Up here, flush right, type:
name of sender
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Use news releases to share information.
Write a sub-head, too.
PHILADELPHIA, date …. “News releases inform the media about what your organization is doing,” says Susie Perloff, Philadelphia writer and writing trainer. She cautions against formulaic, dull announcements and recommends “writing tight, bright tidbits about worthwhile or important information.”
A news release releases news about and builds awareness of your organization. “Your release should pique writers’ and editors’ interest,” she says. “Do not aim to see your release printed intact. Try instead to generate larger, longer or different stories. Let editors ask more questions.”
“I look at releases as news stories,” says Malayna J. Perloff, a former member of the marketing communications staff at the University of Pennsylvania Health System and the public relations staffs of the American Red Cross and Philadelphia Mayor John Street. “If people stop reading after the first paragraph, would they know what I thought was important?”
Disseminate news releases to spread the word about corporate changes, impressive sales growth, new boards members or other essential stuff.
Since most people ignore most news releases, you need to write intelligent copy. To fascinate editors, Susie Perloff says:
- Get to the point. Begin when and where the news begins, not with the founding of the company or organization.
- Avoid negatives, primarily because they are harder to read than positives. Don’t write, The clinic will not be open Thursday evenings or Sunday afternoons. Instead write, The clinic will be open all week except Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons.
- Skip propaganda.
- Shun trite quotes. The new executive director of an association says, “I’m motivated by improving the quality of life for people.” Who isn’t? Draft a better quotation for her.
“When releases follow the industry’s best practices, editors, reporters and producers are more likely to heed them,” Perloff says, offering specifics:
- Choose Times New Roman and/or Arial, which are the most common fonts.
- Write tight. Shortest is best. One page or less.
- Use bulleted lists for brevity and clarity.
- Use the present tense to discuss current, continuing or future activities. Use the past tense for completed actions. Since the present tense tends to appear more in features-y publications and newspaper sections, use it when that’s your audience.
- Type it double-spaced, with one-inch margins.
End with “boilerplate” material, including links, about your organization, like this: WriterPhiladelphia.com has a blog that teaches adults to write nonfiction. And that’s the truth.