Advocate

Content:

  1. Keep the release short.  Brevity is the key!  Make sure all information is relevant to the event taking place.  State whowhatwhenwherewhy, and how in the first two paragraphs.
  2. Include all local information.  Most media outlets will focus on local events and individuals first.
  3. Clearly identify the organization and/or individuals involved.
  4. Include background information on your company such as the full name of the company, what the company does, location, number of employees, and don’t forget to mention the ESOP.  This should be the last paragraph of the release.

Format:

  1. Make sure you include all contact information – name, daytime phone number or cell phone (include area codes for all numbers), email address, and website if applicable.
  2. Date the release.
  3. Include information on whether or not the information is for immediate release or for use at a later date. 
  4. Add a headline.  The headline should be dramatic to grab the attention of a reporter.
  5. If the release is longer than one page, type ‘more’ on the bottom of the first page and identify the following pages with the name/title of the release at the top left.
  6. At the end of the release type ‘###’, ‘end’, or ‘30’ at the bottom of the last paragraph.
  7. Put the release on company letterhead or include the name of the company and address at the top of the release.

Deadlines:

  1. Before sending a release, you may want to contact the paper to find out who the information should be sent to.  The Assignment Desk is a good starting point.
  2. Ask how information should be sent (fax or email).  This will differ depending on reporters and departments.
  3. Be mindful of deadlines.  For general news and business sections of newspapers, you’ll want to send the information in the morning or very early afternoon (preferably before 2:00pm the day before you want the story to appear.  Most papers will have an evening deadline of approximately 3:00pm for information to be published the next day, if the paper is published daily.  For radio, you may want to send the press release the night before so the information will be available for the morning news.  For television, you’ll want to send press releases well in advance.  The news day generally begins at 9:00am at a television station and ends around 2:30pm for a story to run on the evening news.  The best time to call a television station is before 11:00am and after 1:00pm.
  4. Brevity --- get to the point and fast.  Provide whowhatwhenwherewhy, and how in the first 60 seconds.  Reporters work on tight schedules, don’t waste time in pitching your story.

Beats:

  1. Make sure you contact reporters that cover the type of story you are pitching.  Don’t waste your time and the reporter’s by talking about, say, an Employee Ownership Month event, to a reporter the covers the courthouse or fashion beat.