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Public Relations - a guide to producing a good news release

As stated by Business Network Magazine, Public Relations (PR) is an extremely powerful marketing tool. Whether you are a micro business or multinational, visibility is the name of the game as it leads to greater brand recognition.

Conventionally, high visibility results from high marketing expenditure; something most SMEs don't have the luxury of. However, companies without large marketing budgets will be pleased to learn certain PR activities are both cost effective and successful.

One PR activity that must be considered is the production of a news release. There are 2 ways of developing a release. Firstly, if you have the budget and an on-going need for publicity, a PR consultant can be hired. Secondly, with some time and effort you can write your own release and if necessary, get it tweaked by a consultant.

Done well, the news release is great tool that can result in free publicity that most SMEs could never afford. However, done badly, your latest PR will end up with the other 90 percent of releases - in the bin.

So how do you get a news release publicised? The answer is in the title; your news release must be newsworthy. The following examples would be the foundation of a good story:

  • If you have won an award
  • If you have won a major contract
  • If you have relocated to new premises
  • If a new product has been developed
  • If your business has recorded record growth/profits

(This is just a short list to give you ideas; there are many more)

Now you have a newsworthy story you must write the release intelligently. Consider the publications you are targeting, in particular the readership, the content and forthcoming features.

Your headline must stand out and capture the attention of the editor. Remember this is the first part of your release they will see. Don't be concerned however if your headline is altered by the editors, this is the norm.

Your first paragraph is fundamental and in theory it should be able to stand alone as the story. Try to answer the following questions in the opening paragraph as it will provide a good overview of your news.

Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

It should also be noted that the importance of the paragraphs should decrease as the story continues: The reason being that later paragraphs are more likely to be cut by editors tight for space.

It is also a good idea to include testimonials where possible. Readers are more likely to take note of someone else praising your organisation, as opposed to you blowing your own trumpet.

Finally, include your contact details at the bottom of your release and make sure you are contactable. A missed call may result in a missed opportunity.

So there you have a basic introduction to producing a news release. Consider these pointers and you stand a much better chance of having your news release publicised, achieving greater visibility and business success.