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Tuesday
Aug042009

Press Release Week:: Part II:: Format

This is Part II of a five-part, weeklong series about how and why to write a press release. Click here for other installments. Come back tomorrow when we discuss the 5 Ws. Friday evening (August 7, 2009) one winner will be drawn to receive a special package from Market Mommy, including a press release, business card design and button ad design. The package is valued at $75! Please read the fine print at the end of the post for details on how to enter. You can register up to six times each day!!


If you want your release to be taken seriously it needs to be correctly formatted, plain and simple. An editor can take one glance at a release and by that first impression decide whether to even read your release, much less publish it. There are a few other acceptable variations to this format, but I am going to walk you through the format that I use and that has been successful for me.

1. Logo:: If you are sending out a hard copy press release, either by mail or fax, this is probably going to take care of itself. Logos are usually found on letterhead and other office stationary. However, if you are sending out an electronic release, which is now the norm, you will need to make sure that your logo and business identity are clearly recognized. It all goes back to basic branding!

 

2. Date:: You definitely want editors to know when the release was sent out. This keeps them reassured that the information is timely and gives them a reference if they ever do any type of historical piece in the future.

3. For immediate release:: In some very rare instances press releases are distributed before they are to be made public. In other words, they are sent out as a sneak peek or heads up to editors. This doesn’t happen very often, but it is still common courtesy to let your contacts know the information is fair game, immediately.

 

4. Headline:: A strong, attention-grabbing headline is crucial. It should be direct, descriptive and one line or less. A headline can make or break your release. A factual headline will get you much further than a fluffy one.

5. Subhead:: In some instances it is necessary to provide additional information to your one-line headline. For instance, when I launched Market Mommy I included a subhead because I felt I needed to further explain the new concept of the site. Use your best judgment, a subhead can be helpful in clarifying a headline.

6. Dateline:: This tells the media where the release is originating from, or where your company is physically located. This is very important for regional publications or if you are announcing an event. It should be formatted as shown. The city should be placed in all capital letters followed by a comma and the state name. There is more information about datelines in the Associated Press Stylebook, which we will talk more about on Thursday.

 

7. Lead:: Aside from your headline, the next most important line in your release is your first sentence, or lead. It should be packed with facts, answer most, if not all, of the who, what, when, where and why, and leave your reader wanting to read more.

8. Link:: If you are sending out an electronic release, it will save your contacts an extra step by including a link within the text of your release. Launching a new online store? Link to it. Launching a new line? Link to that line.

 

9. Body:: This is where the meat of your information goes. Give your essential details here. If you can include a quote, maybe from a satisfied customer or the business owner, place it here.

 

10. Boilerplate Statement:: Every company should have a general boilerplate statement that describes the company. A few sentences that summarize the company’s history and offerings can go along way if you use it consistently.

11. Contact Info:: It doesn’t matter how you decide to format your press release, it is CRITICAL that you include your contact information. Editors work on short deadlines, if they want to contact you and follow up on your release they will want to do it quickly. If they do not have your contact information, they will not seek it out, rather they will toss your release aside. If there is no contact information it is a quick sign of incompetency.

 

12. Photo caption/Media opportunity:: If you have additional information to provide, i.e. a photo caption or details about setting up an interview, it should go at the end of your release. I typically use asterisks to let the reader know it stands apart from the body of the release.

 

13. ###:: Always let the reader know they have reached the end of your release by placing three pound signs at the bottom.

As you can see, a lot goes into writing a press release. But, if you take your time and go step by step, you can write a great, attention grabbing release! Be sure to stop by tomorrow when we’ll visit the 5 Ws.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The fine print::
First and foremost the marketing package won must be used to promote a legitimate, mom-owned business. (Market Mommy reserves the right to disqualify any entrant on the basis of this criteria) Winners will be chosen by random.org. Below are the ways to register, you may come back and do the following EACH DAY for each new post! Be sure to leave a comment with a link for each entry or it won’t count! (Comments close each day at 11:59 p.m. EST)
1. Leave a comment on this post, any comment.
2. Join the Market Mommy mailing list (box to the right of this post) or comment and tell me you’re on the list.
3. Follow this blog or comment and tell me you are already a follower.
4. Become a Fan of Market Mommy on Facebook or comment and tell me you’re already a fan.
5. Follow Market Mommy on Twitter and Tweet about this giveaway, if you’re already a follower, just tweet.
6. Blog about this giveaway or grab our button ... you must link back to either this blog or Market Mommy's official site.

