August 19, 2017

The 1-minute news release

Can you get your story across in 200 words?

Tick tock.

In the time it takes you to wash your hands, buckle your seat belt or start the dishwasher, your favorite journalist can finish reading your news release.

Gone in 60 seconds If your release is longer than 200 words, seven out of 10 journalists won’t finish it. Image by Katarzyna Kos

That’s right: Nearly 70% of journalists spend less than a minute reading a news release, according to a 2014 study by Greentarget (PDF). The rest spend one to five minutes.

Figure that people read about 200 words per minute, and your release should top out at 200 words.

Why so fast?

No wonder reporters don’t linger over your release:

  • 45% of journalists surveyed get 50 or more releases per week.
  • 21% get at least 100 per week.
  • 40% get 10 to 50.

These folks are drowning in an ocean of content. Plus, years of media downsizing and increasing demands on journalists to produce digital content mean that their time is even more constrained.

As a result, “releases that are too long” is the fourth biggest pet peeve of the journalists surveyed by Greentarget. (“Releases that are poorly written” — ouch! — is No. 3.)

Respect reporters’ time: Write releases that tell the story fast.

  • Think Like a Reporter

    Some 55% to 97% of news releases never get picked up, write Dennis L. Wilcox and Lawrence W. Nolte in Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques.

    So how can you create PR pieces that are among the 3% to 45% of those that actually get the word out?

    NOT Your Father's News Release - Ann Wylie's PR-writing Master Class in Chicago At NOT Your Father's PR Piece — a two-day PR-writing Master Class on May 18-19 in Chicago — you’ll learn how to think like a reporter to develop story angles that readers want to read (and that journalists and bloggers want to run).

    Specifically, you'll learn how to:

    • Fill in the blanks to a great benefits lead: You’ll leave with formulas and recipes for crafting leads that sell the story and stand out from the crowd.
    • Move from event to impact: Learn simple steps for transforming your event, speech or meeting coverage into news readers can use to live their lives better.
    • Create two types of stories media outlets want more of (and avoid one they wish they’d never see again!)
    • Go beyond “new and improved” to information readers really want to know about your product.
    • Steal secrets from Silver Anvil winners: What do nationally award-winning PR writers do that you don’t do?

    Learn more about the Master Class.

    Register for NOT Your Father's News Release - Ann Wylie's PR-writing Master Class in Chicago

    Browse all upcoming Master Classes.

    Would you like to hold an in-house NOT Your Father's News Release workshop? Contact Ann directly.

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