Now that you’ve learned about the inverted pyramid and how to structure your press release, it’s time to think about how you’ll get it in front of someone’s eyes. To get a release read and into a reporter’s hands, there are three things you must do without fail:
1. Don’t Mess With Fridays.
There’s a reason government announcements are made on Fridays. It’s because anything released on Friday afternoon gets buried in Saturday news that few people read or watch. Also, don’t mess with a newspaper reporter’s weekend; that will guarantee you shoddy coverage. Send your release Tuesday through Thursday. Make nice with the editorial staff, and you may actually speak with a reporter if the story is news-worthy.
2. Paper or electronic? Just ask.
Many newspapers are, ironically, going all digital with their press release submissions. If that’s how they prefer to get their releases, it’s for good reason. Showing up with a packet or sending a fax may just get your release sent to the “this person annoys me” pile, to be filed with the trash.
3. Keep it brief.
If you’ve ever gotten a memo or forwarded e-mail that looks like War and Peace exploded on the page, you probably don’t know what it says. That’s because no one will read lengthy pages of unsolicited material with lots of superfluous information. Short and sweet seals the deal, so limit your press release to the facts and include contact information so the reporter can feel better about showing up at your event and earning that byline.
You’ll feel better about that byline if you frame it so everyone can enjoy it for years to come. Newspaper article mounting highlights the fruits of your hard work and keeps the spotlight on your successful event coverage, rather than just lining the recycling bin with it.
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