How do reporters know about all the important things happening in the community? One of the most common ways news stories are generated is through press releases. A press, or news, release is a document that is issued to the media and highlights a newsworthy topic about an organization or individual, in hopes that the media will print or broadcast the story. While social media and other emerging methods of pitching stories to reporters are increasingly available, the traditional press release can go a long way for many businesses.
So, how do you write a press release? Here are the key components that all press releases must include:
- Contact information of a company spokesperson including name, title, telephone and fax numbers must be located somewhere at the top of the press release.
- “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” should be written on the top left hand side of the piece in all capital letters.
- The release should include a headline, or title, which must be in present tense even though the story is in past tense.
- When beginning the body of the release, a dateline should be inserted first. The dateline includes the city and state where the story is happening and the month and day it is released.
- The release should begin with a brief lead paragraph containing the “who, what, where, when and why” of the story. The “how” of the story is not necessary in the lead.
- The rest of the release should tell the full story using quotes from key people.
- A boilerplate paragraph that gives a brief background of the company or organization should be one of the last paragraphs in the release.
- All press releases should end with three number signs, ###.