Here in the UK BBC Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman’s beard is front page news, it’s also trending on Twitter. This is a sure sign that it’s the ‘silly season’. Parliament is in recess, people are on holiday and newspapers are short of stories. This makes it a great time to get press coverage for your story.
Make sure you have a genuine story not a blatant advertisement dressed up as a story, write it into a press release and then send it to a named journalist at your target publications.
What can you write about?
Perhaps you have bumped into a customer by chance in some far flung place whilst on holiday. Maybe you have been inspired by something on your travels and have introduced a new product or service as a result. You could write about an anniversary or special celebration. This could be a good time to launch your Autumn range or programme. If all else fails do a survey and send the results to your target media.
Construct your press release
- Mark your release NEWS at the top and date it, if you don’t want it published until a specific date put ‘Embargoed until’ and give that date.
- Put the most important information in the first paragraph which should be no more than two sentences long.
- Expand your story in the next paragraph or two.
- Journalists usually like a quotation as it makes it look like they’ve researched the story. This often fits in your final paragraph, The quote can be from you.
- When you’ve finished the story write ENDS so the journalist knows she has the full story.
- You can include a bit of background information including a link to your website at the end of the release under the heading ‘Notes for editors’.
- Make sure to give your contact number including an out of hours number in case the journalist wants to make more of your story.
- Keep the release short and to the point (a good rule of thumb is no more than one side of A4 with double spaced text). It may get printed as it is or may be re-written by a journalist.
- Send a print quality photo with your release if appropriate.
Sending your release.
- Do a bit of homework and send your release to the journalist who will be most interested in the story. Most publications have journalists who specialise in a particular topic or area. For instance my local paper has journalists responsible for each town centre,
- These days it’s probably easiest if you email your release but send it in the body of the email as many journalists don’t open attachments for fear of viruses.
- Some papers have a way to upload stories via their website.
So what are you waiting for? Go and create a good news story and then let us know where you got it published.