Apr 012017
 

 

Susan Almon-Pesch - Digital

Talk about a winning technology trend! With the arrival of news release services like PR Newswire, Business Wire, PRWeb, PR.com, OnlinePRNews, eReleases, and others, there is no excuse for not getting your news out to the world.

With a properly crafted news release, your news will be accepted for distribution – for a fee. The fee will vary based on the service and its offerings. I don’t want to hear any whimpering. You get what you pay for.

WVM July 2015 Sue DIGITAL ImageApple CEO Tim Cook said it best, “When any online service is free, you’re not the customer. You are the product.” Think before you drop your information on a free news distribution site. Look at it this way, you just took five steps forward getting your news ready – and now 10 steps backwards posting it on a site that may not be using best practices.

Let’s look at the release bare bones basics. Next month’s column will cover what your skeleton should wear and what it shouldn’t.

A hint – WRITING HEADLINES OR TEXT IN ALL CAPS is a nada. Using adjectives like best, greatest, and largest is off limits. Make no bones about it—there’s a format you need to follow.

How do you write a press release? Here’s my news release writing recommendations based on my experience in public relations.

Headline

News sites and search engines have headline limits on what they will display. So, keep in mind your headline’s number of characters with spaces (c-w-sp) when developing headlines. Google likes 60, and Yahoo! likes 120. My headlines typically come in between 60 and 85.

Tip:

When working in Word, click on the tab at the bottom left that shows the number of words in your doc. A dialog box will open with the information you need to easily calculate your c-w-sp. Highlight your headline text, and it will let you know the count.

Example:

This headline is 81 c-w-sp.

Lisa Zonder Named 2015-2016 President-Elect of Collaborative Practice California

Summary

The summary is just that – a summary. What’s your news in a nut shell? It should be approximately one to two sentences. Be sure to use your company’s name in the summary, so the audience will know it’s about your company.

Example:

Lisa Zonder of Zonder Family Law has been named 2015-2016 President-elect of Collaborative Practice California (CP Cal). Practice groups include Collaborative lawyers, mental health professionals who serve as divorce coaches, financial professionals, and child specialists.

Dateline

The dateline is the designation before the start of a story. It contains the city from which the story was filed. The name of the city should be in all caps, and the name of the state in upper and lowercase. Use the AP Stylebook for proper state abbreviations – not zip code state abbreviations i.e. Mich. vs. MI. Follow with the distribution service if you are using one and the date of distribution and a long dash.

Example:

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. (PRWEB) June 01, 2015 –

Lead Paragraph

The opening paragraph should succinctly answer all of the 5Ws of your news. State the who, what, where, why, and when in a factual manner. Do your job well, and the media may actually take this copy as you have written it and report it.

Example:

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. (PRWEB) June 01, 2015 — Westlake Village family law attorney Lisa Zonder of Zonder Family Law was installed as president-elect of Collaborative Practice California (CP Cal) at its annual conference at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel on Saturday, April 25. With her president-elect appointment, the organization has recognized her dedication to raising awareness of ways to solve divorce conflicts out of court, using an integrated professional team.

Body Copy

The body of the release is three to four paragraphs covering the details of the news. Include facts to support your story. Add details. Using our example, explain what CP Cal is all about. How has Lisa Zonder been involved with the organization? What will her responsibilities be as the president-elect?

In addition, be sure to add one or two quotes from the person featured and/or key staff, clients, thought leaders, or people involved in your news.

Example:

“I am looking forward to my role as president-elect for CP Cal. Consumer education is key. Couples contemplating a divorce need to know there are options beyond court-based leveraged negotiations,” said Lisa Zonder. “The Collaborative Practice through CP Cal represents a change in how we resolve disputes. Divorce is not a one-size-fits-all process. Using Collaborative Practice, we help people maintain privacy as well as the integrity of what’s in their family’s best interest.”

Final Paragraph

You can you do a quick summary statement and/or tell the audience how they can reach you and or company. Be sure to include the link to your website.

Example:

For more information about Zonder Family Law, visit http://www.zonderfamilylaw.com

Boilerplate Statement

This is where you include the standard information about your company or featured people. It can range from 80 words to 120 words. This copy can be picked up and used for all of your releases. Just be sure to update it if the information changes.

Example:

About Zonder Family Law
Founded in 2003 by Lisa Zonder, Zonder Family Law, is a boutique family law firm specializing in out-of-court resolutions for complex matters. Zonder is a 23+ year veteran attorney and a Certified Family Law Specialist (State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization – 1999). Zonder is a “peacemaker.” Zonder Family Law provides options to resolve divorce while keeping costs down, reducing frustration, and protecting client self-respect and privacy. Alternatives include traditional (court) divorce, mediated divorce, Collaborative divorce, and private dispute resolution. The firm handles complex divorces involving business valuations. Zonder has experience handling divorces for athletes, biotech execs, celebrities, film industry, fire fighters, law enforcement, lawyers, physicians, scientists, stay-at-home parents, and teachers. For more information, visit http://www.zonderfamilylaw.com.

Contact Information

This key information provides the media and everyone else who may see your release, a way to reach you. Be sure to include your name, phone number, and email address.

Example:

Susan Almon-Pesch
(858) 205-0516
sue@speschialpr.com

Success Story

My client Lisa Zonder is an exceptional Collaborative divorce attorney, mediator, and divorce lawyer. Please take a moment to view her news release as it appears online here.

As I get ready to buzz away, here’s some more bee trivia — bees gather 10 pounds of nectar to make one pound of honey, and a foraging honey bee can carry 80% of their weight in pollen or nectar. Be sure to wing your way back to this hive each month to learn the fundamentals and “how to’s” of creating your own public relations department.

Let’s get YOUR buzz on!

Susan Almon-Pesch is the founder of Market 4 Profit, and her full service ad agency was named Small Business of the Year and ranked in the Top 25 agencies in Western New York. In 1988 Susan was elected the first woman president in the 70-year history of the 250 member Buffalo / Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives, and she was the first woman inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1992. ContactWebsiteFacebookLinkedInTwitter

Photo Credit –  renjith krishnan