PRESS RELEASE DYNAMICS
Tom Koziol
(c) 1999

The press release is a first class promotion tool occupying its own position in the hierarchy of free advertising. Let's face facts, in today's world, other than war and crime, everything else is promotion.

Given this is true, why isn't everyone utilizing press releases? Let's face facts one more time: Not everyone knows how to write a release.

Why?

There are a lot of excuses but only one explanation. Most would be release writers do not understand the characteristics and principles of press releases. They confuse the ability to construct a sentence and string a series of these sentences into paragraphs with the ability to write a release.

Release writing is no different, for example, from time management, money management, or web design. Each has its own associated characteristics and principles. Master them and you've mastered that which you've selected to manage.

You have just read one of life's universal facts. This alone puts you ahead of the pack. Apply it and success will not be far behind.

If this animal has its own characteristics and principles, the journey to understanding the beast is mapped out, isn't it?

"What" is an excellent starting point. Therefore, what is a press release?

A press release is a promotion tool designed to achieve maximum exposure\publicity with minimum time\effort\cost.

Why use a release?
No other device can garner as much attention for you, your product or service, for the price of a first class stamp, fax or email.

When do you use a release?
When you have something news worthy to tell the world.

Where do you send a release?
To the appropriate media.

Who should use a release?
Anyone wanting "free" publicity.

How do you write a release?

That's this article's subject and follows the inherent characteristics and principles. I will write a press release for my newsletter using the described pro forma and discussed principles. This should give release writers a skeleton from which to build. Remember, if you use these tools, you should be able to write a release about any topic.

Characteristics

I. One theme/focus
Your release should have one point and one point only, i.e., your message. Nothing else. It graduates to principle when one element is added. See below.

II. Length
One to one and a half pages. If you can't say it in this length, you probably can't say it.

III. Never call it a press release
A brief history. Once upon a time a difference existed between a press release and a news release. The news release contained honest to God news. The press release was the recognized and accepted publicity device. Everybody was happy and knew the rules. Then, one day, the rules became blurred and press and news releases were all called news releases. Press as a descriptive became taboo. So, never title your release Press Release. Always call it NEWS release.

IV. Formatted
The written words are framed in a pro-forma. See below.

V. All parties acknowledge it as a "publicity" tool
If you think the editor doesn't understand why you sent him/her a "news" release, well, you are allowed to think anything you want. All editors need items to fill the paper or broadcast time. Hence, their willingness to accept releases.

Principles

I. Your one theme/focus transforms into a principle when it contains news. If you do not have anything newsworthy, the one theme/focus is merely a characteristic of a written document. After all, hundreds of one theme documents are written daily. You've just added to the count. BTW, news is defined as that which is of general interest to the public. Not a very tough definition is it?

Think about it. If you owned the media, would you run a release about the "hot new Internet business", "No selling, no work, we do it all for you mlm", etc.. type of business? Heck no you wouldn't. If it contained real news and conformed to the rules of journalistic style, you would at least look at it, right? Why would you expect anything else from the editor you just emailed/faxed/mailed?

II. I stepped into Principle II when I said journalistic style above. All writings conform, as close as possible, to the 5 w and 1 h style. This is called the journalistic style. Who, what, where, when, why and how are presented in the opening paragraph or as close to as possible. If you cannot nail at least three of the W's and maybe the h in the first paragraph, you are on thin ice. Even though the lines between news and press release have blurred, the journalistic style remains intact.

III. Never call the editor to ask why not Presume you just wrote and submitted the perfect release and it did not get published. You followed all the rules and it didn't get even a whisper. Never, repeat never, call the editor and demand an explanation. In the first place, the editor owes you none. In the second place, something pre-emptied your brilliant piece that, for whatever reason, caught the editor's eye. Maybe the president was being impeached for example.

Go with the flow and resubmit another one. If your piece is newsworthy today, it will be newsworthy tomorrow. Doing otherwise, self eliminates you from the consideration pool. Would you work with someone who has just tore into you when you have a stack of releases from non complainers on your desk that are newsworthy?

IV. Follow the format Format is the pro forma in which the journalistic writing style is placed. The accepted formats look like:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

(1) CONTACT 
NEWS RELEASE CONTACT 

(2) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(3) TITLE

(4) Body of Release

(5) End

Formatting becomes a principle when followed. Self styled creativity is not a virtue to someone with several hundred releases on their desk and only five minutes to peruse them.

V. Never use jargon
Jargon is language peculiar to a field. For example, the Internet. A whole new language has, of necessity, been generated to both deal with and interact in this field.

However, not everyone is familiar with this Internetspeak. A release full of jargon without explanation of those terms is useless. Editors are not translators.

VI. Always have a current contact and phone number in the CONTACT block. You would like the media to contact you, right?

VII. Always be professional
Adhere to the journalistic style, use your spell checker, correctly spell the editor's and publication's name and, if contacted, provide the requested information on time. Do NOT make excuses or waste the editor's time. Be as professional as you have implied.

