PRSA Webinar Takeaways: “Anatomy of a News Release”

By: Megan Peterson

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As many of you know, one of the many benefits of being a PRSA member is access to learning tools. Personally, I enjoy participating in the webinars. Recently, I tuned in for “Anatomy of a News Release”, a webinar by Ann Wylie, that provided wonderful insight.  For instance…

Since the invention of the news release in 1906,  A LOT has changed. Particularly, journalists are overworked, often news rooms are understaffed and their emails are overflowing. We know this. Why is it important? Because we can’t write releases the way ‘it’s always been done,’ as the circumstances have significantly changed.

However, 70 percent of journalists said their jobs would be harder without press releases (Ann noted, via Greentarget). So, it’s up to PR pros to adapt and be relevant, concise and impactful in releases in order to make things streamlined for journalists.

Takeaways;

  • Biggest takeaway (in my opinion): don’t tell them (the journalist/audience) WHAT you’re going to tell them, just tell them.
    • BAD: “Company X Announces Growth”
    • GOOD: “Company X increases staff by X%”
  • Write in sound bites – be concise. Make sure there are a plethora of quotes for the journalist to choose from, should they choose to write an original story.
  • Hit all your Ws (What, Why, Who, When and Where), just like you learned, but don’t be overly repetitious, simply provide key facts.
  • Bonus: there is a higher chance of pickup if you include media assets (like pictures, video, etc.) when you distribute a release (as an individual or through a distribution service).

Enhancing our skills and learning continually is so crucial in PR; many thanks to Ann Wylie for this educational webinar… I’ve certainly ‘stepped away from the inverted pyramid’ after this webinar; cheers & happy writing/pitching/distributing to you!

PS – If you’re APR certified, participating in PRSA webinars earns points towards maintenance credits so be sure to check out these upcoming opportunities for more webinar learning.

Megan Peterson is a Digital Communication Specialist at Tweddle Group, a Detroit Economic Club Young Leader member, a national/Detroit chapter member of PRSA and a PR volunteer for The Lake House in St. Clair Shores.