sending date, a headline, a few paragraphs of copy, and contact information.

If you want to get more ink for your company, it's important to master the press release, the most widely used tool in the publicist's kit.

First, understand that, like a hammer, the press release is not your only tool or even your best tool in every situation, but it can be effective. You will want to send a press release if you have a new product, a new service, an upcoming event, or if you have received an award or have completed a survey with interesting results. Some publications like to run announcements of new hires or significant promotions, and a press release is a good way to communicate this information. If you are publically traded, the business press will be interested in releases about your financial performance. Many editors will pick up case histories and feature stories from press releases, although you may do better offering these articles to individual publications on an exclusive basis.

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Do not expect your release to be printed word for word. You certainly want to write it so that it can be picked up intact, but an editor may change it if he or she wishes or use it as a jumping off place for an entirely different story. That's a plus and a minus of dealing with the press. The publication retains control of what it prints. But that's one reason why the public is more likely to believe what they read in a news story than in an ad or brochure.

Much has been written about the best way to format a press release. There are no hard and fast rules, but it's crucial to include the sending date, a headline, a few paragraphs of copy, and contact information. The top of the release usually includes the line "For immediate release" or "For release on (date)." It's traditional to conclude with three hash marks, "###," but it's a tradition that's often not followed.

What's really important is how you write your headline and copy.



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