The secret to a successful press release

I’ve released a few press releases lately, so it’s got me thinking: what’s the difference between a press release that’s used and one that’s a waste of time and effort? Most times, just a few words.

Summer Snow Storm? A freak summer snow storm is sweeping through town.

The snowcone shack in Smithville invites you to cover an event in the parking lot on July 5 at 5pm.

Which of these two events would you rather hear about on the news? Well, they’re the same event, just worded differently in two different press releases about the same ficitonal promotional event where a snowcone business dumped a truckload of shaved ice in front of their store and invited all the neighborhood kids out to play in it.Jeff Crilley, a former TV reporter and CEO of a public relations firm in Dallas, Texas outlined this scenario in his Free Publicity book. Ultimately, just like our stories do, our promotions about our books comes down to wording it right. In Free Publicity, Crilley suggests wording the press release, especially the title and first couple of sentences, to grab the frantic assignment editor’s attention as he or she is rifling through PRs as they’re scooped out of the fax machine bin. Reading that first two sentences of the first PR above, the AE is probably picturing their reporter using those exact words over the air. That means less work for their reporters to think up things to say. Less work for the staff on a deadline equals a better chance that your PR will be used.

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and award-winning author of Five Days in Dallas and The Brink. Signed copies of The Brink are available 20% off the cover price at www.shop.markfadden.com.

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