How To Write A Press Release

Summary

  • Age: Any
  • Time: Ongoing
  • Skills: Basic Computer Knowledge
  • Materials: Computer, Internet access, Pen and Paper, printer
  • Outcomes: Learn important skills on how to communicate effectively and succinctly, gain experience with promoting a particular message

Instructions

Instructions: 

Discuss your message and write down the who, what, why, and where. This information will serve as the basis of the press release. 

Collect statements from the main people involved (e.g. band members, coordinator, manager). Choose which quotes will be used, and check with the interviewees that these are acceptable. 

Write out the main point of your press release. This statement should not be more than two sentences, ideally only one. It should answer the who, what, why, and where and should provide sufficient information for readers (Student band will host a live music festival in Phoenix Park on 18 July starting at 3 PM). This statement should stand alone as a paragraph. 

The following paragraphs should provide more detailed information with key quotes from those involved. These quotes should be kept short but remain full thoughts. Only use third person. 

Keep the release fairly brief, but not too brief that people will be confused. This balance is difficult to maintain. It may help to look up examples of press releases in your area. 

Once the article is written, re-read it and come up with a headline. A good headline grabs the reader’s attention without coming off as clickbait. For instance, “Upcoming Show in Phoenix Park” is significantly better than “You’ll never guess what’s happening in Phoenix Park next week!”

Add contact information at the top of the release, before the headline. This information should include at least a name and email, preferably with a phone number and a website. 

Decide when the article should be released to the general public. State this information after the contact information. If you want to wait, write something to the effect of “For release after 8 June.” Otherwise, write “For immediate release.” Include this statement only on the copies sent to news organizations. 

Reread the article multiple times to check for spelling errors and confusing grammar. Try reading it out loud or to someone else to see if anything sounds awkward. 

Finally, share the release! Post it on your website and post links on any social media you have to get the word out to your fans. Additionally, send it to your local newspapers/television or radio stations, and post it in community forums, both online and in person. If anyone requests more information, respond quickly. 

Always think about the purpose of the press release and who is the audience ie a concert in Phoenix Park that is for 100 young people might not be a national news story but might be better fitted to local community radio, newsletters, your social media and mailing lists. So before you put pen to paper think about your end goal and who the audience is as sometimes sticking to sharing content on your social media and mailing lists is enough as you don't want to send out too many releases to journalists especially if the content is not relevant.

Note: The best way to write an effective press release is by following what other people do. Reading examples online is an invaluable resource. Try searching “press release [your city]”.