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Writing a press release

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Being able to write a press release is one of the most useful skills for any business owner who wants to attract good, cheap publicity to his or her business. A press release essentially informs the media (including newspapers, magazines, internet sources and television) that there is a story that would be of interest to their customers.

Of course, this means that the most important aspect of creating a press release is to make it appeal to the viewers and readers of the media outlets you are targeting. In general, no one wants to see a piece that is an obvious advertisement, and media outlets are not in the habit of giving away free advertising. Instead, think of a way to present a story about your business that does not include an angle to sell something.

For example, a company that sells pool equipment would probably not have a lot of success with a press release that lists the different types of pool equipment that a person needs to buy for the summer. Instead, a piece about new innovations in safety equipment that could prevent pool accidents might have some appeal for some publications. The further you get away from trying to sell a product or service, the better chance the press release has of being accepted. Think of this as a way to attract attention to your business, not as a way of making direct sales.

Next, carefully consider the types of sources that your press release will include. While a press release does not have to include any supporting facts, releases that do not have them will be more work for a reporter than a press release that includes a few sample sources. Since most reporters rely on press releases when they are running short of ideas and time, the releases that make an article easy to write or a television piece easy to produce will have the best chance of being turned into a story. If possible, name several different types of sources. In addition to yourself as a possible interview candidate, also think about including non-profit scientific organizations that can corroborate facts, online sources that are reputable and can be easily found, and/or product manufacturers and service providers.

Finally, be prepared to try several times before getting a press release accepted by the media. Reporters tend to choose stories first from people and sources that they know and are familiar with, so it may take several tries before getting a release accepted. If a reporter does decide to do a story, cooperate as much as possible, but don’t be surprised if the final result isn’t exactly what you imagined. The important thing is to establish a good relationship with the press.

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