Quote Permissions and Attribution

Typing press releaseWhen writing your press release, you may want to quote something someone has said or something you have read. Having permission to use a quote is particularly important, especially if it is longer than a single short sentence.  If it is possible to be taken in a negative way, the consequences could be detrimental.

If you want to quote something you have read (copyrighted information) within your press release and do not attain written permission to use this information, you may be held liable and a lawsuit may result, something no company wants. If you personally know the individual, verbal permission may be all that is required. If you are unsure, it is best to receive permission in writing.

An attribution is simply the acknowledgement or credit of your source of information or of the quote. Most well written press releases use attributions. When quoting copyrighted material, be sure to state the source of the quote, including the date or a link. Be sure to include the full name of the individual who made the quote and their occupational title or company position.

If you are using facts and statistics to enhance your story, make sure that you provide source attributions. The reason for this is simple. It adds credibility. If you publish figures or information without a viable source reference, people might assume “it must be too good to be true”, even though your information may be accurate. Without proper source attributions, your information may appear to be stretching the truth, and this could lead to your press release being overlooked.

Bad example: “XYZ is to raise rates” and XYZ Corporation will capitalize on this.

In the above example, there is no attribution. The example does not state who made the quote, or who is commenting on the quote or their position. This also lacks source and date information.

Good example: “XYZ is to raise rates and this is something we will capitalize on,” stated John Doe, marketing manager of XYZ Corporation, in the February 1, 2004 edition of the Sun Newspaper.

In this example, the source, name and position of the person making the comment is clearly stated and does not leave the reader wondering about the credibility of the press release.

Targeting the Media

Targeting the media icon - 24-7PressRelease.com Press Release DistributionWho is your audience? Who needs to hear your story, your news? In a perfect world, everyone would read your press release. To accomplish this, you must achieve ‘second level exposure’.

•  First level exposure – have someone else distribute the information for you through press release distribution, such as 24-7pressrelease.com.

•  Second level exposure – the media picks up your story, calls you, or simply modifies it for their own use. An exceptional press release will be picked up by journalists for publication on web sites, in trade publications and on radio or television.

Although first level exposure is always good, second level exposure is where you will ultimately reap the benefits of obtaining customers or getting their attention. You will have a better chance of gaining second level exposure if you write your press release while keeping the media in mind. These are the individuals that will publish your release elsewhere, if they like it.

Keeping your press release unique, to the point, professional, easy to read and grammatically correct will enhance your chances of someone from the media picking up your story.

Formatting a Press Release for Distribution

Formatting for distribution - 24-7PressRelease.com Press Release DistributionThere is a general format for writing all press releases. To format a release correctly and most effectively, you will need to include the following:

Date Instructions: “For Immediate Release”, “For Release Before (date)”, or “For Release After (date)”. Many online distribution services simply ask you to insert a date in the date line or select one from a calendar.

Contact information: Make it easy for the media to contact you about your story by including as much information as possible. It is important to include a phone number, fax number, email address and company address. Failing to leave this information suggests that your press release is either amateurish or illegitimate. Media contacts will ask: “Why don’t they want to be contacted? What do they have to hide?”

Headline: Your headline must ‘hook’ the reader into wanting to read your full release. You may have a fantastic press release. However, failing to write a strong headline will jeopardize your entire release. It will be overlooked and passed by in favor of a release with a more interesting or exciting or controversial headline. So make your headline an attention grabber.

Sell the benefits of your product or service within your headline:

Losing Weight Is Easy If You Follow These Simple Rules

Or ask a question:

Want to Lose Weight the Easy Way?

These headlines draw a reader into the story, simply because they want to know how to solve a particular problem or they want to know the answer to the question.

Summary: This is a sentence or short paragraph that follows your headline. Here is where you continue to draw the media into your story by summarizing the information in your press release with a strong statement or two to keep the reader interested. But don’t give them everything. You still want them to read the entire release.

Body: This is the main area of your press release. Keep it simple, to the point and brief, 175 – 300 words. Use bullets when appropriate and clear, crisp paragraphs for easy reading. Your press release is meant to entice the media to contact you for further information, so encourage the reader to contact you and visit your web site.

About Us/Boiler Plate: Not everyone uses a boiler plate. However, this is the perfect place to add some brief information about your company. (i.e., “XYZ Company is a leading distributor of widgets and has been in the business of building widgets since 1900.”)

End of Press Release: To end your press release, simply enter ### on a blank line at the end of the release. Any information after ### will not be published.