Press releases, whether one or three pages long, intimidate even professional business writers. After all, the audience consists of pros – the first ones to notice sloppy language or grammatical bruises. The reality of press releases is actually pretty cheery. Newspapers need news and your press release provides it. Editors can simply lift information from your page to theirs, saving their writers for other stories. Press releases have a definite form, each paragraph serving a basic function. All you need to do is fill in the information.
First sentence : Give the five W’s: who, what, when, where, and how. Make it exciting!
Second sentence : Provide the essentials of your message.
Second paragraph : Quote someone directly involved with the product or service. If you invent quotes, get an okay from the person you’re quoting since a newspaper may end up publishing it.
Third paragraph : Give details showcasing what’s new and different about your product or service.
Fourth paragraph : When possible, quote a satisfied customer or other reliable recipient.
Fifth paragraph : An abbreviated bio.
Closing paragraph : Details such as additional phone numbers.
Shape your press release this way:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For: Novelty, Inc. 1465 Roseway Boulevard Florence, FL 09852 Contact: Ned Pierce (800) 555-4321
Larson’s Line Hits Gift Shops Coast to Coast
Florence, FL — Now cartoon lovers everywhere can view the humor of cartoonist Mary Lou Larson in bed, at the breakfast table, on the subway and street thanks to Novelty, Inc.’s extraordinary line of mugs, postcards, T-shirts, and other items featuring Larson’s savagely funny cartoons.
“Customers asked us for Larson souvenirs literally daily,” said Chet Miller, owner of Boulevard Gifts in Venice Beach. “So we weren’t really surprised when the first shipment of the Larson line sold out within a week.” He added that Larson’s candidly contemporary humor about everything from midlife singles to middle-class neurotics has special appeal to his customers.
Larson’s line should reach over 300 shops from coast to coast by mid-December, just in time for gift hunters to find unusual ideas for under the Christmas tree. The selection includes infant-size sweatshirts featuring Larson’s famous gloomy dog to adult Tshirts sporting the cartoon character Buzz saying, “I’d diet, but I’m too hungry.”
Cartoonist and illustrator Mary Lou Larson’s work has appeared in over 60 newspapers and magazines around the country, including the New York Times, Newsweek, and Rolling Stone magazine. A part-time professor at the Institute of Art, Mary Lou has won numerous awards and contests, including the Arts Council Award for Humor and The Texas Prize for Humor.
Larson’s line is also available through mail order. For a catalog that includes 10 other humorists and a plethora of novelty items, retailers and consumers can call Novelty, Inc., at 1-800-555-9786.