Business Wire recently held a very popular webinar with our largest global news partner, The Associated Press, the 165-year-old non-profit cooperative newsgathering and reporting organization.
During this webinar, attended by more than 400 communication professionals across the country, Philana Patterson, AP’s Small Business and Breaking News Editor, told listeners “How to Make a Business Editor Happy” – a series of tips that will help ensure better coverage of your news releases by the AP, its subscribers and other media.
- Reduce industry jargon and use clear, crisp writing. Make sure your releases don’t get counted in the annual SHIFT Communications Top 50 Most Overused Words in Press Releases Stick to the basics and make sure your release could be easily understood by any reader.
- Use subheads throughout your releases to organize news. Breaking up your release into easily-digestible chunks, clearly labeled with explanatory subheads, makes it easy for editors to locate the topics most relevant to their beats or areas of interest.
- Consider using bullets to highlight key items. Much like subheads, bullets make it easy to see at a glance what the key takeaways from your news are.
- Don’t try to bury the news in the release – they will find it anyway! Reporters and editors are paid to find news, and if it looks like you’re trying to hide something in your release, it’s probably the first thing they’ll report on.
- Include a phone number on your release. If it’s important enough to send out, it’s important enough to get asked about. Make sure interested media can get in touch with you. Business Wire makes sure your contact info is available to all of our receiving media points.
- Make sure the contact person is working all day the day your news moves. If your usual contact person isn’t going to be in the office, make sure there’s an alternate contact available. Nothing’s more frustrating for editors than trying to do follow-up only to be told the contact isn’t in that day.
Patterson also offered one very important tip for making sure your news gets noticed in the first place: Include a photo. According to Patterson, many of their subscribers tell the AP that they mostly use stories that carry photos. Visual elements are particularly important for mobile and online users who gravitate towards visual-based reporting.
Photos not only get your story noticed at the news desk, they get it noticed if the AP provides further coverage. And always make sure your photos are high-resolution – at least 2,000 pixels on the longest side, and at least 1MB in size. All photos that run over Business Wire will meet the AP’s sizing standards.
We’ve made Patterson’s full list of tips available as a PDF – click here to download your copy to save and share with your colleagues!
If you attended the webinar, we hope you enjoyed it and found its content useful. You can find additional webinars, local meetings and other Business Wire events at our Events page. Bookmark it today!