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Press release do’s & don’ts

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Hannah Brazee Gregory

Following some basic rules will keep you from shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to preparing and sending press releases.

DO’s:

  • Follow a press release template. Get one if you do not have one.
  • Always include your organization’s “boiler plate” paragraph.
  • Put a name and contact information on every release and always be available and return calls quickly after you send a release.
  • Write the release as though it is a story already in the newspaper.
  • Send the release to the most appropriate journalists only.
  • Send first to journalists you already have a relationship with.
  • Keep it sweet and simple. The most important information should appear in a short two to three-sentence sentence opening paragraph.

Don’ts (the most common mistakes):

  • Do not write a press release in first person.
  • Do not ask the reporter if they are going to use the release. You can, however, call and make sure they received it.
  • Never, ever ask to review a story that a reporter is working on.
  • Do not send out a release about something not so important when you have something big around the corner that needs attention.
  • Do not send out a release without having it proofed, reviewed and approved by appropriate staff.
  • Do not send out multiple releases at the same time.
  • Do not put in contact names of people that will be unavailable.

Hannah Brazee Gregory is a nonprofit marketing communications expert and founder/managing director of Shoestring Creative Group. Hannah can be reached at contactus@shoestringgroup.com or 888.835.6236.

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