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Professional publicists recommend press releases to deliver business news to the media for broadcast to potential customers.
Publicity of this kind is free and can often be done by a business owner or someone who works for her company.
If the media publish the story, the business stands to gain the goodwill of existing customers and attract new ones.
The result can be increased sales at a cost of only the time it takes to write and distribute the release.
But the average newsroom receives hundreds of e-mails and faxes every day, only a fraction of which are published.
Competition for print space and airtime means press releases need to be creative, factual and informative.
They must provide content the media believe its readers, viewers and listeners want.
Front page or trash bin
The difference between a well-written press release and one that is poorly researched and badly written can mean a story landing on the front page or one that goes into the recycle bin.
Good research is essential to obtain accurate information, as well as insight into what editors prefer.
Topics or themes a particular editor finds interesting can be gleaned by reading business or consumer stories the newspaper recently published.
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