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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Press Release Primer

1. Contact Information: This is the person in the hot seat when the press has quesitons. The contact needs to be readily available, knowledgeable and empowered to answer all the media's questions.

2. Time to Release Material: Is this for immediate attention with time-dated contents? Is this a piece that an editor could run whenever he needs filler material? Is it a calendar release announcing a special event that should be passed along to the events editor?

3. Headline: Take the time to write a clever headline, but don't forget to say what you piece is about, since this may be the only thing th eharried editor reads.

4. Dateline: Where the story is being filed from and on what day.

5. Lead: This is the meat of your release. Don't bury your news, put it right here in the strongest language psosible. If this doesn't catch the editor's attention, the rest of your release is a wasted effort.

6. Body: The guts of your article. Follow the inverted pyramid writing style and open with the guts of the story, letting the supporting info trickle down.

7. Quote: Your chance to editorialize and get your message across to the reader. It's usually the best to to quote the highest authority in the organization, such as the president to convey credibility--but make sure whomeever you quote is available for follow-up interviews.

8. Closing Tag: Provide as much background information as possible on the organization or person without getting too broad. Rule of thumb: It's easier for the editor to cut unwanted infromation, than to have to call for more facts.

9. End: If more than one page, include "-more-" at the bottom and an identifying word and page number on following pages. Close your release with any of the following: -0-, #, or "end."

10. Additional Materials: If photos, slides, recipes, graphs or statistical charts are available, note that on the release. While you don't need to bombard the editor with too much data, it gives them a chance to further develop a story if the need arises.