By Paul J. Krupin, author of the book “Trash Proof News Releases”
Getting publicity to attract attention and get the word out in your local area, field, or industry is crucial to jump starting any marketing or promotion effort. Ask any editor most news releases end up in the trash can or recycling bin. But how do you prepare and transmit an effective news release so that it will actually achieve results?
Most people have real difficulty writing press releases. Some people even compare writing a press release to working while under the influence of a week-long migraine headache. Ugh!
You don’t have to strain your brain. Relax! Believe it or not, it’s easy to have fun when you write a news release. You can minimize the hassle and help yourself to a great news release with something I call the “The 3 I Technique”. Here’s how.
Start by using the following basic assessment strategy to define what to say in a basic press release:
- Who are my customers?
- What do they read, watch or listen to when they get information that motivates them to buy a product I can offer?
- What media allow me to target these people with a news release in the way they appear to be responding?
- What types of articles or feature options are presented in the media you’ve identified?
- What can you offer to match the readership and editorial interests you’ve identified?
The answers to these questions establish your writing environment. To make the actual news release creation process simple, you then utilize “The 3 I Technique” to see what you can learn about what your key target media look for. This can be a very insightful experience and you can learn how to do it and develop your own great news releases.
The specific goal in this case is to learn and devise an approach to getting in to say, USA Today. Of course, you can use this technique to write news releases for any individual publication or a target group of publications.
The 3 I Technique is pretty simple and works like this:
- Identify a successful model.
- Imitate the structure and content of the success model.
- Innovate with your own information.
- Step 1: Select your top media or publication.Study it carefully and identify a successful article or book or product review similar to what you want to offer. What you are looking for is an article that is just like what you wish would be written about you. If you want to be in USA Today, study USA Today. Look at and analyze five to ten USA Today articles.In each case plan to evaluate their writing structure and glean what USA Today produces from their contributing reviewers.Identify and review the number of words in each article and know that a one-page news release can have between 200 and 400 words and still fit on one page in 14-point type.Identify the number of words per paragraph.Identify the number of sentences per paragraph.After analyzing five to ten articles, select one or two of them as your favorites. These are your success models to emulate.
- Step 2: Imitate the structure and content of the success model.Develop a general outline of the structure and purpose of each sentence and paragraph in your chosen success model article. Do this so that your own article will parallel the outline of the successfully published review article.Then start at the headline. Then go on to the first sentence, then the second, then the third, and so on.Describe what each sentence is all about and what the editor is writing, and how he or she is communicating with his or her audience.
- Step 3: Innovate with your own information.Using the success model as a guide, you now write sentences, one at a time, which match the length, tone and function of the sentences and paragraphs you see in the article you are using as a model.As you do this, something very interesting and magical will happen.You will come really close to matching the editorial interest, readership interest and style of USA Today, or whatever publication you are aiming at. You are putting yourself in the position of the writer as if one is writing a news release so that an editor can use it for an article.At the top you place “News Release” or “For Immediate Release” and the contact name and phone number.To this you add the name or title or description of whatever you are offering, price and ordering information plus words. You also express offers to the media for free media kits and review copies, high-resolution color photography, and contact information with the statement “available for interview”.
Then you are done. You can transmit your news release. You can send it to your specific target media and every other media in the similar and related categories of potential interest.
You can uncover some very interesting trends when you do this exercise on a particular publication.
You will learn what the editors want. You will find out whether they like it long and wordy or short and punchy. You will find out whether short means good, or long means bad, or visa versa.
You will learn whether they need to know the number of pages and the publisher of the book, the ISBN and other contact and cost and ordering information.
You will learn whether or not you should even make any mention of how your product, service or book is being marketed. Some publications will provide contact information in articles and some won’t. Most of the biggest ones won’t. Is this a surprise? It shouldn’t be. However it is disappointing. You get the publicity because you’ve persuaded the editor that you are newsworthy, but you don’t always get your toll free number mentioned.
Use the “3 I Technique” to assess the best way to design a news release and adapt your approach to any publication you want to be in or any broadcast show on radio or TV you want to be on.
Listen to radio talk shows or watch key TV shows and learn what the producers want and demand of their guests. Then use the 3 I Technique to design your news release and create an approach that will be persuasive with the decision-makers. Match their needs and do your best to give them what they want. Use your news release to show them you’ve done your homework and prepared to address their needs. When you go the extra mile, they are far more likely to respond favorably.
Use the “3 I technique” to evaluate the style, editorial interest and readership or audience interests and the nature of the information your target publication needs. Factor what you uncover into your news release and approach.
This technique can help anyone create a really great news release. Use it. You give the editors exactly what and they in turn will give you what you want .