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WRITING A PRESS RELEASE Chantal Cooke, Passion for the Planet

Getting free coverage in the media promotes your business and positions you as an expert in your field. But how do you get the journalist interested? The place to start is with a press release. And the good news is a badly written press release is better than no press release at all. Although clearly a well written one is best of all! The key point to remember is that the press release is your communication with the journalist and not with your customers or the journalists’ audience. So make sure you give them what they need to know. 1) A clear “it says what it does on the tin” headline. Clever headlines that don’t tell you anything are not helpful. Journalists receive 100s of press releases every day – so make sure yours is clear about what it is, straight away. 2) Get to the point as quickly as possible, lots of waffle and “sales talk” is irrelevant. Journalists are busy and don’t have time to read lots of prose. Use bullet points if that’s clearer. 3) Be clear about who you are. You need to be credible so ensure that you give, briefly, some information about yourself or your company. In other words ask yourself the question “why should anyone trust my expertise in this area?” 4) Be sure to add your contact details – landline, mobile, email and web site. Journalists often have tight deadlines so make it easy for them to contact you. Remember if they can’t reach you they will probably go elsewhere. 5) If you are sending the release via email put it in the body of the email, not as an attachment, and be sure that the layout is easy to read. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to see the content. Extra files to open, closely packed text, reams of irrelevant background information are all ways of stopping journalists looking at your information.

Finally, when you do send out the press release, make sure that you have someone available to talk to the journalist. Don’t send the release if you are about to go on holiday. If they follow up on it they will need to speak to you further. So make sure you have a spokesperson available, who knows their stuff and feels confident speaking to the media. A poor press release is better than no press release, but a bad interview can be worse than no interview. Journalists like to deal with people that are easy to work with and deliver what they promise. If that’s not yet you, then don’t start to cross any bridges that you may end up burning!

About the Author: • Chantal Cooke is co-founder of the Passion for the Planet group of radio stations; the only radio stations in the UK to focus on health and environmental issues. Passion for the Planet broadcasts to London and the south of England on DAB Digital Radio and nationwide via the Internet. • Chantal also offers 1-2-1 coaching to help clients build their profile and grow their business. • Join the Passion for the Planet Club and promote your services for free to over 150,000 people. Membership is free. • PassionSELECT: Listen, on demand, to interviews with experts on issues ranging from your health, your environment and your personal development.

Writing Press Releases  

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