November 08, 2016 / 0 COMMENT(S)
Here are instructions on how to write a press release in the form of a press release.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Name, Title
Headline – First Opportunity to Pull the Reader In
Subhead – A little more enticing information
City, ST – Start with the “lede” (the first sentence). The lede should be the most succinct way to share who, what, when, where, why, and how. By the end of the first paragraph, all the most important information should be clear. You do not have to cram the “who, what, when, when, where, why and how” together into the lede, but you must address enough of these critical questions if your communication is to be acted upon.
The lede should include elements that make a press release newsworthy, such as timeliness (recent event); significance (how many people are affected by the news); proximity (geographic or affiliation—can we relate to the news?); prominence (famous people, elected officials, local opinion leaders); and/or human interest (appeal to emotion, the way we are all connected – this will often be your hook). Answer the questions you expect people to ask.
Format the release with most important information at the beginning to the least important at the end (“inverted pyramid”) – a news editor should be able to cut from the bottom up and still include the most important information. Use quotes to illustrate or expound on subjects; don’t use quotes to repeat exactly the point made in the press release verbiage. Attribute opinions to the people who express them. Otherwise, use short, simple sentences to share facts. Avoid flowery writing, and do your best to adhere to Associated Press (AP) style.
Double-space printed press releases. Single space electronic press releases. If submitting the press release in paper format, include –more– at the bottom of every page until the last page. On the last page, include a triple hash mark (###) at the end of the release. After the hash mark, you can include the organizational footer text.
Always submit a photograph with your press release, if possible. The photograph shouldn’t be static, but interesting and illustrative of the news in the press release (e.g., rather than having a donor handing a check to the executive director of an organization, photograph something that helps the audience understand why the donor was compelled to give–take a photo of people in the organization doing their thing!).
In the final paragraph, be sure to include details about time, place, and contact information (especially if the press release is about an event). Leave readers with a desire to get more information and then tell them how to do so.
Jendi Coursey is a communication strategist based in Northern California. She loves helping clients communicate so they get what they want. Learn more at jendicoursey.com.