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Producing Press Materials

Well developed press materials can be a powerful part of your business' public relations program. Learn the nuts and bolts of producing press materials that get results.

Excerpted from the book "Business: The Ultimate Resource"
Reprinted with Permission

Planning Press Releases

A press release is a piece of information distributed to newspaper, television, or radio journalists which is published or broadcast as a piece of news. It can cover a variety of topics, including:

 

  • Information on new products or services 
  • Information on developments in a company 
  • News of new appointments or promotions

An effective press release should contain news rather than thinly disguised advertising, and it should reflect readers' interests.

The release may be used without modification if it is newsworthy and if space permits. The press release mat be cut to fit available space without any further reference to you. In some cases, a journalist or editor may contact you for further information and rewrite the item in the style of the publication. Sometimes the information may not be used, because it is not newsworthy or not relevant to the readership. Alternatively, although the main press release may not be used, an accompanying photograph may be used with a caption.

Producing a Press Release

The following guidelines will help you produce an effective press release:

  • Press releases should be typed double spaced 
  • The source of the release should be clearly identified 
  • A contact name for further information should be provided 
  • Any limitations on use or timing of publication should be clearly highlighted, for example, "not for publication before…" 
  • The most important information should be included in the early paragraphs. If an editor is short of space, the press release will be cut as simply and quickly as possible, probably from the bottom upward.
  • Quotes are useful and are frequently used by editors. 
  • Photographs or diagrams add value to the release and may help to insure publication.

Distributing Press Releases

Press releases can be delivered by hand or by mail, depending on quantity. They can also be sent by email or placed on s web site so that they can be picked up by visiting journalists. Whenever possible, they should be sent to a named individual. Information on editorial contacts, with details of their special interests, is available in publications like Public Relations Quarterly, which is updated regularly. If you do not want the information published before a certain date for reasons of commercial security, include an embargo - "not for publication before … "

Timing for Press Releases

Check the publication dates or magazines or newspapers on your distribution list. This information is available in publications such as Public Relations Quarterly. An editorial copy date will be indicated. Ensure that your release reaches the editor by that date at the latest.

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