Get the Word Out Press Releases The Press Release The press release is a tried-and-true public relations tool, and has been one of the most popular communication formats for PR pros for many years, even today with so many online options. A press release that is actually picked up and printed in a national publication reaching your target market can pay off big time. Compelling topics for your press release What is press worthy Last week we discussed topics that are relevant to media, tying into the seasons, trends, current events etc., to help you create a more compelling press release. Think like an editor, giving them information that interests them and ultimately their audience. Again, consider, “What’s in it for them?” The media love stories presented with concise bullets. Example: "Six Tips to Stay Cool, Calm and Collected this Summer". Or, "Five essential foods for healthy school lunches or "Upcoming Workshop Offers 10 tips on____ Divide your press release into sections: a. b. c. d. e. f. Contact information For immediate release Press release headline Subhead (can be used to further explain headline) Dateline and lead paragraph Press release body i. Address the Who, What, Why, When, How in more detail ii. Human interest quote g. Call to action h. Boilerplate Agency Contact: Holly Padove (805) 773-1000; [email protected] Client Contact: Caroline Duell (805) 464-0464; [email protected] FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Elemental Herbs “All Good Lips” Lip Balms Feature All Good Ingredients For Healthy, Kissable Summer Lips MORRO BAY, CA (March 19, 2010) – Elemental Herbs’ commitment to beneficial ingredients in its line of healing products is more than just lip service. “All Good Lips™” SPF organic lip balm is now all the more natural with the ingredient oxybenzone removed from the formula. “We stand by our intention to use the safest ingredients for both people and planet – our customers know that they can count on us for this,” said Caroline Duell, president of Elemental Herbs. With an SPF of 12, the formula provides unsurpassed moisturizing and healing benefits, along with more than 90 percent coverage from the sun’s harmful rays. One of the few lip balms including certified organic and natural ingredients, All Good Lips SPF formulas are offered in original, sweet tangerine and cool spearmint flavors, and in a non-SPF moisturizing-only formula. Ingredients include 100 percent botanical essential oils, organic infused dried medicinal herbs, organic extra virgin olive oil and pure beeswax. Individual lip balms retail for $3.50 each at retailers nationwide or at www.elementalherbs.com. Elemental Herbs organic herbal-based healing formulas include All Good Goop™ healing balm, All Good Lips™ lip balms, Herbal Cool™ pain relief spray and Sunscreen Sport™ zinc-based sunscreens. The products are currently available online and at 400+ retailers nationwide, including health food stores, outdoor sports shops and high-end gift shops. The company donates one percent of its revenues to environmental organizations through 1% for the Planet and tests only on humans. For more information, visit the website at www.elementalherbs.com; or contact Caroline Duell at [email protected]; (805) 464-0464. For more details, images or samples, media may contact Holly Padove at [email protected]; (805) 773-1000. The Press Release Headline If your headline fails, your press release will never see the light of day. If the headline is appealing, the editor then scans the first paragraph (also known as the lead paragraph) to see if the press release bears further reading. If the headline is vague the editor usually passes on the press release rather than taking the time to determine if the press release is worth pursuing. Sample Headline: Elemental Herbs “All Good Lips” Lip Balms Feature All Good Ingredients For Healthy, Kissable Summer Lips (word count 16, characters 89) The Lead First Paragraph- The Lead The lead summarizes the information found in the release, answering the Who, What, When, Where and Why (in particular for a calendar or event based release.) The following paragraphs will give additional details. The lead, like all paragraphs in your release, shouldn’t be more than a couple of sentences, or contain any unattributed opinions or quotes. Example: For example: If you don't eat healthy, it's likely you'll feel tired in the afternoon. As opposed to "If you don't eat healthy, it's likely you'll feel tired by afternoon," explained Holly Padove, clinical Ayurvedic specialist. Examples: MORRO BAY, CA (March 19, 2010) – Elemental Herbs’ commitment to beneficial ingredients in its line of healing products is more than just lip service. “All Good Lips™” SPF organic lip balm is now all the more natural with the ingredient oxybenzone removed from the formula. SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA (March 20, 2012) - With Father's Day around the corner, many fun, family-oriented activities celebrate dad's special day. Live Oak Music Festival, taking place Father's Day weekend, July 15-17, in Santa Ynez, offers just that opportunity with music, food and fun for the entire family... The Body Copy Now’s your chance to tell your story. And, like any news story, the