Writing a Press Release

A press release is a news story you write in third person, and is about your group's activities or public event. It's purpose is to interest a reporter that covers news — to cover your event. You have to capture the attention of a busy, and usually underpaid reporter, or newsroom assistant.

Reporters and newsroom assistants are looking for stories that will grab public interest, and a press release, written well, can convince the media to dedicate part of the news show, or newspaper to your group.

Review the goals you set for the event, they might fit your press release. If you are using a local 'hook' or local events, be sure to mention that in your news release. If your activity is in response to legislation, something a president, leader or local official has done (good or bad), include that in your press release if your event is in reaction to it. If you have demands, that can be part of it, too.

Examples are as endless as a quick web search on press releases, and it's likely that you've read a few in your day.

Effective press releases won't be effective if you are bothering reporters with endless press releases. Use a press release for announcing news worthy events your group has planned and sponsored. They should be on page or less.

Things you must include in an effective press release are:

Date, group and individual’s names and contact information (phone and email)

Headllne: Lead message or phrase that will catch attention, and introduces your news story pitch
Sub-headline, that explains your news pitch

Lead paragraph

Press release body - this is where you use quotes and or statistics.

Closing -- "For more information or to schedule an interview contact . . ."

Repeat the contact information, and expand on it if need be. Sometimes a large number of people are available for an interview, or there is further background information on the internet.

Mostly, remember to keep your press release at one page.