How To Write Your Press Release
Keep it short, preferably one page.
Get the key facts in the first paragraph: What? Who? Where? When? Why? Leave the how to the rest of your op-ed.
Example: “Members of Holy Trinity church will be ringing their church bells along with eight other Cleveland churches to ring in freedom from debt for the world’s impoverished countries. The bell-ringing will take place this Saturday evening at 7pm.”
Make sure you include a local angle, and give names where possible.
Example: “Five hundred postcards to President Bush were signed by members of St Agnes Church, including 12-year-old John Brown and 92-year-old Jane Green.”
A short quote from one of the organizers is a good way to get your message across.
Example: “We want Senator X to know that the majority of countries that have received debt relief so far are still paying more on debt than health care for their people,” said local campaign organizer Hilda Smith.
If the event is still to come, highlight any photo opportunities in the press release
Example: Photo opportunity: Hometown debt campaigners will be displaying nineteen pairs of children¬πs shoes outside the town hall at 10am on March 25th.
If the event has already taken place, include one or two photos with names of the participants.
Give a contact name and phone number at the top of your press release and be available!
See a sample press release here. (MS Word .doc format)
How To Use Your Press Release
- Telephone the news desk of your local newspaper(s) a fortnight before the event, and send in the press release a few days later.
- Phone again once the press release should have arrived and encourage the reporter to come along - or at least write a piece.
- If no one from the press turns up on the day, don't be disheartened - phone them once it's over and give your own report of events.
- Be sure to take your own photographs and send the best ones with a copy of the press release to the local paper.
- Don’t forget local radio stations. A good program to try might be the weekly religious affairs program, usually on a Sunday morning. Try to find out who the producer/presenter is and speak to them direct. Or try the news editor.