purpose is to provide your reader with information. Remember to keep your tone neutral and objective—like a newscaster vs. an advertisement. The main body copy is typically two to three paragraphs, however can be as brief as one paragraph. Don't add irrelevant information if it's not significant. The paragraphs below can be flipped, depending on the material. Body Copy Opening paragraph (body copy) Elaborate on who, what, when, where, why and how in more detail, if you didn't cover this information in its entirety in the lead paragraph or have additional important details to add. Next paragraph Add details to your press release that support your claim, add interest, or reinforce what you are trying to say. Examples include quotes from yourself or other key people, customers, experts in the particular subject matter, statistics, charts, etc. Summary or more details paragraph Traditionally, the final paragraph of a news release contains the least important information. It could be used to summarize the key points of the overall release, or is the section where you can add even more details, depending on the nature of your release. Example Body: “We stand by our intention to use the safest ingredients for both people and planet – our customers know that they can count on us for this,” said Caroline Duell, president of Elemental Herbs. With an SPF of 12, the formula provides unsurpassed moisturizing and healing benefits, along with more than 90 percent coverage from the sun’s harmful rays. One of the few lip balms including certified organic and natural ingredients, All Good Lips SPF formulas are offered in original, sweet tangerine and cool spearmint flavors, and in a non-SPF moisturizing-only formula. Ingredients include 100 percent botanical essential oils, organic infused dried medicinal herbs, organic extra virgin olive oil and pure beeswax. Call to Action & Additional Information The final paragraph may be as little as one or two sentences, providing customers, for example, with a phone number to call to register for a workshop, or a listing of stores or websites where they can purchase your product, or information on how to book an appointment with you. EXAMPLE Individual lip balms retail for $3.50 each at retailers nationwide or at www.elementalherbs.com. Boilerplate The boilerplate is the "about us" section. EXAMPLE: Elemental Herbs products are currently available online and at 400+ retailers nationwide, including health food stores, outdoor sports shops and high-end gift shops. The company donates one percent of its revenues to environmental organizations through 1% for the Planet and tests only on humans. For more information, visit the website at www.elementalherbs.com; or contact Caroline Duell at [email protected]; (805) 464-0464. Press Release Recap Communicate the who, what, when, where, why, and how. Write short, and easy-to-understand sentences. On average, depending on the nature of your release, a press release is approximately 400 words, with short paragraphs. The first paragraph should only be about three sentences. Don't directly address the client or your target audience ( calling them “you”). Do not refer to yourself or your company as “I,” “we”— both this and the bullet point above flag that the information is a selling piece vs. news. Instead, write in third person, using he/she, they, and referring to yourself by name. For example instead of saying I will be offering... I would write Holly Padove will be offering.... The exception would be if you were quoting yourself or someone else. "I think Ayurveda will make big strides in changing the way people see themselves," said Ayurvedic Specialist Holly Padove. Tips Continued Don't use exclamation points; inflated product/service claims; descriptions of a product or service as amazing, etc., or capital letters to CREATE EMPHASIS—as your message looks less credible as a result. Don't Create link spam. Include no more than one to three links your release. While a few links are great, too many links can cause your press release to be flagged as spam and buried in search results. Stay Focused. Many writers try to cram too many themes into one message, with the intent of appealing to multiple audiences. Unfortunately, the main effect is that your main message gets watered down and is more likely not to get read. DO double, even triple check your spelling and grammar and make sure to use complete sentences – Have someone that’s good with words proof your document and read it again after 24 hours. Don’t use a lot of frivolous adjectives or opinions. Only use opinions if you are quoting someone, otherwise, stick to the facts! Press Release Example Contact: Holly Padove (805) 440-4561; [email protected] FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Introduction to Ayurveda Workshop Provides Tools for Healthy Living SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA (August 12, 2008) – Learn how to eat well and stay healthy this fall with a five-session “Introduction to Ayurveda” workshop, offered at Smiling Dog Yoga studio on Thursdays from September 11-October 9 from 6:30-8 p.m. The workshop is $89; $79 for students and senior citizens. Preregistration is necessary through Smiling Dog Yoga, 1227 Archer