As a freelance writer or business owner, you know how important marketing and promoting your business is. Well-written marketing materials are a vital part of your effort to help publicize, advertise, or promote a person, place, or thing. Also known as copywriting, its purpose is to motivate, entice, or persuade someone to take action. Examples of marketing pieces are ads, advertorials, catalog excerpts and item descriptions, biographical sketches, and may even include blogging, Web site text, and media releases.
Because marketing through news outlets plays such a huge role in the successful promotion of any business, I will start by giving some tips on how to write a press or media release. The term “press” release is a little dated because it has to do with the printing press. Many news releases these days are syndicated online, so a more up-to-date term is “media” release since it encompasses both print and online sources. Your media release needs to be news worthy, disseminate information, and give a call to take action (such as “call now” or “visit [URL] for more information”). Ideally, the release should be less than 750 words in the average media release. When possible, tie the release into something already happening in the news. Look for a way to tag onto a political event, action of a celebrity, death of a famous person, etc.
When to Write a Media Release
Any time you have news about your company or an employee, someone gets a promotion, achieves an accomplishment, has a new product to offer, your book wins an award, or whenever you have something to celebrate is a good time to write a media release. There are several things that should be present in a good media release.
· Opening or first paragraph
·End of document signal
The Title of your release is very important. It needs to be a concise statement of what the release is about. Think of it as a teaser to get the reader to move to the subtitle to find out more. You also want to use keywords to attract search engines and journalists looking for a story or an expert to interview.
A very common error in many of the books I edit or proofread occurs in the title, headers, and subheaders. The Chicago Manual of Style states:
In regular title capitalization, also known as headline style, the first and last words and all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinating conjunctions (if, because, as, that, etc.) are capitalized. Articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, for, nor), and prepositions, regardless of length, are lowercase unless they are the first or last word of the title.
The Subtitle should tell a little more than the title and lead into the first paragraph. It’s a summary that takes the reader one more step into the piece. The subtitle should also use heading or title case.
The First Paragraph of your media release should get right to the point and clearly answer the Five Ws of Writing a Media Release:
1. Who is the story about?
2. What is the story about?
3. When did or will it occur?
4. Where did or will it occur?
5. Why did or will it happen?
The title, subtitle, and opening paragraph are the three most important components so make sure these are as strong and as enticing as you can make them. You want the reader to keep reading!
The Body Text gives more information and fills in the details of the Five W’s to convey the entire story.
The About Section tells more about the company or person mentioned in the release. It is a short bio of about two to three sentences.
The Closing Paragraph may give a call to take action in the final paragraph (such as “call xxx or go to xxx for more info”).
By typing and centering ### after your closing paragraph, you have indicated that the release has ended. The media expect to find your contact information following this signal.
Add your Contact Information so the media can reach you. Include your name, phone number, Web site URL, and email address. A postal address is optional.
After spending several years in a corporate setting, Yvonne Perry decided to make a brave move and start her own freelance writing company. Leaving her full-time position as an administrative assistant in the sales and marketing division of a Fortune 500 company, she started her new career in 2003 with very little business experience. Today, she is the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services where she serves as a freelance ghostwriter and editor for individuals and businesses.
By aligning herself and her company with other writers and experts in the field, Perry has networked her company to the top as a premier ghostwriter and editor in Nashville, Tennessee. She and her team stay busy on client projects such as writing media releases, ghostwriting and editing books, article writing, creating ad copy, and producing business documents. The team provides writing and editing services to individuals while offering a logical way for large corporations to outsource their writing needs. Thanks to the Internet, the company’s reputation has reached international status. With her wide variety of writing experience that includes impressive résumés, personal and professional bios, high-quality press releases and articles, as well as case studies, proposals and marketing pieces, Yvonne is ready to work with you on your next project.
For more on Yvonne Perry and a list of her books, please visit Writers in the Sky.