How to craft a good press release or newsy article.

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In our last article, we talked about how to get good coverage in your local newspaper, particularly how it’s not about luck but rather about following a strong recipe for crafting and pitching press releases the right way.  

Once you know your basics (see previous article here), it’s time to focus on the mainstay of your coverage: the press release. Press releases (or media releases) are a huge part of what you’ll see in print. Sometimes the newspaper will pick up the full release, tweak it a tad, then pop it in with very few changes. Other times, they will use it as a catalyst for a deeper, fuller article they do themselves. (And if it’s bad, they might even chuck it altogether.)

What is a press release vs. an article?

A press release (sometimes called a media release) is a very basic mini article about your news. It can be about something that happened, is happening, or will happen. 

An article is more extensive and longer, and it’s about a fuller topic than “just” an event—maybe your company just sent 10 people to bring your product and minister in an inner city, and wow, do they have a tale to tell! It has a more creative lead, though still communicates the news up front.

What are the elements of a good press release?

  • Hook the reporter or editor with an angle that is unique and compelling.
  • Straightforward; presents news on a silver platter that journalists can immediately recognize as interesting/essential
  • Say important stuff first: 5 Ws and H—who, what, where, when, why and how.
  • Audience is key. What will their people want? It has nothing to do with you or your ministry.
  • No hype, no selling, just the facts. Stay away from phrases like “unique,” “wonderful,” “uplifting,” “state-of-the-art,” etc. unless it’s in a quote.
  • Third-person perspective. Never use “I” or “we” unless it’s in a quote.
  • Shorter is better—one page.
  • List your full church name and city
  • Give a contact person

What are the elements of a good article?

  • Hook the reporter or editor with an angle that is unique and compelling.
  • More creative lede (first sentence) but get to the point right away with the 5 Ws and H
  • Three sources quoted
  • Longer, but not too long. A page or two max.
  • No hype unless it’s in a quote.
  • Third-person perspective. Never use “I” or “we” unless it’s in a quote.
  • List your full church name and city
  • Give a contact person

Matt Brodie

Columbia Wedding Photography, 112 Old Cherokee Road, Lexington, SC, 29072