If a publicity plan were a body, what would be the backbone? New (press) releases! In order for a news release to stand out, the information provided must be timely, interest the target audience, and follow a standard format. As stated in the last post, the news is now tailored to different audiences so it is important to know what is in it for them. You, as a writer, should think about the subject of the message and who is it supposed to reach.
There are different parts of a news release:
- Letterhead – located on the first page and usually the firm’s letterhead; includes address, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail and web addresses
- Contacts – usually after the letter; the person or people to contact are usually the writer or the public relations officer
- Headline – in boldface and larger font (14-16-point type)
- Dateline – in all capital letters and is at the beginning of the first paragraph (i.e. ST. LOUIS)
- The Lead – THE MOST IMPORTANT PART!!! Appears in the first paragraph. Usually basic details of the story are given and must get the interest of the reader to continue to the next paragraph.
- The Body – usually written in “inverted pyramid” style meaning the first paragraph is the summary of the story and the rest are details. Sometimes background of the firm is included.
Remember to use the guidelines of the AP Stylebook and write about the facts. Include a few of the who, what, where, why, when, and how in the lead. Emphasize the local angle.
I hope this was helpful.