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Guidelines For Writing A Press Release

Content

Don’t just submit a background on your band. You have to relate something which is news worthy. Remember, you are telling the everyone a significant piece of news, and trying to get the reading public to be interested in, and ultimately buying your music, your brand. Don’t write an advert. If turns out like that, do it again.

Just because you find something interesting doesn't mean somebody else will. Your audience has to find the news interesting. So ask yourself, why the subject of this press release is interesting? There has to be something unusual or unique. CDs are released all the time, what makes yours stand out? Was it recorded, mixed and mastered in 5 days? Did you take 10 years to record it? All the vocals were recorded backwards, and then reversed? The album cover has been banned and shops will only sell it in a brown paper bag?

You can see why publicity stunts often accompany new CDs, or videos.

The point is, pick an angle, and make the connections for the reader. The angle provides the hook. If you are writing about an achievement, connect it to you, and the events that lead up to the achievement, with the emphasis on the positive.

Your press release has to provide the media with apprpriate information about your product,or event. Good press releases must answer these 5 questions:

  1.  Who
  2.  What
  3.  Where
  4.  When
  5.  Why

Get the message over in the title and the very first paragraph. Use the rest of the press release to go onto more detail, and give some context to the news.

When your write the press release, write it to be targeted at the media who will ultimately use it. Journalists will often use a press release as source material for a fuller feature, so it has to contain a good level of information, and be well written. Commonly press releases will be edited before publication, but this is not always the case. Sometimes your press release will appear exactly as you wrote it.

Avoid cliches. Avoid hype! the exalamation point (!) is not cool. Avoid jargon, use the minimum you have to, to get the point over.

Make your release relevant to current events and issues. Stick to the facts. If you find that you are adding to much emelishment, yet again re-examine the need for this press release, or the angle you are taking. The media are a suspicious lot. If they think your story sounds far fetched, and too good to be true, it is your credibility that will be damaged.

Don't be too wordy. Use enough to get the point across. If you are struggling to get more than a paragraph you need to really question the news-worthy-ness, and or angle of your piece. Don't use a passive voice "entered a contract with...". Say "signed to". Use strong verbs. Don't say "The band played a very good gig and went down well". Say "The band was brilliant and the crowd loved every minute".

Try to use quotes from band members and those assosciated with the band.

Before you use a quote, or use the name of a company, get permission before you use it.

When you finish the press release include a short paragraph that describes the band, with a very brief history. You know "Formed in 2002 the blahblah band have gained a large following. 5 guys and 1 girl playing the length and breadth of the country they were spotted in September 2004 by Chas McMac, CEO of Big Chewy Records. September 2005 saw them being voted "best band wearing jeans" at the much acclaimed Twisted Music Awards.

 

Press Release Presentation

DON'T USE ALL UPPERCASE. Use mixed case letters, otherwise it is likely to get ignored.

When writing your release, use the correct grammar. Not like me. If there are too many errors, editors will reject the release.

Write your release in a word processor. Don't type directly into an online form.

Don't embed HTML. If the press release makes it onto a non-html medium it will be unreadable.

Don't list your contact email address within the press release. This is an open invitation to spammers. However, your mail address may still be included by the publisher.

Include a summary paragraph.

Avoid using logos or trademark names, without explicit written permission.

Format your press release, like a press release:

Headline is Written in Title Case (first letter of each word is capitalized, apart from articles of 3 letters or less an prepositions)

Aim for titles of less than 150 characters. Don't End Titles With a Period

Use regular sentence form for the summary paragraph. Don't just repeat the title, say it in a differnet way.

Use the format: City, Region, Country (SONGSTUFF) January 1, 20xx -- Start your text here...

Include your contact details:

Contact:

Name

Role (if not band member)

Company (if not band)

Street Address (Optional)

Telephone (Optional)

Web Address

A contact email address is normally required for submission, and is often included in on-line publications.

Include any necessary statement to cover liability etc if necessary.

Discuss this article in our Music Forum.

 

John Moxey

Songstuff Site Crew

 

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