10 Rules for Writing an Effective Press Release

Hi Scribblers,

Being a marketer, I was blessed with the gift of gab.  And, using my gift I’ve been quite successful getting my clients of Market or Die Author Services, LLC noticed in the media.  My client, Kourtney Heintz was even featured on a local TV station – and her book was the focus of the show.  But, getting the attention of traditional media isn’t easy.  I’ve gotten more no’s or no responses than yes’s over the years.  But, my wins have been big ones. Just last week I was on the phone with the producer of CBS This Morning discussing my client Ava Miles as a potential guest.

Having the contacts is part of being successful in the press. The other half of the equation is  writing an effective press release.  So, here are my top ten must-have’s for writing a release that is both professional and eye catching.

1.- The words FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE should appear on the top left of the page above the headline – No dates – Dates will be overlooked.

2. Next, the headline should appear in bold capital letters.  Write the headline to attract the attention of the reporter.  If you have a title before your name like, USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR, make sure you use it here.

3. Avoid overused words like HOT, NEW, BEST EVER. Write simply and concise.

4. Make sure your book title appears in all caps.

5. Write your release in the 3rd person and do not use a title such as Mr. , Ms. or Mrs.  Just refer to yourself by your last name, such as, Fusco says this is her top ten rules for writing an effective press release.

6. Never use exclamation points in a press release!!!!!

7. At the bottom of the press release type the word “end” or designate the end by using ### .

8. List your website and social media information as well as your phone and physical address.

9. Your release should be no longer than 2 pages MAXIMUM!!!

10.  Submit your press release, and follow up about a week later. If there has been no response – accept that the venue is not interested and move one.  Further correspondence will only piss them off.  🙂

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7 thoughts on “10 Rules for Writing an Effective Press Release”

  1. Thanks for the great tips, Jennifer.

    I’ve done press releases for a few of my books in the past, but question the results. There is no real measure of success unless a media outlet lets you know they will print your story or want a follow up interview. Since I’ve never heard anything back from any of the newspapers, publications, or radio/TV stations I’ve approached (except crickets), and most of my sales happen on line, I don’t find the press release particularly useful these days. I’ve done a number of Blog Talk Radio interviews and those are great because you have the link to use for publicity later. My husband has suggested I include my most recent BTR appearance in a PR to my local NPR station. What do you think?

    Writing a PR that has an engaging hook (local author, event, or interesting book related topic), and researching all the places to send them is a lot of work for very little return–unless you are a recognizable name, have specific contacts, or are lucky enough to score big.

    I guess that’s why we need to hire a publicity person like you:-)

    1. Taking your BTR links to NPR is a great way to build buzz. If I were you, I’d follow your husband’s suggestion. The press isn’t about sales. Its about discoverability which leads to building word of mouth, which ultimately leads to a sale. You are correct in that knowing who to contact is a big challenge within the media. And, even then, there’s no guarantee that they will return your call. But, if you write a press release with a great hook, they may find you hard to ignore. 😉

  2. Thanks that is a good list. I see you included putting in your contact information, that is a key point as 12% of all press releases go out without any contact information. OK, thanks again, Edward Smith.

    1. Hi Edward,
      Thanks. The contact info is essential. The press may be more interested in you just a simple newspaper mention. They do and will email you or call to get more information, if desired.

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