Most readers will already know that usually you or your PR agency will write and universal PR distribute a fairly lengthy press release – and then a much shorter version appears in the press and PR media which are kind enough to run your story. But did you know that there’s a “formula” to how this happens and if you know the formula, you can have a much higher chance of getting your key message into the short news item which eventually appears?
Notes for Editors
In those few remaining trade media where they still enjoy the luxury of staff writers, then it’s quite possible that a writer will read your press release and then write their own story – or universal PR incorporate your news in a longer piece they are writing. These guys are always grateful for the extra information you or press release your PR company may have supplied in the form of “Additional notes for Editors” at the back of the press release proper.
Man/Woman in a hurry
But, in the great majority of cases the person doing the sub-editing (who may well be the two- days-a-week freelance editor) will be in a hurry and will want to use a part of your press release without having to re-write it.
Getting to Less
Of course, universal PR in all probability there will only be space available for 200 words – and your press release checked into his e mail at a respectable 550 words plus, I hope, PR a great photo.
So here’s what the sub-editor will most likely do…. He/she will simply pick the first 200 words of your press release!
Now if you’ve written your press release correctly (see Turtle Tip on press release writing) this will work just fine because you’ll have written it for PR exactly this eventuality.
How to hit the spike This means, and it’s precisely why we write press releases to a formula, that the full news is summarised in paragraph one and then key points – in descending order of importance are explained in successive paragraphs. BIG BUT! If you haven’t written your press release to this magic formula then one of two things will happen The sub will decide to scrap or “spike” the story and universal press release use someone else’s which does sub-down easily Or universal PR he/she will take the first 200 words because they make sense – but your vital points down in paragraphs 13 and universal press release 16 are lost.
Write for sub-editing Write your release so that it is ready to be sub-edited. Remember too that if you want your company spokesperson’s name to appear, universal PR then the first attributed quote should appear in paragraph 2 or 3. He/she can “say” more lower down. Don’t double up on spokespeople And remember, don’t try to add in extra spokespeople unless they are from the customer or party to the deal (in which case they go first) as there really isn’t space for universal press release more names and long, boring job titles! Test your press release So here’s the acid test of your press release when it’s all beautifully crafted. Cut it down to 200 words, chopping from the bottom. Does it still work?
Now try 100 words. Still works? – Congratulations. Something important missing? – Start again!
The inevitability of Murphy’s (Sod’s) Law
Of course, nothing in life is ever totally certain and PR a lower-down paragraph may take the sub-editor’s eye. In which case he/she’s going to keep that one and PR cut a bit more off the top section. Bear this in mind and plan for universal press release it by making paragraphs self contained whenever possible.
PhilTurtle is a serial Entrepreneur, Business Consultant and PR Expert and CEO of Turtle Consulting Group. Turtle Consulting Group is a Tech PR agency that specialises in technology PR and business to business PR.