How To Write A Winning Press Release

Get Free Publicity For Your Ideas, Company, or Cause

by Michael Hart

The media can be a very fickle animal. What seems to turn their fancy today is outdated tomorrow. There are however several consistent absolutes when it comes to writing effective, eye catching press releases.

The following is an example of a real press release used by our firm, complete with editorial guidelines. By following this example you greatly increase the chances your release will get the attention you desire.

<> = these are notes
() = these are actual uses of parenthesis

For immediate release:
<This opening should be used on every release you send>

(Photo Available on Request)
<If you use this optional entry make certain you have a photo>

Contact: Becci Collins
(205) 672-8039 (888) 205-9610
<Contact info can be you and is mandatory>

Michael P. Hart to Address Toastmasters International Convention
<Title of release, what you are about to share>
<Another example: Investment Specialist Wins Local Award>
<Sales Expert to Speak to Area Business Leaders, etc.>

(BIRMINGHAM, AL-July 30, 1999)
<Note city, state, date, and parenthesis usage>

Michael P. Hart of Harpersville, has been invited to address Toastmasters International during their August convention in Chicago. Each year Toastmasters from around the world gather to discuss organization business, learn speaking skills and to watch some of the world's best speakers at work. Mr. Hart will be one of a select handful of professionals, which include Morgan McArthur, Bob Richards, and the ever popular, Zig Ziglar. Mr. Hart, an internationally recognized sales trainer and presentation skills speaker, is making his second appearance at the convention, in as many years. A feat few others, and no one from the state, have accomplished in the seventy four years since the organization was founded.
<Note the who, what, where, and why are established in the first paragraph>
<Also the name dropping like Zig Ziglar and the mention of the rarity of this feat make the release more "News worthy">

Upon learning that Mr. Hart had been invited to speak at the convention yet again; James Malinchak, associate editor for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series wrote to him saying "I couldn't believe my eyes, I opened the magazine (convention program) and there you were again. Congratulations on two in a row, now let's see if you can make it three."
<Although not mandatory, a third party endorsement can go a long way to
rev-up interest>

Mr. Hart will conduct one of the "Break Out" sessions during the convention. He will address approximately 500 attendees on such issues as personal motivation, how to overcome adversity, and how to deal with life's "little" obstacles. Additionally, his new tape program, Peak Sales Performance is Child's Play, will be made available through the convention product division prior to being released for general distribution in the United States.
<Here we told exactly what the program would consist of, and were able to plug our newest product. Ironically the product plug gave further endorsement to the significance of the event>

Continued . . .

Toastmasters International, the world's recognized leader in public speaking and communication, was founded in California by Dr. Ralph Smedley. With over 1.7 million members in 17 countries, Toastmasters boasts one of the most diverse memberships of any civic or social organization in the world.
<Here we told a little about the sponsoring organization. Example: If you
are writing a release about an award or honor you have received, here is
where you would give information about the organization who bestowed it
upon you>

Michael Hart is the President of Michael P. Hart & Company, a sales
training and public speaking firm, He resides 30 miles east of Birmingham
in Harpersville, and is married to Nancy Rebecca Hart, they have three
<At the end you may wish to share a little personal information. This is
optional. Note: This release was for a local paper. Personal information
of this sort is not a good idea if you are going national. You may however
mention where you went to school or any significant honors that would be
recognized on a national level. Example: Mr. Jones is a graduate of MIT,
and has received numerous local and national honors. Additionally he a
member of . . . >

<These (###) marks indicate the end of the release. In theory they tell
the reader you are done. In actuality they merely suggest you know how to
write a press release. But DO NOT fail to use them. The press is a quite
odd. They prefer to deal with their "own" The use of this structure
assures them that you know what you are doing>

This example is a little long for a traditional release. Note that the
real purpose is to get the media to call you. Not to necessarily give the
whole story. Remember the who, what, where, when, and why, and your
release will be considered. Also note that two things can come from a
press release. The media folks may run a small article based solely on the
release, or call for more info. If they choose to run it on their own, do
not expect a call. A few days after sending the release (Make certain you
choose a specific editor such as "Business", "Life", "Money" etc.) call
and make certain the release was received and inquire about it's running.

FYI: Here are a few words and phrases to avoid if you wish to be taken

Unique, 24/7, Empower, Paradigm, Outside the Box, Push the Envelope, One
of a kind, The first to . . ., Cutting edge, Information Superhighway,
Amazing, Remarkable, or Fantastic.

Simply tell your story. Be open, honest, to the point. Try not to be too
gratuitous or promotional. Always remember this is their job. What is in
it for them and the reader. Look at your release from the eyes of the
editor. Is it news or is it self-promotion. Self-promotion is good, but
make it look like news.

Would you like to learn more in-depth strategies for gaining free publicity
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About the Author

Michael Hart is an internationally known speaker, author and consultant on prospecting strategies, marketing, and public speaking skills for sales professionals and entrepreneurs.

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