|Kelly Rand, director of Hello Craft & a writer for both Crafting a Green World & DCist.com, has been a recent contributor on Indie Fixx HERE & HERE. I’ve enjoyed Kelly’s posts & I have asked her to be a regular monthly contributor. Each month Kelly will share a post about something that comes across her desk & that she thinks you would like to hear about. Today she shares how to write a press release for Special Topics in Calamity Business. BTW, I will be back tomorrow from my vacation!
Writing a Press Release
By guest contributor Kelly Rand
There comes a point in promoting your business and the goings on of your business that a press release comes in handy. While they might seem a bit old school, press releases have their uses. Mainly they are used to help publicize an activity or accomplishment, such as a new product line or craft fair that you are organizing, and gets the word out to the media about them.
When writing a press release it is important to communicate all the necessary information clearly and concisely. Often times reporters and bloggers are too busy to browse through unimportant material and information. Keep your message short and straightforward—no longer than one page front and back, double-spaced, and that key information is in the press release itself. Be sure to include the who, what, where, when, how, and whys.
If available, type the press release on letterhead. In the top left corner, type “DATE: (Month, Day, Year)” and “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.”
Below the dateline, type “CONTACT: (Name, title, phone number, and e-mail address of two contact people).” Be sure one of the contacts is always available. If a reporter needs a quote or more information, he or she must be able to reach someone quickly.
Skip a line, then type a one-line headline that summarizes your release. Center it and type in boldface. For example: “XYZ Crafting Business Announces New Eco-Friendly Product Line” Skip another line and begin the first, and most important, paragraph. At the beginning of the paragraph, type the dateline—the city (in all capital letters) and the state abbreviation. For instance: “BOSTON, MA — The XYZ Crafting Business unveiled their latest in a line of eco-friendly bags today …”
Your lead paragraph should cover all the basics: What is happening, who is doing it, when and where it is happening, and why it is important to the community. Subsequent paragraphs should expand on the first, including interesting information and quotes. The final paragraph should give readers the name and phone number of someone to call for more information.
At the end of the completed release, mark either ### or -30- to let reporters know they have reached the end. Skip a line and write a sentence or two identifying your organization or company and its goals. For example, “The XYZ Crafting Company has been producing hand sewn eco-friendly bags for fun and fashion since 2001.”
Be sure to proof read the release then email it your blog and press contacts. Feel free to include a photo with credits clearly marked in the release. Also make sure that you are sending it to the appropriate people. For example, if you are announcing a new fashion line, you should send your release to fashion reporters and bloggers. Your release will never make it past the sports reporter that you included on your list just because you assume they will pass it along. They won’t.
About the contributor: Kelly Rand is staff writer for DCist.com, lead writer for Crafting a Green World, and is co-founder of Hello Craft, a non-profit trade association dedicated to the advancement of indie crafters and the handmade movement. Kelly is a compulsive knitter and avid maker who believes that handmade will save the world.