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Successful News Releases – 7 Must-Know Tips

By Barrie Zwicker

Before you send out your next news release review the following:

  1. Make sure it’s important enough. One or two “ho-hum” news releases are like crying wolf. If you get a reputation for sending out releases when they aren’t warranted, you may end up being ignored when your organization has something really important to tell the world.

  2. Make it short, preferably one page (275 - 600 words).

  3. Include the Five W’s: who, what, when, where, why. If you have useful background material, send it as an attachment or provide a link to a page on your website.

  4. Use clear ordinary language.

  5. Be sure to include the name or names of people in your organization who can be reached before and after office hours in case of questions. List business and home phone numbers. One unanswered phone can “turn off” a reporter on a bad day.

  6. Consider how and when to release your information. Keep deadlines in mind. You could release your information - if it’s important enough – on a riverbank (pollution story), courthouse steps (legal case) or at the home of your president.

  7. At the end of every news release, include “See our listing in Sources” This reminds journalists of an excellent additional source of information about you – one at their fingertips. It shows how serious and organized you are about media relations. The journalist recipients of your press release will tend to remember – between press releases – they can find you in Sources.

Barrie Zwicker is Publisher Emeritus of Sources and Parliamentary Names & Numbers and a Segment Presenter specializing in media criticism and the Internet on Vision-TV’s daily human affairs program Skylight. He can be reached at 416-651-5558.

See also:
News releases that work -- and those that don’t
The Princess and the Press
Put it in writing
Using History to Write Powerful Leads
Free for the asking
6 Tips for Writing a Successful VNR
Video News Releases
How to Make Your B-roll Work
Sources News Release Service