Thursday, October 27, 2005

Press release guidelines

1) Write a snappy, active headline
- No more than 10 words
- Summarizes story, but also pitches to media interest
- Not "?Major triathalon here Sunday,"? but "Local Olympian joins Sunday triathalon,"? or "Blind senior going for gold at Sunday triathalon"

2) Get an interesting first paragraph
- Think of the editor or producer, but also neighbours - what would make them keep reading
- Think local - all media want to be local
- Use local names, the impact on local communities

3) Use quotes
- They should sound real, and convey real information
- (Get permission)
- Include quotes from more than one person
- Good quotes can get the whole release used; bad quotes can be fatal

4) Use facts
- DonÂ't say helped many families; say 1,600 families
- DonÂ't just say dental health is the foundation of all health, say studies have found people with gum problems are twice as likely to suffer from heart disease

5) Worry about length
- Generally, a page, but if you have a lot it may be worth going longer
- Make sure all the important information is in the first half

6) Consider a fact sheet
- You can support the release with a backgrounder, in point form, on the issue, your organization or the event
- Interesting, brief facts

7) Consider multiple versions
- See thinking local

8) Always have a contact (or two) with number

9) Follow up
- See if they got it
- Note the contact name, or add to list if you sent to wrong person
- Supply more information
- Get feedback

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