 

Monday
Aug032009

Press Release Week:: Part I:: Purpose

This is Part I of a five-part, weeklong series about how and why to write a press release. Click here for other installments. Be sure to visit tomorrow when we discuss how to format your release. Friday evening (August 7, 2009) one winner will be drawn to receive a special package from Market Mommy, including a press release, business card design and button ad design. The package is valued at $75! Please read the fine print at the end of the post for details on how to enter. You can register up to six times each day!!

As all of us mom business owners know, advertising dollars are hard to come by. This is why Market Mommy is dedicating an entire week to press releases. As insignificant as they may seem, press releases have the potential to grow your business and catapult it in front of thousands, all for FREE.

Press Release:: A written public relations announcement distributed to the news media as a way to inform the public about company developments; also sometimes referred to as a media release or news release.

First and foremost, a press release must be used to disseminate information about something that is actually newsworthy. For instance; a grand opening, a new line, an event, a name change are all newsworthy items as they relate to your business. Be sure to latch on to what is unique about your story and highlight it in order to set yourself apart.

The ultimate goal of your release is to garner media attention. Typically, journalists use a press release as a base for a larger story. However, in some smaller markets especially, press releases may be ran as written; all the more reason why your release should be written with care.

Your release should be relatively short and direct. Media writing by nature isn’t fluffy. Just give the facts, don’t embellish or add unnecessary adjectives. Essentially, you need to write to the media. (We’ll talk more about that later this week.)

In news print, especially, space is limited. So, keep the critical information in your release toward the top so when cuts need to be made, editors can easily remove the ‘extra’ from the bottom. And, always, always pay close attention to grammar and punctuation.

Remember, your press release is written about a news item, not as a sales pitch. Keep your tone neutral and objective and write in third person. Avoid clichés and try to focus on what is new and unique about your news item. A well written press release is much more likely to be chosen by an editor for publication than a poorly written one full of errors and unrelated information.

So, now you are probably thinking that you need to write a press release, but how do you begin? Check back tomorrow when we discuss formatting your release. And, don’t forget to comment here for your chance to win $75 worth of marketing services from Market Mommy!



The fine print::

First and foremost the marketing package won must be used to promote a legitimate, mom-owned business. (Market Mommy reserves the right to disqualify any entrant on the basis of this criteria) Winners will be chosen by random.org. Below are the ways to register, you may come back and do the following EACH DAY for each new post! Be sure to leave a comment with a link for each entry or it won’t count! (Comments close each day at 11:59 p.m. EST)

1. Leave a comment on this post, any comment.
2. Join the Market Mommy mailing list (box to the right of this post) or comment and tell me you’re on the list.3. Follow this blog or comment and tell me you are already a follower.4. Become a Fan of Market Mommy on Facebook or comment and tell me you’re already a fan.
5. Follow Market Mommy on Twitter and Tweet about this giveaway, if you’re already a follower, just tweet.
6. Blog about this giveaway ... you must link back to either this blog or Market Mommy's official site.

Friday
Jul312009

Need Expert Advice?

Happy Friday! Someone recently told me about Live Person and the site really seems like it has a lot to offer! The site offers a huge bank (more than 30,000!) of experts available to chat with you and answer your questions on a variety of topics!


From technology, to health, to sprituality, to education, to business and much, much more, Live Person offers direct, live advice, right at your fingertips. What a great concept! There more than 150 experts in Marketing & Advertising alone, so I thought many of you may find the site valuable.

And, if you happen to be an expert in your field, you can apply to be listed on their site.

Have a great weekend! And, don't forget Press Release Week starts Monday. I hope to see you back here then!

Thursday
Jul302009

You can now grab our button!

Do you love Market Mommy? Want to tell all your viewers about us? We don't blame you. Now, you can grab our button for your very own blog or website. So, do it today!
 



 

Thursday
Jul302009

Announcing:: Press Release Week

Market Mommy:: The Blog has some fun planned for next week :) August 3 - 7 will be Press Release Week here at the blog. Each day will feature a new post about a different aspect of press release writing. There will be some great information about formatting, distribution, etc. So, be sure to check back! If you would like, RSVP for the event on our Facebook Fan Page.

The best part of the week will be a special prize package given away on Friday evening. One lucky mom business owner will win a package including a press release, button ad design and business card design from Market Mommy. The package is valued at $75!! For more services offered by Market Mommy, click here.

Details about the official rules will be posted on Monday. However, you will be able to register multiple times each day!