Friday, June 22, 2007

Press releases

Every week, I slog through 100 press releases or so.

As an editorial assistant, I write briefs for each issue that look like this:

InfoPrint Solutions Co., the Boulder-based joint venture printing company announced earlier this year by IBM Corp. and Ricoh, has begun operations with 1,200 employees around the world. The company was formerly IBM's Printing Systems Division.

If you want to get through to newspapers, study exactly how their news looks, and format your releases accordingly, or sign up for PR Newswire. Too many people try and do it by themselves, to disastrous effects:

(made up example)
Hundreds of thousands of old people die alone. 50 percent of old women have only their cats to keep them company. 75 percent of Baby Boomers will be divorced by the time they are 60.
Nonprofit X works to help old people transition from a life of solitude to one of great joy by connecting them with elephants that know sign language. Since its founding in 1998, Nonprofit X has appeared at 200 senior center functions, bringing elephants for the seniors to talk to.

(many paragraphs later)
By the way, we hired a new executive director.

By far the best person who sends my newspaper press releases is Boulder's Best Organics, a company that puts together organic gift collections. They write just one or two sentences, because they understand that we have a section of briefs that are just one or two sentences long.

If you want to get through to people like me, make it really easy for us to understand the information in just a few seconds.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the big issue is putting the most important information up front. Most press releases are probably long because the companies hope you will print the whole thing- it's free advertising for them- also the press releases go out to dozens, if not hundreds of papers, and most probably use a one-size-fits- all approach.