Not long ago the traditional media of newspaper, television and radio were our key sources of information. With the advent of the Internet and social media people now have much more choice and control over where, how and when they consume information.
With so many options, deciding how to communicate is tricky. Many people in small organizations simply don’t have the time to effectively share information in as many ways as possible. As well, some of the channels have a cost and budgets are limited. Social media are a great option when you have little time and want to reach a lot of people, however there are limits on how many characters you can include in your post.
For announcements that require more content than a typical Twitter feed or Facebook post, a news release is an effective way to provide information to encourage reporters to tell your story.
Use a news release when you want to capture a reporter's attention and have them publish your story. Craft your news release so it contains all the facts, background, colourful tidbits and stats to make it easy for reporters and editors to get all the details they need for their story or post.
We have developed a news release template that provides a step-by-step guide to writing a news release that will get noticed and covered (see link below). It includes a sample news release of a fictional annual event in our local Sooke region community. These are often the most challenging kind of releases to write because you need to find something new to say about the same thing that happens year after year.
Reporters receive dozens (if not hundreds) of news releases, Twitter feeds and emails every day. Your announcement will be competing with all the other information they receive. To get your story covered, it needs to stand out and be worthy of sharing. Here are six tips to help:
1. Start with a headline that grabs a reporter's attention in a few words. This will be the first thing a reporter sees so it needs to sound important or interesting.
2. Craft an opening paragraph that explains why they should care about your event or information and include the key facts: who, what, why, where and how.
3. Include a quote from a person of authority to bring your announcement to life and show how it makes an impact.
4. Fill in helpful context and valuable details in a concise background.
5. Include contact information for your spokesperson and your organization (web address, email, phone number, social media accounts).
6. Send it to the right person. Ensure you have the correct email contact for the person you want to publish your story. In daily media that may be a city editor, producer, beat reporter, columnist or talk show host. In community media it may be the editor or reporter. If it's an arts story, send it to someone who writes about arts; for sports stories, send to the sports editor or reporter.
Once you have written and shared your news release with a reporter, you can also post it on your website and share the link through your social media accounts or through email to your customers, members and followers. Your goal is to ensure that as many people in your target audience as possible hear, understand and act on your information, so don't be shy to tell your own story.
When a story is published in the media, go to their site and share the link on your social media accounts. This helps build followers for the reporters and media and they appreciate your reciprocal action.
Go to this link for the free news release template: http://www.saseenos.com/free-guides-and-templates.html