Press releases are short, compelling documents that detail new information, research findings, event announcements, and other newsworthy items. Great press releases are meant to pique the interest of journalists who may seek to cover the topic further. While the format for a press release is basic, the content of the release should be alluring. Media releases should follow Associated Press guidelines.
- The best time to send a news release is early in the week and early in the day.
- Tailor a press release to meet the needs of the media outlet. The research should contain a “hook” or main
point of interest for the reader and journalist.
- The hook should provide an identifiable audience, main point of focus for the release, and headline for the article.
- When possible, have a professional write the press release.
- Focus on the facts.
- Make sure to wait until there is a topic with enough substance to issue a release.
- Sending news releases simultaneously to several news outlets increases the likelihood of coverage.
- Use short sentences, and always provide a resource and/or contact for more information.
Recommendations for Format
- Keep to one page, two maximum.
- Grab attention with a good headline.
- Answer who, what, when, where, and why in the first paragraph.
- Quantify the argument, and present data to support the argument or analysis.
- Include quotations from an expert or the subject of the press release whenever possible. This increases the chances of the release getting printed or “picked up” for further media coverage.
- Use active voice, and include quotes when possible.
- Use plain language, and avoid excessive use of adjectives.
- Write at a grade six to eight reading level.
Graphic Design and Layout
- Present the most important information first.
- Tell the audience the information is intended for them and why they should continue to read it.
- If providing photos, maps, or figures to support the press release, ensure they are high quality and in a format that can be printed or added digitally.