You only have three seconds to catch the attention of an editor or journalist.
Learn how to do it right the first time.
When you’re trying to catch the attention of a journalist or a television producer, it can be upsetting when you don’t get a response after two or three emails. Don’t fret! As the owner of a fashion and lifestyle PR firm and a publicist who has landed coverage in the New York Times, Forbes, and Entrepreneur recently, I am quite familiar with the types of press releases that generate responses from the media.
To help you craft a release that generates a response from any editor or television producer (local, regional, or national), you should follow these simple rules.
- Know your audience and what you’re looking to achieve when writing a press release.
- Understand the tone and the style of the outlet you’ll be sending the press release to for possible coverage.
- Include “For Immediate Release” at the top of your press release. Be sure to include your contact information as well.
- Use an attention-getting headline. Limit it to ten words or less. Ask a question or make a provocative statement.
- Get right to the point in your first paragraph (preferably the first sentence). Include the “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, “why”, and “how”.
- Limit the body of your press release to two paragraphs with no more than four lines. Keep your sentences short and be sure to include five to seven short but compelling bullet points. Most editors and producers only scan the first paragraph and bullet points anyway.
- Include a quote or a statistic to make the content come alive. If you make a claim or are pitching a trend story, make sure you can substantiate it with proof.
- If you’re going to send your press release over the wire (via prweb.com or PRNewswire.com), make sure it is optimized with the appropriate keywords. However, limit the number of keywords or keyword phrases to three. A general rule of thumb is to keep your keyword or keyword phrase density between 2-5%.
- Include a 200 word or less bio or boilerplate (I generally limit the ones I write to 150 words or less) at the end of the press release. Include your website URL and social media links.
- Offer a free trial or demo if applicable.
- End with three pound signs (###).
- Add attractive and on brand images or video.
- Limit your press release to a page (two pages at the maximum).
- Although it’s obvious, make sure to proofread for flow, grammar, and syntax.
- Make sure your press release follows AP style.
- If you don’t hear back after a few days, then you can follow up via email. Note – never call an editor or producer after you sent an email asking if they received it. That’s one of the best ways to kill the relationship before it even started.
Kristin Marquet is the founder and creative director of full-service PR and digital marketing firm, Creative Development Agency. Throughout her career, Kristin has forged successful partnerships with today’s top celebrities and brands. She has generated media placements in Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, Seventeen, Glamour, and ELLE magazines, Glam.com, and countless other outlets. She is also the founder of fashion and lifestyle editorial and e-commerce website, TheHauteRebel.com.