If you’re considering reaching out to the press with information about your veterinary practice, and in particular a case study, you need a method of delivery. The vehicle for sharing your story idea is the press release, which, when formatted accurately, clearly outlines the case and the supporting facts. The press release must be written in the objective third-person voice and strictly adhere to the facts. You’re not writing an advertisement, so don’t use boastful language. Rather, the release must contain the information necessary to develop what is called editorial coverage —the articles or TV segments you read or watch to get your news.
Before you develop a press release, we recommend taking time to learn its function and format requirements.
- Location and date. Follow traditional press release content guidelines by beginning your press release with the city and state of your business, followed by the date of the release. For example: CHICAGO, IL (December 15, 2017) – (Begin your release’s text here)
- Headline, first paragraph and word count. Reporters receive dozens of press releases every single day, and hundreds every week. To give your release an advantage, use a brief and compelling headline that will catch attention, and then get to the point quickly in the first paragraph, and keep the total word count under 400.
- Stick to the facts. It may seem natural to use descriptive words such as “amazing” or “cutting-edge” or “best ever” but reporters will see those words as overly promotional, and better suited for a paid advertisement. You can still use descriptive words, but do so from a more subjective point of view. If your service is exceptional, explain why. If your service is unmatched, describe how. Make your release newsworthy rather than too promotional.
- Build a solid boilerplate. At the end of every press release is a boilerplate, which is a short paragraph that describes your organization. It should be written from the 3rd person perspective, i.e., use words such as “they” or “the practice” rather than “we” or “us”. Be particular about the website pages you point the reader to; if you have a new landing page for biographies, and the release refers to particular veterinarians, you can use that as one of your hyperlinks.
Remember, a press release is simply one tool you have for publicity. On its own, without any personal follow up, you may not see results. But if your story idea is educational and informative, and will be beneficial to the media’s audience of readers and viewers, it’s likely you may earn editorial coverage. The benefit to your practice is the simultaneous promotion of your practice and your expertise.