Need to Write a Press Release on Your Own? Sand the Door First


“Do me a favor. Sand the door first.”

That’s what my interior decorator told me when I called and asked him to paint a new entry door in the next day or two.

That was his way of saying he didn’t want the job.

Why not?

He’d already painted the whole house. He knew there was no way I’d hire to him to do anything else.

So, I sanded the door first and then painted it.

How does this relate to you, not to mention press releases?

Sometimes people contact us when they’re on deadline. They need a press release: fast, uh, make that for immediate release.

When that happens we almost never get the job. Why? When they hear how much work it takes, they decide to take shortcuts and do it on their own.

Thinking of sending out your own press release [that’s what we train people to do :)!]?

Then do me a favor: sand the door first.

Here’s how . . .

  1. Make absolutely sure your news is worthy – and that you really, truly want it to be told.
  2. Pick up the morning paper in the driveway, open it to the section you want to be in and imagine your story there. Does it work?
  3. Wash away any promo hype and replace jargon or insider terminology with plain English.
  4. Ask an 8-year-old to read it out loud for you. Don’t have one? Grab a neighbor’s kid and pay them $2. They’ll love you for it.
  5. Send it yourself via email and see if it sounds the way you want it to read.
  6. Invest in a distribution service to float it further.
  7. Know the places you want the story to land and set up target landing zones.
  8. Keep the word count to 500 words max.
  9. Kick off with a memorable headline that reads like a feature story. Need ideas? Toss a few rag mags into the cart next time you’re at the grocery store.
  10. Google Google News for your topic to find out if there’s any traffic. Keep going until you find keywords with traction.
  11. Spell check, grammar check and fact check. Check? Check!
  12. Shoot it to a few friends for feedback.
  13. Think of every way the story might spring in the wrong direction. One client’s press release wound up touting the number of foreign languages spoken, not the new hires.
  14. Set up a system: write, edit, review, release, distribute.

What do you think?

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