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Massage Today
May, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 05

Marketing Your Practice: A Lesson in Press Release Writing 101

By Cary Bayer

There are certain things to bear in mind when creating a press release. At the top left, indicate who is sending out the release; in other words, the name and contact information (email address, phone number) of the person who will be in charge of receiving any phone calls from inquiring press members.

Also, indicate the date that the release is being sent out. This enables members of the press to know how timely the release is should they not happen to attend to it for some weeks.

Underneath the contact information at the top of the press release is the headline. This is an important part of the release for the press because it summarizes the gist of the story. It does so in just a few bold-faced words in capital letters, and in a larger font size than the body of the press release — say 18 point versus 14 point. If the story concerns a licensing of a new massage therapist in Florida, for example, a sample headline might read:

JANE Q. PUBLIC LICENSED AS MASSAGE THERAPIST IN FLORIDA

Office in West Palm Beach will Offer Swedish & Neuromuscular Massage

Notice the use of all capital letters for the first part of the headline, and upper and lower letters for the second part, which is called the subhead and which explains the kind of work she'll focus on and where she'll practice. Notice also the use of a skipped line (return) between the headline and the subhead, to make it easier for a reporter to read. After that, to the left, will follow the dateline (see below), and then the body of the release. This text will explain the who, what, where, when and why of the release, and will do so as quickly as possible. As a former journalist, I can tell you with absolute certainty that members of the press never have enough time to do all the things that they are required to do. As a result, they hate when their time is wasted by PR people or people who know little about PR who are attempting to perform that function for a business. Consequently, they want to be able to quickly get the essence of a story. The first paragraph — or the second at most — should convey all the highlights of the story. (See sample press release below.)

A sample press release about the addition of a new therapist at an existing massage office follows below.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FROM CARY BAYER
AUGUST 26, 2012 (954) 788-3380,


"YOUR BODY NEEDS US MASSAGE" ADDS JANE DOE AS THERAPIST

Ft. Lauderdale Practice Complements Sports & Relaxation Massage with Medical Massage

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL—Your Body Needs Us Massage, an 11-year-old massage therapy office at 2001 Las Olas Blvd. in Ft. Lauderdale, has added Jane Doe as its third licensed massage therapist (LMT). Ms. Doe, 32, comes to the company from Holistic Chiropractic, Boca Raton, where she worked for two years specializing in medical massage.

"Jane's expertise in removing pain from the bodies of the people on her table will add a valuable resource to our practice," said Susan Smith, the owner of Your Body Needs Us Massage, who's widely known for her deeply relaxing spa-like treatments. Her office also features the work of John Q. Public, whose specialty is sports massage.

"Our patients, especially the accident victims, will miss the skilled hands of Jane Doe," said Dr. Robert Bones, the chiropractor for whom she's worked the past two years. "But we know she has a great opportunity in Ft. Lauderdale, where she lives and we wish her all the best."

"I'm thrilled to be joining Your Body Needs Us Massage," said Jane Doe. "They're widely known in the state, they're highly respected in the community, and the opportunity that they're presenting to me is one that I couldn't walk away from. Speaking of walking," she added with a chuckle, "they're located only five minutes from where I live, so I can walk to work."

-30-

Press Release Post-Game Report

Let's take a moment to analyze the sample press release that I wrote above. If you study it carefully, you'll discover that, in 10 words, the headline tells the reporter instantly the name of the new therapist and the name of the office that she'll be joining. The sub-head indicates where the office is based, the modality the new therapist is noted for and how that modality complements the two other modalities of that office. It does all this in just 11 words. To paraphrase a well-known aphorism, brevity is the soul of headline writing.

press release writing - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Then the press releases first paragraph (known in the trade as the lead) tells the journalist the name of the new therapist, her age, where she's joining from and the kind of modality that she's noted for practicing, reinforcing a point made in the subhead. In some cases, this is all that the publication may report on. Depending on the nature of the publication in question, it may also have room for the contents of the second paragraph which quotes the owner of the company that the therapist is joining and also fleshes out, in a succinct manner, how Ms. Doe's addition rounds out the massage business's offerings.

The third graph is pretty superfluous, but the quotation might be picked up by monthly wellness publications; the free weekly community newspaper that reports on the Las Olas neighborhood and Florida's two statewide newsletters, one of which is a bimonthly (every two months), and the other comes out three times a year. The fourth graph is also quite unnecessary for most reporters, but could also be picked up by the state newsletters, as well as the community paper.

The -30- at the end that finishes off the press release is trade talk that lets the reporter know that the release has come to an end. It will also let the reporter know that you know what you're doing. Even if you really don't know that much about what you're doing, the -30- will make the journalist think that you do.


Click here for more information about Cary Bayer.

 

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