Jeff Richards, Business Development Consulting

Do It Yourself PR


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Jeff Richards

Special Report:


Fundamentals of Media Marketing

       by Jeff Richards

Forty-Five Reasons to Send a News Release


"It is not uncommon for one well done press release that is properly executed, delivered and timely followed up to 10-20 news sources to yield 2-3 feature stories." 

       -Jeff Richards


Media sources, even the local ones, can receive hundreds of Press Releases and PR kits a day and national sources can receive thousands of requests each month. The competition is fierce, but that should not deter you from this great, low-cost marketing strategy.  If your press release or kit is opened at all, at most, you have two to three seconds to capture the attention of the reader and convince them that your story would interest their audience.


Even for a small business in a small town, there are often ten to twenty media sources that might be interested in featuring your story.  And whether you are a home-based business or a large company, there are media opportunities available that far outweigh the cost and results you can get from traditional advertising.


So the question is would you do this?  Follow these simple steps and your company success rate will increase dramatically:


  1. Customize the release to each individual media source either by editing each release, changing the headline or by adding a short note or letter that offers compelling reasons why their audience will want to hear about your story.  Get familiar with the news source before you begin, so you really know what type of stories interest them.
  2. Spend the most amount of time on your title and first paragraph of the release, 2-3 seconds is all you have to capture the reader's attention and convince them that your story is worth pursuing.  Many news releases that are accepted are often never fully read, only skimmed.
  3. Format your news release as news.  Never use bullets or do anything that would be similar to advertising copy.
  4. Spell check the document and have friends proof read it an provide you with input. 
  5. Aim for a feature story with every release.  A feature story will often involve phone or in-person interviews and either photos by the news source's photographer or use of photos that you provided.  Feature stories can often wind up with teasers on the front page of a newspaper or magazine and in when in print, often exceed one page and have multiple photographs.  Sometimes small newspapers or trade magazines will take your story and photos and use the story word for word, but in most cases there is at least some editing.
  6. Keep your release with your contact information on one page and do not use any unusual fonts.  Times New Roman, Arial or Garamond are the best fonts to use, size 11.  Bold your headline. 
  7. Centered at the top of the page of your release include, The current date, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE or FOR RELEASE on (The Specific Date) and For More information, contact (full name of the person) and include a business phone, cell phone, email address and a website if there is one.  Provide the link for an Online Press Kit if you have created one.
  8. End your Release with this symbol centered at the bottom: #
  9. Make it easy to be contacted.  At the top of the page, include every source point of contact possible such as full name, cell phone, business phone, email address and a website if you have one. 
  10. News Release Lead Times.   Allow at least a three-four week lead time for most releases to newspapers, radio and television unless you have real media-stopping breaking news.  Allow up to three months lead time for trade magazines and six months to a year for national magazines.  Not paying attention to lead times and expecting your story to be accepted with enthusiasm is not realistic, it just puts a strain on the news department and team who are often overworked and understaffed.  Use the FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Title if your story is good to use now or anytime, otherwise date the release at least to the month that will be the most applicable.
  11. Research the best contact to send your release to for every media source.  Do this by calling and asking, researching their website and also comply with any press release guidelines that are posted on their website.
  12. Send your release by mail, fax and email unless the media source directs you to do otherwise. 
  13. Hand address your press release package and minimally use a large, professional business envelope rather than folding your release and sending it in a number 10 envelope.  Clearly include the person's name and department.  If you send a cover letter, keep it short and to the point, just a few sentences on why their readers, viewers or listeners would have interest in your story.
  14. More mail gets opened on Tuesday, Wednesdays or Thursdays than does on Monday or Friday.  Keep this in mind when mailing, emailing or faxing your release.
  15. Absolutely the most attention can be received by using Federal Express to overnight your package to the media contact, but of course you will need a larger budget to do this.
  16. Action Photos that Stir Emotion are the only photos that should be sent with your mail package.  You don't need a professional photographer to take them,  just planning ahead and use of your imagination.  Send a minimum size of 5x7 quality photos in both black and white and color.  One to two good photos will suffice. 
  17. When sending your release by email, do not attach your photos, in fact it is better not to send any email attachments.  Instead direct the media source to a web link where both web and print quality photos can be downloaded.  The same with your release.  Format a version for email because media contacts are leery of opening attachments of any sort from people they do not know.  You may also want to provide a complete online media kit, one page that will include your release, and photos and provide links to download each.
  18. Follow up by phone and email 24-48 hours after you know the release has been received.  Get used to hearing that the media contact never saw it and cheerfully send another and follow up promptly as well.  Leave short cheery messages when you call and be prepared to call once everyday for a week if necessary to reach the contact directly.  TIP:  Ask the operator when a good time to catch them directly might be!
  19. Always respect the news media's guidelines, news deadlines, and anything they request of you.  If the deadline for getting their magazine out is on the first Tuesday of each month, do not call on that day.  If the contact tells you he/she is not interested, do not keep calling about the same release.  If they ask you to email photos or provide any additional information, get it to them almost immediately.  Be cooperative and friendly and often you will be thanked for providing the story idea!
  20. Never indicate that you are sending your release to any other media contact, but if asked and no one else has yet shown interest, be honest about it, but compelling in why your story fits their audience.

Frequently Asked Questions About PR


What if the time is expended for a successful release and there are no immediate results? 

Even when you receive no response from your release or communication attempts, often your release will help to identify you or your business as an expert in your field and your release may be filed for future contact   So your efforts are never wasted.


How often should our company send out press releases? 

Even the smallest home-based business usually has creative opportunities to send out news releases that would be welcomed at least once per quarter.

© 2006-2015 by Jeff Richards, Duplication Permitted. 

Reprint rights available by acknowledging the source and linking to our website.