Whats New With You? How to Write a Press Release

By: Kathryn Beach

The purpose of a press release is to briefly state your case to the media so someone will want to write about you, your business, or your product. The key ingredient is proving that your story is newsworthy.

Learning how to write a good press release is not much different than any other writing you do to promote yourself, your business and your products. As always, the focus has to be not on all of the above, but on your reader. The only differences are in the format, and you can find press release templates all over the web easily. We'll be looking only at the content here.

Your content is very basic "who, what, where, when and why" info. The "why" is, why is it newsworthy?

Here are the steps you need to go through to plan your angle, your "hook". You may be thinking, "I'm not newsworthy." The good news is, you don't have to be. You have to find something that IS newsworthy that connects with your product.

Where do you get your news from? You probably get it from a combination of places. My news comes from forums, blogs and television. Perhaps you find out your news from neighbors, chats, and newspapers. It doesn't matter where. There's a certain celebrity that likes to tell us what's "hot", so take notice of what's in the news that pertains to your business.

I'm a writer. I get ideas from the strangest places. It took watching a television show for me to remember that college students are on spring break currently. College kids are all about writing, now I'm thinking of what they write. I could write a report on how to write a research paper and have it ready for when they're back to school. How many of them will be panicking about getting that paper written before finals?

I may be one of the few people living in North America who knows almost nothing about hand-held communication devices, but it seems like they are changing almost daily with new capabilities and applications. Maybe something in this area applies to your business.

There's a new dog park going in near my home. Dog parks seem to be springing up everywhere. I would think there would be socialization issues here; suddenly all these dogs that have been walked on leashes all their lives are running free. If you had a dog website, how to train your dog to play well with others would be a good topic for an ebook or report and featuring training aids (are there any new ones?)

Once you've found your "newsworthiness" angle, your press release will almost write itself. Remember, it's all about the readers that the media contact will be writing for. What's in it for them? At the very end of any press release template, there's a paragraph that is usually referred to as the "boilerplate". This is very simply your "elevator speech" about your website or business. It's that two sentence, 15-second description that you use everywhere you're asked what it is that you do.

Your boilerplate appears at the end of your press release and is the only place in your press release where you mention, in a matter-of-fact way, precisely what your business does.

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