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How to make friends with the media - Part 2

  • Ten tips for writing a press release

    This week Kay Parris follows up her excellent blog, How to make friends with the media - Part 1, with ten top tips for writing an informative and effective press release.

    A press release (also known as a news or media release) should be short, striking and informative.

    1. Begin with a compelling headline that tells a journalist the crux of the matter. Don’t be obscure. If the story is: “Ed Sheeran to open new community shop”, then that’s your headline – not “Guess who’s coming to town”.

    2. Make sure your opening sentences answer the essential questions about your story: Who? When? What? Where? And Why?

    3. Avoid jargon and acronyms – your members might know what you’re talking about, but no one else will bother to find out.

    4. Use (and attribute) great quotes where possible, to bring your story to life.

    5. Write simply, clearly and accurately. A hard-pressed journalist will often run a good press release more or less verbatim as a story.

    6. Keep it short – ideally 300 words max for the main story, 600 only if necessary.

    7. Include a named contact person, with their email and phone number.

    8. Don’t bog your story down with background details. Add them to the end of the press release under the heading: ‘Notes for editors’. Always include key points here about your charity and its mission.

    9. Check your work very carefully for errors.

    10. Use email to send out your press release, with the headline or a brief description of the story in the email subject box.

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    Kay Parris is a freelance journalist and editor with substantial experience of the voluntary sector. 

    Image by NS Newsflash

     

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