Taarifa Rwanda

To The Comms: 5 Dos And Don’ts Of A Press Release

For editors, there is nothing more annoying than receiving a press release from a reputable institution after they have published it on their website or after they have shared it on social media platform such as twitter or Facebook.

This is not only irritating, but it is a clear testimony the sender is fighting for cheap popularity or undermines the platforms she or he has sent it to.

Unless your press release is a killer one, breaking news, or a serious matter of national interest, do not be surprised if you don’t find anything in news out lets the next day.

But that is not all. There are some other simple ways, but very important and courteous, to have your press release taken seriously and published or some of it published.

Let’s begin with Don’ts

Don’t Send A PDF. In this era? Why would you send a PDF? Please send a word file to ease the editor’s life. Some Press Releases are even sent as a scanned PDF file. For Christ’s sake, this means an editor has to retype each and every word. Chances are, the editor will drop it in the recycle bid. Unless it is an exclusive or a scoop, otherwise, you have little chances it will find itself in the news items.

Don’t Send An Old File: In this case, an old file is that one which is stale. It has already been published somewhere. Unless you are competing for popularity with media houses, why on earth would you send a press release after publishing it yourself on your website, blog or social media? It is not only irritating, but it is uncivil, impoliteinsultingdiscourteousdisrespectfulimpertinentimpudentvulgar…you name it. Some day you will miss coverage of an important issue simply because you wanted to be first to publish it before media houses. 

Don’t Complicate The Press Release: Write simple and short paragraphs. Just get the information across. Do not bombard a press release with fluff and sometimes with long loose quotes. Keep it tight, meaningful and newsworthy to the intended audience and should spark human interest and cause people to want to pay attention.

Let’s go for Dos.

Do Remember the 5 W&H: Who are involved or related to the Press Release? What occurred? What makes this press release worth the time investment to write or read about? What is the purpose of informing? Where is the location the release is written about? Is the location relevant? When? Pay attention to the timing. Why is the press release important? How will it stand a chance to make it to other news items?

Do be brief and precise: The first paragraph should be no more than three sentences maximum. Use the inverted pyramid model. Put the most important information at the top. This will help create a seamless press release. Hey, you writing style is important. A press release should be written differently to appeal to say, a culinary magazines than if it were geared towards food truck companies.

There are many Dos and Don’ts, but those are the ones commonly identified.

Here are two bonuses:

Send a very good photo (s) and with reasonable size. Not too big and not too small.

Once your press release makes it to an outlet’s news items, remember to share it on social media platforms and tag them. Don’t be like a stranger who gets a door opened for them, but simply walks away as if nothing happened. You did not pay for the service, be courteous enough to recognize the kind act. If the news item is misrepresented or misquoted, reach out to the editor for corrections.

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