Writing a press release

Introduction

A press release is an ideal way to stimulate interest in the media about an event or campaign that is happening in your organisation. It gives the journalist all the information they need to publish the story or follow it up with further information.

Before you start...

Consider the following points

  • Why are you writing a press release? Is it topical? Is it newsworthy?
  • Who is your audience? What information do you want them to take away from your release?

Writing your press release

1. Headline

  • Your headline should be short and snappy. Journalists receive hundreds of press releases a day so the headline must instantly grab their attention.
  • Never us the past tense; this will make your press release seem like 'old news.'

2. The first paragraph

  • When structuring your release, remember to put facts in a descending order of importance.
  • Your first paragraph must contain your main points. If it doesn't interest a journalist straight away they won't waste time reading the rest of it.
  • Your first paragraph should always answer the 5 W's:

Who? - who is organising the event/campaign

What? - what is your main point

Where? - location

Why? - why should people be interested

When? - date/time of event

3. Main body

  • Keep it short. 250 words is ideal.
  • Your press release should be concise and written in plain English. Avoid using buzzwords or convoluted phrases that people outside your organisation would not understand.
  • If you are using acronyms or abbreviations you must spell them out in the first instance. For example, write 'lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB)' then use the acronym thereafter.
  • Include quotes from a senior person at your organisation that journalists can use to support your story.
  • Be sure each sentence contains one point.

4. Contacts

  • Include the name, address, telephone number and email address of your contact person. Make sure they are available and well briefed to handle any media calls.
  • State whether interviews are available and whether you have any photographs. Do not attach photographs to your press release.

5. Notes for editors

This section should contain background information about your organisation or any information that further explains your points.

Click here to see examples of Stonewall Cymru's press releases.


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