Friday, May 09, 2014

Tips for Writing Press Releases

Did you know you can write a press release about your new book and send it to the media?  Here are some tips from Cedar Fort Publishing on the right way to go about this:

What is a “Press Release” or “News Release”?
A news release or press release is an “official” statement put out by an individual to news organizations like newspapers, tv stations, etc in an organized, well written way announcing an event, (In our case, a book launch or book release). In today’s data drenched world, a news release needs to be short -maximum a page- and should be clear and easy to read.


Appeal to News Values
Your goal as an author with a news release is to generate coverage for yourself or your book by catching the attention of news producers / content drivers, and prompting them to cover your story. Press releases or news releases are written like a traditional news story, written in “inverted pyramid” style, with the most important facts listed up front (think of the traditional who, what, when, where, why and how), and continue with more detail given as the release continues.

When writing a release, you need to get in the head of news producers looking for content and and see how you can make your book fit their needs. Here is a list of what a producer will look for when reviewing news releases.   

  1. Impact: The significance, importance, or consequence of an event or trend; the greater the consequence, and the larger the number of people for whom an event is important the greater the newsworthiness.
  2. Timeliness: The more recent, the more newsworthy. In some cases, timeliness is relative. An event may have occurred in the past but only have been learned about recently.
  3. Prominence: Occurrences featuring well-known individuals or institutions are newsworthy. Well-knownness may spring either from the power the person or institution possess – the president, the Speaker of the House of Representatives – or from celebrity – the late Princess Diana or fashion designer Gianni Versace.
  4. Proximity: Closeness of the occurrence to the audience may be gauged either geographically – close by events, all other things being equal, are more important than distant ones – or in terms of the assumed values, interest and expectations of the news audience.
  5. The Bizarre: The unusual, unorthodox, or unexpected attracts attention. Boxer Mike Tyson’s disqualification for biting off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear moves the story from the sports pages and the end of a newscast to the front pages and the top of the newscast.
  6. Conflict: Controversy and open clashes are newsworthy, inviting attention on their own, almost regardless of what the conflict is over. Conflict reveals underlying causes of disagreement between individuals and institutions in a society.
  7. Currency: Occasionally something becomes an idea whose time has come. The matter assumes a life of its own, and for a time assumes momentum in news reportage.
  8. Human Interest: Those stories that have more of an entertainment factor versus any of the above - not that some of the other news values cannot have an entertainment value.

Stand Out!

News sources see hundreds of press releases a week. The best way to make yours stand out is to write it using the examples in “Marketing Made Easier,” with plenty of “newsy” quotes that address the unique appeal of your book. Why is it the best book on the market? What makes it different? Make it stand out! There are plenty of other ways for your news release to get attention. For example, think of a succinct catchy headline you can put in the subject header that will catch the interest of a producer and want them to find out more.

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