News Release 101

News release mistakes can turn a positive spin into a communications hiccup. These may seem like simple considerations to avoid, but reporters won’t take a second look before tossing your release if it qualifies with these infractions:

1. Language is too glowing regarding the subject matter. Stick to the hard facts. If it sounds as though the product or service is being editorialized, the information may lose its credibility.

2. Contriving a hook. Creating a hook for your release is a good idea...as long as it is relevant, creative and makes sense. Nothing will kill credibility with an reporter faster than a week or contrived hook.

3. The setup is too lengthy. Get to the point and get there quickly. Who, what, when, where and why. Don’t make the reader “fish” for the salient information. Remember your inverted pyramid. Give them the basics in the first paragraph.

4. Feigning familiarity with a publication or journalist. Don’t act as though you know the journalist or editor you are submitting your release to if you actually don’t know them. The insincerity of your greeting will translate directly to the release content and will likely result in it being tossed with yesterday’s news.

5. Proofing Errors. All content must be accurate. Period. Proofing errors are an instant deal killer for many reporters. Not to mention the poor reflection on you as a professional. Along those lines, make sure you’re up on your AP Style. They just made some changes to long-standing rules, and you need to know ‘em.

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Posted by Terry

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