Katy of Chichester Copywriter went networking with the Chichester Mumpreneurs at the end of May and found out about a potentially interesting talk between Sales Coach Dawn Gracie and Editor in Chief of the Observer series, Colin Channon. Interesting it was; Colin was more than happy to share his top tips on how to get a press release printed in the local paper with the female networking group and Chichester Copywriter learnt some tricks of the trade that she’ll be able to pass on to you.
Starting out working for the Portsmouth News as a Junior Reporter, Colin Channon was made Editor of the Chichester Observer six years ago. He is now responsible for covering news in many areas of West Sussex as Editor in Chief of the Observer Series papers based in Chichester, and the Herald & Gazette series in Worthing and Littlehampton.
Armed with plenty of insight into what makes readers tick, Colin revealed that we’re a melancholic bunch who love nothing more than a bit of doom and gloom, particularly stories about murders (the gorier the better) and regular columns announcing who’s divorcing who. On the other hand, readers are partial to a community spirit story and the local press was instrumental in raising awareness about Chichester’s Christmas Lights Campaign, which resulted in an anonymous business man putting up the remaining £5000 needed for Chichester City Centre to twinkle last December. The Observer series also got behind the campaign march to help save St Richard’s Hospital, which lead to 15,000 people turning out on Chichester’s streets in support.
When putting together a newspaper and piecing together each story, so that they draw people in, these are the kind of things that Colin and his team have to consider:
What attracts the eye?
This means that not every story will get printed and that some stories will take priority over others. Also, stories that seem to be serving the interests of just you and your business are unlikely to get a look in – these are essentially ads – unless you get creative and find a way to involve the readers or the wider community. But if you want your press release to get noticed and used by busy journalists then here are a few tips from the man at the top:
Do you want your press release to get noticed?
- Send your story in advance – Prepare to send your story at least two weeks before the event, if it’s time sensitive. Be prepared for the paper to hold the story back until they have space to run it if it’s not time sensitive.
- Send your story at the optimum moment – The start of the week is the busiest time for the Chichester Observer so by Thursday the journalists and editors are starting to compile the next issue. Send them a press release at the end of the week to stand a better chance of it getting noticed.
- The first paragraph is most important – Your story must grab the reader’s attention so make the first paragraph of your press release stand out and really get the message across to the journalist or editor who receives it.
- Keep it snappy – Aim to get your message across is around 300 words. The editor will contact you if the story grabs their attention and they want more details.
- Make your contact details clear – This is important so that the editor can easily contact you for more details if necessary. Remember that they have tight deadlines to meet and the easier and quicker you make things for them, the better.
- Send a photo in with your story – The Observer series has a limited amount of photographers and if you can send them the whole package you’re more likely to see your story printed.
Another way to up the chances of seeing your story in print is to have it written by a professional copywriter. Katy is experienced at writing press releases and has had stories printed about Chichester Copywriter’s Writers’ Retreats and Creative Writing Workshops. She has also written news stories and press releases on behalf of clients and had these printed in the local press including the Chichester Observer and its former Business Matters Magazine.
Contact Katy at Chichester copywriter today if you’d like a professionally written press release that will get noticed by the press.