These principles could also be called common sense.

Now to tie it all together with a for real news release.

(1) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (What you put on this line tells the editor when they can begin to run the piece. This is important as it translates into a time frame. Everything in the media revolves around time and time frames.) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE is probably the most often used release date. However,if your product/service isn't scheduled for release until the first of the month, the release date would read:

FOR RELEASE ON JULY 1, 1999

(2) CONTACT
Tom Koziol
Box 6392
Vacaville, CA 95696-6392
707-447-6939
deadrun@jps.net
www.cashclique.com

Be sure you not only list a person who WILL be available to answer the media's questions, but one who CAN answer the questions. I had columns in two newspapers and a radio show and could write an article on this point alone. Geez, make it as easy as possible to get that free publicity.

(3) TITLE (usually all caps)
MONEY MANAGEMENT, WHAT YOU AREN'T BEING TOLD

There is a Mr. Copywriter who lives inside of you. Now is the time for him to pay his rent. A good headline is mandatory for your release. Remember, you have only one chance to catch the editor's eye. Guess which part (s)he will read first? Note: A number of people have published articles floating around the net on how to write headlines. Read them. Apply the principles these knowledgeable authors lay out. If your headline doesn't sell the editor, do you think your release will get read?

A word about my headline. This is loosely called a negative headline and pulls as well or better than positive headlines on certain topics. Money, money management, finances, and related fields can support a negative headline because it plays to one of two emotions commonly associated with money: Fear and greed. The psychographers ran tons of studies on this and tell us negative is good when it comes to money. People are afraid they will lose what they have.

On the other hand, if I was selling a potion to cure erectile dysfunction and it would make even Bob Dole stand up and take notice (oops, a double entendre there), you can believe my headline would be positive.

Vacaville, CA-July 1, 1999--(4) This is called the body of the release and is always opened with the city and state in which the action is taking place followed by the date. Notice I have July 1, 1999. That matches the release date because that's when I want this news released. If you want your news released immediately, you would put the date on which you sent it to the media. Make sense?

Here we go, the release.

You are not getting the complete picture on managing your money if you are reading the current sites on the Internet. At least according to newsletter publisher Tom Koziol.

Koziol says, "money management is more than giving some stranger your money so (s)he can put it in portfolios, insurance ,trusts or wherever."

"The current sites all want you to send them your money so they can manage it", Koziol said. "That's the old school, the old way of thinking. A one way street." The Internet has caused a revolution in how stocks are bought and sold and will cause a revolution in how people manage and think about their money. There simply is no other choice. Koziol believes, "anybody still pandering to the masses" will be out of business within two years. Why? "The knowledge explosion that is available at people's fingertips. If you have a television, you have access to the web. You don't even need a computer."

Koziol says, "I looked at the trends in related fields and saw the hand writing on the wall for money management. That's why I created www.cashclique.com and began publishing the Cashclique.com Dollar$ign Newsletter. I don't want anybody's money to manage. I believe if people know the techniques and strategies associated with proper money management, they will do a better job than today's supposed money managers."

"I have over 33 years in the financial arena and have seen it all. And, believe me when I say the current trend is to more hands on self initiated money management. People are beginning to realize that the power resides in them and they don't want to let go."

"Hence, I created Cashclique.com Dollar$ign Newsletter to provide immediately useable money management tips, tools, techniques and strategies designed to increase your personal cash flow. It is a fail safe money management program available free by emailing: mailto:cashclique@cashclique.com ."

Money management will never be the same.

-end-

Are the 5 w's and 1 h in the first paragraph or as close to the first paragraph as possible? Is this release to the point? Would you read it? Would you publish it? Is it credible? Does it have an identifiable theme? Did I put in contact information? Are you the least bit curious? Did you at least think about money management? Could I be correct about the future and your money?

No, I will not answer those questions. You have to be the judge. If this release did not at least get you to think that something as important as managing your money is a bit skewered against you in today's environment, then the questions are irrelevant.

BTW, the above information is absolutely true and is news. The only site currently NOT asking you for your money is mine. I believe I have identified a mega-trend.

The questions I asked three paragraphs ago are the questions you should ask about your release. Know why your words are news. Know how to articulate your theme. And, if your release is not published, resubmit it.

If the above information still isn't enough to help you write your release, here are some sites at which to look:

http://www.prweb.com
http://www.gebbieinc.com
http://www.newsbureau.com
http://www.medialink.com
http://www.imediafax.com
http://www.mediapost.com

Summary

I know my mega-trend spotting may be ahead of its time. I also know that I have NEWS and it will be picked up and I will get all the free publicity I can handle. You have to know the same thing about your product or service.

Those of us who write the how-to's can only do so much. The rest is up to you. In fact, this article makes one heck of a how-to and could be put in booklet form and sold for hard money.

Print it out and utilize the principles and success will follow.

------------------
Tom Koziol is an author and speaker who can be reached at mailto:deadrun@jps.net . Tom will write your press release or ghost write your article for publication with your byline.


 
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