A News Release Is Not An Ad
You have sent a press release. Then a newspaper or magazine (or both, oh happy day) published an article about you based on the publication. Whoopee! Break out of Dom Perignon!
It is true that an article about your company has a positive effect on your company. Not only do you increase your business, you can also use the article in a variety of ways. You can reprint the article to send to current customers and prospects, and you can use the article in your advertising. The article immediately gives you credibility.
How do you get all this free advertising? You are on the way to becoming a newspaper or magazine article if you find that a press release is NOT a DISPLAY. It’s news about your company. If your press release has a hint of advertising, it hits the circle of journalists faster than you needed to lick the stamp and stick it on the envelope.
Unfortunately, many small business owners and even many copywriters do not realize the difference between advertising and a press release.
What is the difference between a press release and an ad?
A press release gives the FACTS. Only the simple, unvarnished, unvarnished facts. It does not try to sell the business. It does not say how wonderful the business, the service or the product is, there are verifiable facts.
Suppose you are a copywriter. They went alone and just started a new text business. You have therefore decided to send a press release to your new company.
The fact that you started a text services business is a fact. The name of your company and its address are a fact. The hours you are open for business: fact.
A biographical note about yourself gives facts.
A statement made in quotation marks as part of the press release is also a fact. The publication could include the following paragraph:
Felicity Jones said, “I look forward to becoming part of the Ocean Park business community and introducing myself to local business owners who have shown great interest in my services.” ‘
Remember, a press release contains: FACTS.
A NEWS press release is also newspaper-style, ie the reverse-pyramid style.
=> Reverse pyramid style
A press release is written in the style of a “reverse pyramid”. Imagine a pyramid. Put it on the top. You now have the broad base at the top. This means that the base of the story or the root of the story comes first.
For this reason, press releases have the following structure: a headline and the first paragraph contains the most important information. The first paragraph tells the whole story.
Then each subsequent paragraph contains more information in descending order. You can chop off each of the later paragraphs and still make the story meaningful.
I like to use a headline in a press release, but this is optional. Unlike the headline in an ad, your headline should not be cute or tricky, but summarize the story in five or six words. For example: ‘kindergarten gives away free trees’; ‘New shop opened’; ‘Delaney sponsors local swimmers’.
The first paragraph is your story in a nutshell: who, what, how, when, where and why. It is easy to write. Just state your case. Say who you are, what you do, how you do it, where you do it and why.
Here is an example of a headline and the first paragraph of a press release:
LOCAL WRITER OPENS NEW COPYWRITING BUSINESSS
Last Thursday, local writer Samantha Jones opened Pine Ridge’s first copywriting business, Just Add Words, at 4784 Boundary Road. Ms. Jones said, “I decided to start my new business when I realized that Pine Ridge has two secretarial and three printing companies, but nobody helps local businesses to write their marketing communications.”
As you can see, in the first paragraph the whole story is told, and they are all facts. Let’s hope an enterprising journalist decides to call Samantha and write a story about Samantha’s new business.
If you’re new to writing press releases, go to the library and pick up a few public relations books. The books provide a wealth of information on finding material for press releases and sample publications.
Take note of some of the so-called press releases that you find online. Most of them are just advertising, disguised to look like a publication. They are not press releases because press releases contain facts.
Good luck with your press releases and remember: Just enter the facts.