Press releases can be an effective way to get the word out about your book. However, journalists receive many press releases every day and reject most of them at first glance.
A press release is much like a news story. The difference is that it is written with the intention of selling the worthiness of coverage for any topic that someone in the media might want to write about. Using proper press release format will help your chances of being published.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE should be at the top right corner, followed by the headline centered below it.
Start with an attention grabbing title. Use words that are memorable and describe the content of the story. Try to include something unique or highly unusual in the title to attract a journalist’s attention and encourage them to read further. It’s best to write the title after you have written the rest of your press release. Brainstorm to come up with a few different ideas and ask at least one other person for their opinion and feedback.
Include essential information in the first paragraph. Journalists are inundated with press releases and pitches every day and don’t have time to read them all in entirety. If the first paragraph does not grab their attention, they will most likely not continue reading it. A journalist will want to find out all the relevant information in the first paragraph. To ensure that you have included everything, ask yourself – does the first paragraph answer the following questions about the story: Who? What? Where? When? How? and Why?
Use objective and impartial language. Try to distance yourself from the story and write about it as if you were a journalist. It should not look like an advertising company wrote it. Leave out any hyperbole that a marketer would want to use. Objective and impartial language will appeal to a journalist who may even re-use your words when reporting your story.
Include at least one quote in the press release. This could be a quote from a book reviewer or the author themselves.
Keep it short and straightforward. Journalists are busy people and do not have time to read through pages of dense text. Re-write your press release several times until you are happy that each sentence and paragraph is as short and concise as possible. One-page press releases have much more impact than longer ones. Delete all irrelevant details and reduce sentences by re-wording them in a more concise style. If you communicate your story clearly and straightforward, you will maximize your chances of gaining publicity.
At the end of your press release, make sure to include your website and contact information so that any further questions can be answered for the person receiving the release.
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