With 30 bureaus around the world and more newsrooms than all of our competitors combined, Business Wire is proud to provide local expertise and superior service, backed by the most accurate editors in the world. In Editor’s Corner, we ask some of our best to chime in on how to get the most out of your press release, based on their years of experience in the industry.
Years ago, teaching English composition at the University of Arkansas, I gave a half-joking, half-serious commandment to my students the first day of class: don’t bore me.
I didn’t mean that a tiger had to leap out at me in every sentence, or that each paragraph should end with someone hanging from a cliff. I meant that their prose should be vigorous –clear and concise, filled with specific detail.
In my past 13 years as an editor at Business Wire, I’ve discovered that readers of your news releases want the same thing. They’re not looking for pouncing tigers – just clear, concise, detailed information that keeps them reading. And keeps them using your releases — in their newspaper, television broadcast, blog or online database.
We all know “the rules” by now: omit needless words, clearly attribute speakers in quotes, use nouns and strong verbs, etc. (Pick up a style guide for a refresher course. From the fussy Elements of Style to the practical and sturdy AP Stylebook, there’s a million of ‘em out there.)
Writing a tight, detailed release definitely will get your news noticed. But an even better way to attract media attention is to include a multimedia element with your release — something you can do by ordering a Smart News Release (SNR).
Press releases about new hires or promotions will definitely attract more eyes if you include photos. Open up any newspaper’s business section, which is filled with executive headshots, and you’ll see how valuable these are to editors – and thus to your company.
That old adage about “a picture being worth a thousand words” endures because it’s true. Many times I’ve worked on an SNR one day and then seen the same image in the pages of USA Today or the Los Angeles Times the next morning. And I’ve seen videos SNRs I’ve worked on in the morning on that evening’s local news broadcast.
Some things to keep in mind when you send in a photo as part of your SNR:
- Send it in .jpg format. (Other graphics files like .tif, .gif, .bmp, and .png are usable, too.)
- Send images of at least 2400 pixels on the longest side. (Although we can run any size as an SNR, print media won’t use smaller images.)
- Always include a caption with your photo.
Some things to keep in mind when sending us video files:
- Send original digitized files (MPG, MP4, AVI, WMV and MOV files, for example) rather than files already converted to a streaming format.
- Make the video for a window of at least 320×240 pixels (a 4:3 aspect ratio).
- The frame rate should be at least 15 fps (frames per second) or higher.
- Most web viewers say they prefer videos of five minutes or less.
Along with photos and videos, you can supplement your news releases with Excel spreadsheets and charts; PowerPoint slide shows; PDF documents; Word documents; or Flash animations.
Finally, include your company logo with your photo or video. This will help brand your company news and help complete your multimedia package.
-Roger Johnson, Senior Editor, Business Wire Los Angeles