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What Makes a Great Press Release? It Depends Who You Ask!

What makes a press release “great?” The answer depends on who you ask. During this blog post, we’ll take the perspective of various media people and answer that very question.

If you ask a reporter at a newspaper what makes a press release great, she will answer, “The content in the press release will be relevant to my local or regional audience and in line with the type of stories I typically cover. I can’t cover national news that’s off my beat. But I love to learn about news that impacts our local readership in print and online, with local resources and people to interview.”

A dog blogger from a popular pet industry blog will answer, “The press release will indicate that the company has read my blog and knows what I like to write about. The announcement will have meaning to my particular readership in terms of new products that dogs will love. Not cats! And if product reviews are requested, the release will clearly tell me who to contact for a product or a sample.”

A cat writer for a quarterly magazine will answer, “The news obviously needs to be important to cat owners, and because of our publishing schedule, the news must be important even at the time we can publish it, which may be months down the road. This is known as long-lead. So, an event happening next week can’t be included in an issue we are publishing three months from now. But an expert’s tips on how to manage hot summer days can certainly be sent in a press release that is sent out in January.”

A pet trade journalist will respond with, “The news must have a business angle that resonates with the readers of our publication, as they are the professionals in their own companies who are looking for the latest news and information about our industry. It’s important that the  company issuing the press release know what our magazine looks like, so that the news can fit into a column we publish, or be of interest to one of our editors.”

A major market TV producer will answer, “The press release must clearly refer to all of the visual elements that are necessary for a good broadcast segment. With only a few minutes of footage for a segment, and sometimes less than that, we need to see compelling press releases with outstanding visual context. It’s also very helpful to have interview resources who can be available at the last minute if needed.”

Keep these answers in mind as you write a press release. And check back for an upcoming blog post about the Anatomy of a Press Release, so that your format aligns with the media’s expectations. 

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