Getting Your Message Out
How to Write a Press Release
It is important to create public awareness for your issue, protest or event. The way you get journalists to cover your story is by writing and distributing a press release to local and national media outlets. A standard press release is about 600 words or less and focuses on the who, what, where, when and why of your story. Writing a press release in a story form, makes a journalist’s job much easier and makes it more likely to be covered. Your story can include quotes from those at the center of your story, as well as hyperlinks to supporting documents, your website or past articles.
Call your local news outlets or look online for journalists email address. Send your press release to journalists, as well as editors and show bookers individually via email. To promote your story through social media by posting your press release and tagging key journalists. Send the press release to journalists and editors individually via email, post screenshots of your press release on your social media accounts and online groups.
Here is how to get started:
Headline: Create a short, but catchy title that includes the name of your organization and succinctly describes what the press release is about. Example: Loudoun County group to stage a “Shoe Drop” protest to symbolize the mass exodus of students from Loudoun County Public Schools
Contact: This tells reporters who to get in touch with and how. Include the phone number and email address of your organization’s media contact person.
City and State: This is where the readers see the location of where the news is happening.
Lead: This is where you keep or lose your reader. In a single paragraph that is not more than 50 words, explain what is happening clearly and concisely. Next, you must tell them who the story is about. Tell them who is involved: you! Example: Ashburn, Virginia, December 13, 2021: Citizens for Freedom, a parent advocacy group fighting for Parental Rights and Medical Freedom, is staging a massive “Shoe Drop” as a silent protest to the Loudoun County Public School Board and Administration on Monday, December 13, at 7am, at the Loudoun County Public School Administrative Offices at 21000 Education Court in Ashburn, VA.
Body: Write the details about the who, what, when, where and how of your story in no more than 500 words. People rarely read the whole story, so be sure to keep the most important details at the top. Add hyperlinks to previous stories, your organization’s website or to other supporting documents.
Take note of how the Lead paragraph explains who the article is about: Citizens for Freedom, a parent advocacy group fighting for Parental Rights and Medical Freedom… Further explain the “who”.
Add quotes from the people at the center of what is happening in order to support your news story. For Example: Jane Doe, Citizens for Freedom member and one of the organizers of the protest said, “We are doing all we can to be heard by the school board, but their belief that parents do not have a primary role in the education of our children, is blocking them from truly listening.”
End: End your press release with ### centered in the middle of the page at the bottom of the text. This symbolizes the end of the press release.
TEMPLATE OUTLINE FOR A PRESS RELEASE
- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Include this phrase)
- HEADLINE (15 words or less)
- Name and Organization of Press Contact:
- LEAD (50 words or less)
- CITY, STATE — then 50 words or less
- BODY (500 words or less)
- First Paragraph
- About the organization or group
- Second Paragraph
- Third Paragraph
- Second Quote
- Closing Paragraph
- First Paragraph
- BOILERPLATE about the organization (50 words or less)
- ### (centered in the middle of the page after the text)