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Quest for Press
News Release Q & A

By: Meredith Pond

Meredith Pond is a professional and freelance writer with extensive experience working on the web. Meredith provides writing and editing services to individuals and businesses alike at the best prices around. See www.wordsmithweb.com for details. Contact Meredith directly at meredith@wordsmithweb.com.

A lot of business people assume that a writing and sending press release is a totally appropriate form of advertising for their business, without really giving it much thought.  While a press release can be a very effective tool in the fight for media attention, there are certain guidelines which should be followed for best results.  For those of you who aren't sure about a press release or how to  get it out there, here are a few popular press release questions and answers.

Q: Is my product newsworthy enough for a press release to beeffective?
A: Bear this in mind: affiliate programs and business opportunities that can be found all over the Internet generally do not make good releases.  A press release that isn't truly newsworthy can end up sounding like a sales pitch, which can do irreparable damage to your company's image.

Press releases should make an announcement about a new product or service, an event, or a change in the way a product or service is marketed.  If your company has changed management, released or upgraded a product, or is staging an important event, you have material for a good release.

Also, any little-known business or service can make a good release if it serves the needs of the public in an interesting way.  For example, I just wrote a release for a gentleman who provides a service that allows homeowners to pay off their mortgages years sooner, without making larger payments or refinancing their current loans.  With mortgage rates falling and the real estate market picking up, that kind of material made a very good release.

So, a story that surrounds current events and peaks public interest usually makes good release material.

Q: Isn't a press release similar to a sales letter that gets sent to the media?
A: A clever writer can take almost any subject and turn it into a press release without sounding like a sales letter.  As great a talent as that is, however, media professionals will easily see through it.  An effective press release doesn't just sound newsworthy, it IS newsworthy.  A sales letter in disguise does not make an effective release, and releases always need to be  written well.

Above all, keep in mind that the last thing an editor wants to read is a sales pitch; sending them this kind of material will only get you blackballed in the media.  Whatever else you do,  make sure your release has real merit and is written like a news story.

Q: How do I get my press release to the media?
A: There are tons of services out there that specialize in writing and / or sending out press releases.  Do a search on the web, or take the bull by the horns and hand mail your release to selected media yourself.  Keep in mind, however, that this takes a lot of time and you're less likely to get wide coverage.

© Copyright 2002, Meredith Pond

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The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.

 

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