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How to Write a Better Press Release: Guest

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How to Write a Better Press Release: Guest

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Politicians are increasingly using technology to connect with their constituents in creative ways. Here's a look at how Illinois' politicians have embraced the trend.

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Let's go over how to write a better press release, shall we?

The press release is used to bring noteworthy information to the masses. It's a vessel of news. An announcement of the unannounced. It comes in a shape and size familiar to its recipient. Entrepreneurs and publicists alike adhere to its traditional form, but seem to misunderstand its function. It's often the only opportunity the entrepreneur will ever have to win over the release's recipient. And yet, it is often so poorly written.

As an Inc. Well writer, I am the recipient of many a bad press release and wanted to help you to help yourselves. If you send out press releases, here are five tips to swear by.

1. The title needs to stand out. I'm not suggesting including words like "naked" or "chocolate" to get me excited. But if you don't bother to title your press release with an answer to the why-I-should-not-hit-the-delete-key question, you may as well not send it. You think your news is newsworthy, but will someone else?

2. Brevity is key. Please stay away from the five-paragraph press release. If the two or three paragraphs that you submit grab me, I'll be sure to follow up with you. Promise.

3. Avoid adjective overuse. I know your client is the most amazingly stunning, effective, outrageous and fantastically superb person, but the more "descriptive," the less effective. None of your adjectives tell me why my readers will dig your client. Again, they are descriptive for you, but not for me. And guess what? Every single press release I've ever received describes someone who is incredibly superfluously magically stunningly staggeringly breathtakingly extraordinarily awesome. Let's differentiate, please.

4. Fact check. A publicist recently sent me a press release that included a "recent" statistic on women in business. Our good friend Google revealed the publicist's definition of "recent" is incredibly broad; that statistic was from 1994. Please note that we all have access to Google. And sometimes we do really check out your stats and quotes.

5. Connect. If I've never seen your name in my inbox before, I'm twice as likely to hit delete. Maybe start with a brief email to me and then figure out whether I'd be receptive to receiving press releases from you. The publicists who email even with a "Do you accept press releases on X topics?" query always get a response from me. Cold contacting does not.

What with social media and swifter ways of communicating news, I've done away with the press release. You can too. But if you just can't bear the thought, please keep the above tips in mind. Thank you very much. You are unbelievably, incredibly, and utterly awesome. 

Jill Salzman is currently growing her third entrepreneurial venture, The Founding Moms, the world’s first and only kid-friendly collective of monthly meetups for mom entrepreneurs. Having built two successful companies, she launched The Founding Moms to connect mom entrepreneurs around the globe with one another.In her spare time, Jill enjoys kloofing, traveling to small towns, and erasing her daughters’ crayon artwork from the kitchen walls.

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