What to Put in a News Release – and What to Leave Out

When you want to share important information with the media, the time-honored way to do so is to send out a news release. A news release is a written or recorded communication sent to members of the media to announce a newsworthy development. Please note, the operative word in the second sentence is newsworthy! To send producers, editors and reporters information that isn’t newsworthy is just wasting their time.

The question is, how does one decide if information is newsworthy? Basically, the term means that the information in question is of sufficient interest to the public or a key audience to deserve coverage.

Let’s say your business is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Is that newsworthy? By itself, no. A lot of businesses have been around for ten years. But, if your company is going to hold a big event for the public that day, that would make it more newsworthy. If the event is only for professionals in your industry, then that information would only be newsworthy for media venues that serve that industry, like trade journals.

A news release should always include the who, what, when, where and why of the news. Who is involved? What are they doing? When and where did it, or will it, take place? Why is it important? It should also include contact information for the media to use, in case they want more facts, as well as information for the public on how they can get involved, if public interaction is desired. Of course, a phone number and website should be included.

Businesses should bear in mind that inventory sales are rarely considered news, no matter how low the prices may go! A possible exception might be if a substantial percentage of the sales revenue is going toward a good cause.

It’s always good for a news story to have quotes, but if a company’s news release has overly congratulatory quotes from its own employees, that might come across as self-serving. If a company calls itself an ‘industry leader’ or ‘the best in the area’ that might be perceived as boastful. Also, if videos, photos or interview opportunities are available, be sure to let the media know.

A good rule of thumb is to be as objective as possible with any news release. Stick to the facts and always be polite and helpful when working with the media. If you ever need professional help with your media relations, be sure to give Mickle Communications a call!

Author: Mark McLaughlin

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