What makes a good press release today? According to the Catching Flack column in BNET, there are two things you need:
In the end, though, there are only really two elements that define a good press release: it needs to be brief, and it needs to contain real news. The definition of “real news” is that it be timely and contain some facts and figures about the news you are announcing. You get bonus points for including links to background information on the web. You also get bonus points for making sure the people who are involved in announcing the news — the PR person and the key spokespeople — are available to comment and follow-up with interested parties immediately after the release is issued.
“It’s not news” is something I am constantly telling people when I explain why I will not be sending out a press release about… whatever it is they think is newsworthy. Just because we think something is important doesn’t mean it will be important to a reporter.
Most of my job is centered around packaging our stories in just the right way so someone from a media outlet will find it newsworthy. That will get you coverage most of the time.