For radio and TV: Approach producers as if they have ADD (attention deficit disorder). Get their attention fast. If your press release doesn’t capture the producers’ attention within the first ten seconds, you’re dead; they’ll be off on something else. They seldom read press releases, but when they do, they usually just scan the headlines and bullets.
Producers’ lives are blurs. Everything is an emergency or a crisis…so make press releases for producers shorter than those you send to print journalists. Tips:
Headlines are critical. They should be one line only, take seconds to read and focus on value and benefit. The media is obsessed with three topics that it thinks audiences crave: money, sex and health. So, whenever possible, tie your headlines to those topics.
Establish a “Who Gives a Damn” meter. Determine if anyone would care about the information presented. If so, identify specifically who would care.
Then determine why they would care. Once done, write headlines and bullets targeted to those who would care.
For print: For the print media the first paragraph of your press release is vital. It should run no more than three or four sentences and set forth all of the main points covered in the release. Don’t muddy your opening paragraph with too much detail…Use subsequent paragraphs to further explain your story, including background, more specific information, and even include quotes or endorsements.
Keep the entire release to one page. After you’ve drafted the release, tie it together with a catchy headline…always include your contact information at both the top and bottom of the page. [And remember] that print media can publish a press release, or parts of it, with little or no change, and their job is done.
By Rick Frishman
Reprinted from “Rick Frishman’s Author 101 Newsletter”
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