St. in San Luis Obispo, 546-9100. Interested participants can also register online at www.smilingdogyogaslo.com. Taught by Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist Holly Padove, the five sessions will cover topics including food choices, herbs and spices for health, harmonious daily routines, yoga, exercise, meditation aromatherapy and more. These easy-to-implement daily choices will provide invaluable tools for better living, whether new to Ayurveda or familiar with the concepts. Ayurveda is the ancient healing science from India that offers a balanced and natural approach to optimal health, for everything from weight loss to increased energy. Padove also has a private Ayurvedic practice, Balanced Living Ayurveda, located in Arroyo Grande where she offers wellness consultations to clients. For more information on Balanced Living Ayurveda, visit www.balancedlivingayurveda.com. Formatting a press release Contact For Immediate Release Headline Dateline and lead paragraph Space so it it easy to read – 1.5 recommended or single space with double spacing between paragraphs Logo • If you have a logo, include your logo on the top left Formatting a Press Release 1. Contact information – Flush right, Single Space. List contact/phone/email/web site; Logo is flush Left (or above left) 2. One or two Lines down: For Immediate Release, bolded, aligned left – Starting now, the remainder of the release is at 1.5 spaces 4. Next line, heading – Try to fit in one line; two is acceptable– Bolded & Centered – one or two fonts larger than text 5. Next – Dateline and lead paragraph – City is always capitalized, state is two letter abbreviation. Date is next in parenthesis, with year as well. This first paragraph is not tabbed 6. Start tabbing in on second paragraph, use tabs to separate paragraphs 7. Embed images and link to your website, for example or other significant information available on another site to support your release 8. Final step is to make sure the body of the release is justified (and make sure that all margins line up on the right side). Look for extra spaces and delete them – normally between sentences. Links The simple act of embedding an anchor text link creates a call to action, inviting interested readers to take the next step and visit the linked website. Also keep in mind that easy formatting changes such as using bulleted lists and bold paragraph headers capture attention when readers scan your content, and make it easy for journalists and socially connected readers to understand and share key messages. Visuals (images) It is important to use visuals in PR campaigns and press releases. Include photos, a graph or chart, or even a link to a YouTube video if you have one. If you don't have any photos available, then grab a stock photo (example below from Google Images). Some of them are free. However, make sure to use a "low resolution" photo. Definition Sometimes abbreviated as lo-res., low resolution is the computer screen, image, or printed page that is pixilated. When referring to a low resolution screen or image on the computer, this commonly refers to a picture that has a small amount of pixels. To make your image low resolution: In Photoshop, open the photo, go to Edit and go to Image Size... Change the DPI (dots per inch) to around 72 or so... That's considered low-resolution. You may have other programs on your computer that allow you to resize your photo. If they are too high of resolution, they take a lot of space (Megabytes), and therefore the editor may not be able to easily open your email (clogging up their email system), or it may go to spam if it is too large. Fatal Attachments The fastest way to make your press release hit the recycle bin is to send it as attached mail. Attachments take more time to read since it may require the editor to save the file to disk, switch to a word processing program and hunt for the directory the file was saved into before they can see what the release is all about. What’s worse is that attachments can carry viruses. Cut and paste your press release into the body of the email. Make it a font that's used by a wide range of computers, such as Times New Roman. Email Subject Line In general, use your headline as the subject line of the e-mail. If you've written a good "grabber" headline, this will help your message stand out in the editor's e-mail inbox. Avoid vague language for snappier subject lines. To elicit a response, your email communication, starting from the subject line, needs to be specific in terms what you’re promoting and the action you’re prompting your recipients to take $$$$!!!!! Madness Repeating dollar signs and exclamation marks in your subject line or text makes your press release look like an opportunity scam. It may make your press release get blocked by spam filters, too. If you want editors to receive your news release and take it seriously, ditch those dollar signs and exclamation points and replace the hype with persuasive facts. Send your Release as a “BCC” Nothing is more annoying to a busy editor than opening an email and seeing dozens of email addresses including their own on the addressee list. To avoid annoying writers and editors learn how to use the blind copy function in email.