Special Interest Television  
high-performance weapons for your marketing war contact us FILE: trade media / press releases printable detailscontact us  
televisioninternettrade mediaold weaponsmediamixart & emotionvideo publishing3-D Internetbusiness principlessample pricesfirst meetinghome page
go to home pagee-mail your message
contact us
(818) 841-9372 

Two years ago we started to publish the monthly newsletter for ASID - Los Angeles Chapter.  (ASID = The American Society of Interior Designers).  During this time, we received hundreds of press releases from all kinds of sources - from art museums to furniture manufacturers.   

We found out that, surprisingly, most people have no clue as to what's the difference between a publicity release and writing ad copy.  Even some P/R agencies seem to assume that a press release is some kind of dumbed down version of an advertisement.   

A typical press release in the real world sound like this: "Our company has been in business for 25 years.  Our employees have an uncanny ability to solve difficult problems.  Our skillful artisans were trained in Italy and ... blah, blah, blah".  Yeah, right.  As if your employees were all tattooed ex-cons, and your artisans were all graffiti painters, you were going to tell us!   

Forget the poor writing - there's a bigger problem here.  WHERE IS THE NEWS???   

A press release should justify the editor's decision to include it in a News column.  That space is always very limited.  Think of the editor as being your customer at this point.  Therefore, you do need to worry about "what's in it for the editor?"   

The editors are always looking for BIG NEWS.  They will be interested in any major breakthrough.  And almost any P/R user can dig in the company's life for interesting facts, and present those facts as newsworthy.  Example: "15th Century Italian Art Shop Moves to West Hollywood" - followed by news about an event or a new service / product.  It can be a Grand Opening, or, if the shop has been there for a while, a special reception, an exhibit, a party, an art show, a product presentation, etc.   

It doesn't HAVE TO be a special event, but it better be news!  Your story must be well anchored in time and space.   A valid press release should answer to six questions: WHAT, WHO, WHEN, WHERE, HOW, and WHY.  When an editor doesn't see these points clearly defined from the start, the release lands straight into the basket.   

The release must also be written in "the order of declining importance".  If the space is very limited, and the editor has to cut your story, the first paragraphs should make sense by themselves.  The rest of the story can be gradually diluted - from the most relevant facts to background information - so it can fit in any available space.   

Very attractive to an editor is a story that has only 2-3 short paragraphs, and after them - a longer story described as "Background Information".  If the editors have only little space available, they'll appreciate your thoughtfulness.  If they have a lot of space, you'll give them an opportunity to "look good" (as if they did a lot of research on the subject) and they'll gladly publish some "background information" too.   

Your envelope should include a SINGLE text page, a couple of decent photos, and a floppy disk with the text file on it.  (Why a single page, instead of the many sheets recommended by P/R agencies?  Because the last thing a busy editor wants is a huge folder that seems to require a lot of digging!  It's much more important to tell a brief, focused, meaningful story - that will make a good impression.  If the editors want indeed more data, they'll go to your website!)   

The floppy disk saves retyping time.  Of course we could just e-mail the text, for the same purpose.  Unfortunately, we found out that because of the "Spam" stigma, it is NOT a good idea to send press releases via e-mail!   

One should not rely on a big response from press releases.  Their advantages are: low cost (free space) and credibility (better than advertising).  So even if one magazine out of one hundred will publish your release, you win.   

Also, when we buy advertising space from a publication, we try to make them publish a press release as well.  After negotiating the prices, but before signing the agreement, we say something like:  "But our ad copy is not ready yet.  Do you mind running this press release once before we bring the ad?"  This usually worksHowever, even if they say "yes", we ALWAYS add that they don't HAVE TO do it.  Only if they find it useful to their readers...  This way we get the publication to pay due attention to our press release, without breaking any ethical standards.