Press release

How do I write a press release?

1) What is a press release?

A press release is a concise statement, designed to appeal to journalists in it’s format and style. It’s a simple way to communicate with the press, and one of the best methods for achieving media interest.

2) Why should I use a press release?

Journalists are busy people; a well-written, professional press release is the quickest way to present your story to them. It will be competing with lots of others, so your release needs to grab the attention of the editor or journalist that you’ve targeted. This is more likely to be achieved with a decent story, rather than embellishing a dull story with flowery language, so take a moment to consider whether your’s is actually newsworthy.

3) What makes a good press release?

Your press release should be focused on an event that your group has organised or something that you have done. Whilst the subject of your release might be a great source of pride for yourself or your organisation, bear in mind that it might not be interesting to the audience. How can you make it relevant or of interest to the readers? See A Journalist’s point of view

4) What should I include?

Start with the basics and clearly mark the top of the document with PRESS RELEASE. Use business/campaign headed paper if you have it.

Put the date that you wish the release to be published. Write ‘For immediate release’ if you want your story reported straight away. You can ask for the information to be held back until a particular date. This is called an embargo. For example, you might want to capture the interest of the press but not reduce the impact of an announcement until it has been made; you can embargo your press release, or part of it, until the event has happened.

A press release is a concise statement, designed to appeal to journalists in it’s format and style.

5) What is the correct style?

Think like a journalist, you’re trying to catch their attention.

6) Sending your press release

It is imperative that your press release goes to the right person. When you email, fax or post your release it must be clearly addressed to that individual. Make the effort to find out the name of the news editor and send it to them.

Timing can mean the difference between success and failure. Early mornings are a good time to contact daily newspapers; try to avoid Friday afternoons or the day before public holidays.

Nurture your contacts. Building up a relationship with the media can mean a better reception for your press releases. Don’t wait until the event, contact a journalist in advance and offer to meet them to talk about your story.

Follow up with a call. You’ve probably spent a lot of time crafting your perfect press release only for it to be buried on a busy news desk. A call to check that your release has been received will bring it to the attention of the journalist, who might otherwise miss it completely. If your story doesn’t appear within the next few days, call up and ask why then you’ll know where to improve your efforts next time.