How to write a press release

This is a short guide which will help you compose your own press release. Note: this guide is set as a standard for all press releases. You can of course hire a professional PR company to do this for you.

By following these guidelines, your article will be better recognised by our readers, and we will be able to publish this faster.

Why are press release important?

  • Press releases are read by journalists.
  • If a release catches their eye, they might write an article about it, thus getting your company's name mentioned in the media.
  • Journalists are grateful if you make their work easier.
  • Do not formulate an advertising text - write in a style that can be printed in a newspaper.


The structure of a press release

  • Content
  • Style
  • Sample press release

Content
What’s the story?
It’s important to think about the story you want to get across. Your press release should be focused on an event that your group has organised or something that you have done.

The first release you write might report your group’s initial meeting and what you hope to achieve. You should draw attention to the fact that you’re a new campaign group. Set out your specific aims and emphasise how you differ from other similar groups. If possible, indicate the breadth of support that there is for your cause.

The press releases that follow should focus on new stories, not just restatements of what your group believes. You should time these to coincide with an event, like a public meeting, demonstration or handing in a petition, or a bigger news story, like the implementation of a new law.

Getting the facts straight
You need to describe the facts of your story clearly. If you are writing a press release about an event you have organised, you need to say what the event is and where and when it is taking place. You also need to explain who you are and why you have organised the event.

Essential details

  • Identify the document: Put the words PRESS RELEASE at the top.
  • Date of release: Add the date and time that you wish your release to be published. Include the words FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE if you want your story to be reported straight away.
  • You may want some of the information embargoed, i.e. held back from publication until a later time or date. For example, if you are going to make an important announcement at a public meeting, you might want to tell journalists about it in advance to capture their interest and to give them time to prepare their stories. But it might reduce the impact of your announcement if it has been reported in advance. You can embargo your whole press release or just a part of it and you can specify the precise time when you want the story to be made public.
  • Contact details: Make sure you provide your name, home and mobile phone numbers, email and website address.
  • Use quotes: Quotes from people involved in your campaign will really help liven up your release, but make sure they are concise and relevant.
  • Pictures: Though it is not essential, you could include photos of your group. This will remind the press that you are a living campaign, not just a piece of paper. It might also encourage television crews to come to your event, especially if there are obvious visual draws.

Style
Getting the style right is crucial if you want journalists to take notice of your press release.

Headlines
You should start with an eye-catching headline. Journalists think in sound-bites, so use the most exciting, attention-grabbing part of the event to sell the story. Focus on what is new and what is happening at the moment.

Opening paragraph
Your opening paragraph must explain the headline – but with a bit more detail. It should highlight the main news point clearly and vividly. The opening often makes or breaks the entire release, so the first 20 or 30 words are crucial.

Each paragraph used thereafter should go down in order of relevance. Think of an inverted pyramid of information, with the most important points at the top.

Other points to consider:

  •     Use campaign headed paper if you have it
  • Avoid going over a single page
  • If there is room, use double spacing so sub-editors can write their instructions in the spaces
  • Reiterate the key points at the end
  • Read and check your release and get someone else to check it as well

Sample press release


Trumpton Residents’ Association
Tel: 01444 555 313
www.trumptonra.org.uk

PRESS RELEASE
11 November 2003

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Families fight dangerous dogs

Members of the Trumpton Residents’ Association will hold a demonstration outside Meldrum’s Kennels on Saturday 16 November.

Families are outraged at the kennel’s management who continue to allow violent dogs to roam the streets of Trumpton despite several nasty incidents.

The demonstration will begin at 11.00 and will end at 13.00 at the main entrance on Mill Lane. A crowd of at least 50 is expected.

Local head teacher Pamela Walton will be supporting the protest and will make a short speech.

‘It is atrocious that the kennel’s owners have done nothing to address this problem’, she says. ‘I have been confronted by aggressive dogs from the kennel myself and it was absolutely terrifying.’

Sue Craig, a resident of Willow Road, has seen the damage that the dogs can do.

‘My nine-year-old son was savaged by a ferocious dog. He had to spend two days in hospital because of the attack. The dogs should be kept properly locked up or the kennel should be closed.’

Members of the association have also called for a meeting with officials from Borsetshire County Council to discuss the problem. It is vital that someone in a position of authority acts now to prevent any further injuries.

Notes for editor
Sue Craig and her son will be available for photographs and interviews at the demonstration. Trumpton Residents’ Association holds public meetings on the first Tuesday of every month in the village hall.

Contact details:
Mike Riordan, Secretary, 01444 555 313, mobile 07722 555231, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Karen Holding, Chair, 01444 555 861


The above guide is copyright bbc.co.uk

About Pressportal

MyPressportal is geared towards the South African Market only. A press release can have a huge impact on the marketing of your company, as many journalist use press releases to communicate new happenings from all types of companies and NGO's. MyPressportal is FREE. We do not plan not to make this a paid service. If you would like to know more about the system, please read the FAQ.