General News Releases

First, collect all the relevant facts and then check them to make sure that they are absolutely correct. The onus is on the writer to ensure that he issues nothing that is incorrect. Unlike the media he has the time and the opportunity to get the story right. This in itself is good press relations. He will become trusted and his material will be sought after if he establishes a reputation for reliability. Having assembled the facts the press release should be written in the following way.

i) Headline: The headline should not be clever but should identify what the story is about. It is unlikely that the headline will be printed, editors preferring to be original or to write headlines that fit the space.

ii) Subject: The Subject should be in the first few words, and preferably in the first. Many rejected news stories suffer from the defect that the subject is buried in the third or fourth paragraph. The writer must also decide what exactly is the subject. If the company name is the subject it should be presented as simply as possible, maybe in its abbreviated form. The full name can come later. And if the company is part of a group, dragging or referring the group name in the first sentence, no matter what the directors may be, should be avoided.

iii) Opening Paragraph: The opening paragraph should summarize the main points of the whole story. It may be all that will get printed. Write in interesting way, so that readers feel driven to read further.

iv) Development: The development should follow in paragraphs, which give the facts in a logical sequence such as advantages, applications, and specifications. Writer should always bear in mind that readers will read those news only which has significance to them, directly or indirectly. While writing, keep these three points in mind.

v) Final Paragraph: The final paragraph should give the name and address of the organization, and the source of any additional information or material, such as price lists, data sheets, samples or demonstrations. The story should bear the name of the author, and be dated for sure. There is no need to use an embargo unless the media are privileged to receive the story in advance, as with an annual report or a copy of a speech that is to be made.

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