Top 10 Press Release Basics for Decorative and Fine Arts Dealers.

In 1 on November 19, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Yesterday, a dealer asked me to  review and comment on  a press release she had written.  Naturally, I agreed.  As it turned out, she gave me a delightful afternoon. The press release had a good hook – for a novel. It offered me insight and information – on everything from antique roses to vintage carriages.

After I pared away the extras, it turned out the dealer was announcing a new shipment of antiques from Europe. After marking up the copy and sending it back with a few pointed suggestions, I got to thinking that you might benefit from knowing something about press release etiquette.

Here’s the primer, as I learned it.

“Top 10” Tricks of a Good Press Release.

  1. Decide what it is you want to promote. This could be anything from  a new exhibition to a new website, or a sale, move or expansion.
  2. Front load your copy. You can do this by visualizing an
  3. inverted pyramid. Who/what/when in the first paragraph. As you spin out your announcement, details become sparser toward the bottom.Front load your press release.
  4. Make sure you have a call to action in the last paragraph. Tell readers what you want them do: go to a website, come to a preview.
  5. Provide correct contact information. Put your name, phone and email  above the headline and below the last paragraph (flush left.) Buyers and journalists must be able to contact your.
  6. Be honest. It took you years to establish a reputation of integrity and expertise. Don’t tarnish that by overselling.  Not all press releases have to star Kim Kardashian. If the facts are presented right, they’re just as sexy and far more reliable.
  7. Be sure to state the benefits. Think of what your new shipment, your move or your new website is going to do for your customers. Will it give them a bigger choice, make coming in more convenient, give them an opportunity to preview you product?
  8. Be brief. No more than 80 words per paragraph. Copy tops out at 600 words.
  9. Know your audience. Direct the right press release to the right editor or blogger. Don’t send art stories to the business ed, unless there’s a business twist to your announcement.
  10. Don’t be too promotional. Steer clear of “the best,” “the leader,” “the rarest,” “the world’s finest,” (unless, of course, it is and you prove it in your copy.)
  11. Know your limitations. If you don’t have the stomach for writing, revising and proofreading, let someone else do it for you. But retain the right to approve, edit and send back for corrections.

Just one more thing.  Before you sit down to write your press release, take a good look at the paper or publication you’re targeting. You need to know what sets their editors blood pumping.

Next blog,  I’ll share some more secrets of the trade. Until then, why not make a list of topics you think are worthy of a press release. Send them to me and I’ll offer you ideas on how to create a hook for them.


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