Structuring your release
Every journalist sees dozens of press releases every day. It is important that your press release looks professionally produced and follows the 'normal' structure. This will allow any journalist to make a judgment on the strength of your story immediately. As such, press releases are written to an easy to follow formula.
Firstly, say what it is
At the very top of the page, the TITLE 'PRESS RELEASE' should be spelled out in all capitals, centred and in bold.
Grab their attention
Below the title is the HEADLINE. It should also be both centred and bold. The heading is a one-line description of the event. It should be short, snappy and, whenever possible, funny. It should be designed to capture any reader's imagination, impressing them enough to read on and help the journalist to 'see' the piece in print.
Facts and figures
The next two paragraphs present the useful, accurate and interesting BODY of the press release. The body is a couple of short paragraphs which explain all the 'W's: who, what, were, when and why. The first paragraph of the press release should contain in brief detail what the press release is about. The second paragraph explains, in detail:
Your message can be given further authority by the inclusion of a QUOTE. A quote from someone involved with project will give the release a personal touch.
Name your source, say what their involvement with the project is - and be certain to get their permission to be quoted.
The final paragraph is a brief SUMMARY of the release and further information about you and your organisation.
Always end with CONTACT DETAILS. Again these should be centred and in bold. A single clear name and phone number is what a journalist will need if he or she wishes to follow up the story.
Next page: Overview and checklist