Inside Secrets to Writing News Releases

by Dr. Joe Vitale

How would you like to get 30,000 phone calls from prospects eager to buy from you?

When I wrote and self-published Hypnotic Writing, my manual on copywriting, (which I later incorporated into my book, CyberWriting: How to Promote Your Product or Service Online (without being flamed)) I bought the mailing list of all the writing magazines in the country. I sent a one page news release to each. One day I opened up one of the national magazines and there was a half page article about my book! It was my entire news release! Had I paid for the advertising, it would have cost me a few hundred if not thousands of dollars. As it were, the exposure cost me about thirty cents.

My best seller is Turbocharge Your Writing. I figured the readers of Target Marketing magazine would be interested in it as many marketing people rely on the formula in the book to write their sales letters. So I sent a news release to them. The editor called and said, “Are you prepared to handle about two hundreds calls?” I said sure. Then I persuaded him to list my address in the magazine, rather than my number, as a service to his readers. All they would have to do is send me a check for the book. I’m still getting orders!

One of my clients is a real estate broker. We sent a news release out about his service and his new book. Women’s Day magazine called him and wanted to buy the rights to excerpt an article from his book. We agreed as long as they gave him a resource box explaining how readers could contact the author. The editor said, “Are you prepared to handle thirty to forty thousand phone calls?” We’ll handle it, we said.

When I was promoting the autograph party for my book, The AMA Complete Guide to Small Business Advertising, I created a simple contest where the top three most unusual business ideas would receive free copies of the book. I wrote a release and sent it out. The Houston Post newspaper ran it on the front page of their business section!

The press is powerful.

When Sharon Holmlund’s business was mentioned in Home Office Computing magazine, she received over 400 inquiries.

When Sharon Olson received a plug in a newspaper column, over 900 readers wrote to her.

When Janice Guthrie’s business was mentioned in Reader’s Digest, she received over 740 calls immediately. The list goes on.

The media desperately wants news. About 80% of what you read in the papers and see on TV is planted by people like you and me sending out news releases!

But how do you write a news release that works?

The biggest secret to writing a hot news release is NEWS!

Okay. That may seem obvious to you. So what’s considered news?

In short: People are interested in themselves first, and other people next.

  • Focus on interesting people and you’ll grab interest.
  • Focus on what readers care about and you’ll grab attention.

  • Focus on giving information and you’ll grab free publicity.

When I was hired to write a story on a client who wanted more business for his college fund raising service, I didn’t begin by saying “Desperate client needs more work.” Though the truth, that would appeal to NO ONE. Instead, I began the article with:

$135 Million Available To Students Who Know Where To Look
(New Jersey) Experts agree a college education is essential for the future work force. But tuitions at public colleges have climbed an average of 12% in the last eight years, according to the College Board of New York. How is anyone expected to finance an education?

Notice how much more interesting the above is? It will interest college students, parents with college bound kids, and many more. The above has NEWS in it.

When I wrote a news release on myself, I didn’t begin by saying “Houston Author Would Like To Write More Books And Make Money.” That wouldn’t interest anyone but my mother. Instead, I created a more human interest and news oriented lead and began the piece with:

(Houston) Award-winning author Joe Vitale spent 20 years developing his craft and struggling for a living as a freelance writer before he discovered the wealth in being a ghostwriter. Now he uses his talents to help speakers, therapists and top executives get in print.

For anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 Vitale will meet with clients, interview them, do research, and write their books. “I do the work, they get the fame — and all the royalties.”

Most best-sellers by sports figures, celebrities, politicians and business leaders are not written by the people on the covers. “Everyone from Lee Iacocca to local business people have hired ghostwriters to create their books,” Vitale says.

Get the idea?

In short, you must have news, invent news, or tie your story to existing news in order to get the media to pay any attention to you.

I explain all of this in my new sales and marketing home study course,Project Phineas: How to Get Rich, Famous, and Live Forever. I can’t tell you everything you need to know here, but I can give you enough information for you to edge out your competition.

Again, the secret is NEWS.

1. You must have news.
That means you are doing something that the media would consider “a good story.” When I created my new home study course, that is something new, and news worthy.

2. You might invent news.
When Evel Knievel said he would jump a canyon, he created a news story.

3. You might attach your story to existing news.
That means that if there is a holiday, you might create a holiday sale. In order words, figure out a way to ride on the skirt tails of something already happening in the news.

Here are more tips: My friend Paul Hartunian, a publicity genius, says there are three ways to get news coverage:

  1. You have a solution to a problem.
    (Your product or service solves something.)

  2. You have the latest fad.
    (Remember the pet rock?)

  3. You are a nut. (Evel Knievel.)

Again, your success with the media will depend on you having NEWS. That’s all they want. One way to look at this is to remember the following quote. (I don’t recall who said it. It may have been William Hearst.)

“If you want it in the paper, it’s advertising.
If you want it kept out of the paper, it’s news.”

Think about it.