to write a tip sheet
By Sandra Beckwith
A tip sheet is a news release that offers advice or tips in
a bulleted or numbered format. It’s one of the hardest working
and most useful tactics available for generating publicity. Use a tip
sheet to generate short column notes in a newspaper or magazine or to
interest a reporter, editor or producer in a feature article or talk
show interview on the tip sheet topic.
Here’s how to create an effective tip sheet:
- Use a press release
format. The biggest difference between a tip sheet and a traditional
press release is that the body of the tip sheet will include your
tips or advice in a numbered or bulleted format.
- Start with
a headline that mimics those on magazine covers – “5
ways to lose weight before June” or “Top 7 mistakes shoppers
make.” Here’s an example from a tip sheet promoting a women’s
health and nutrition book to newspaper living sections:
Expert offers 10 nutrition tips for New Year’s resolutions
your first paragraph so it explains why the tips are necessary. The
first paragraph and introductory text for the nutrition tip sheet was:
health club owner knows, “taking better care of myself” tops
New Year’s resolution lists each year. Yet, many people – particularly
women – don’t know exactly what it means to take better
care of themselves.
- Present a quotation in the second paragraph. This should
provide more detail about why the tip sheet is necessary and establish
credentials. Here’s the second paragraph in the New Year’s
resolution tip sheet:
“Traditionally, women have been caretakers of others in their
lives – friends,
family, neighbors, coworkers,” explains Susan Calvert Finn, PhD,
RD, FADA, the architect of the American Dietetic Association’s
Nutrition & Healthy
Campaign for Women. “More and more busy women are realizing,
however, that before they can adequately care for others, they must
first care for themselves. It is clear that they must take charge of
their own health. Nobody is going to do it for them.”
up your tips with a sentence – “Here are Smith’s
tips for saving money at the supermarket” – or a short
paragraph, as we have here:
Dr. Finn’s new book, The American Dietetic Association
Guide to Women’s
Nutrition for Healthy Living, provides women of all ages with nutrition
information they can use immediately to eat right, maintain their health
and prevent disease. Here are her top 10 suggestions from the book
for women who need a healthier lifestyle this year:
- Then list your tips with bullets or numbers. When tips are listed
this way, rather than in traditional paragraphs, editors can quickly
scan them to see if they would be useful to readers – or not.
Make sure you write your tips in an active voice with strong verbs.
And make sure they provide advice, not reasons to do something or product
features. Here are a few of the tips in Finn’s release so you
can get a sense of how this works:
• Make an appointment with a registered dietitian (RD) for a nutritional
checkup. Call the American Dietetic Association at 800-366-1655 to
locate an RD near you.
• Switch your thinking from “ideal” weight
to “healthy” weight.
Remember, you are unique. Your healthy weight may differ from your
neighbor’s – even
if she is your height and age – because of other variables such
as genetics, fitness level and overall health.
• Look for “aerobic
opportunities” every day. Park farther
out in the lot at the mall. Take a brief walk at lunch or dinner. Think
of the stairs as your friend.
- Finally, add the concluding boilerplate
paragraph that you put on most press releases. Here’s the paragraph for
the nutrition book:
The American Dietetic Association Guide to Women’s Nutrition
for Healthy Living, published by Perigee Books, is available
in bookstores nationwide for $14. Book proceeds benefit nutrition
research by the ADA, a national organization of 70,000 nutrition
professionals, 98 percent of whom are women.
Look for ways to include tip sheets in your publicity plan; you’ll soon
see how easily they generate results.
Sandra Beckwith, the author
of Streetwise Complete Publicity Plans: How to Create Publicity That
Will Spark Media Exposure and Excitement, teaches the online “Book Buzz” class
for Freelance Success. Learn more at www.sandrabeckwith.com.